Monday, March 10, 2008

Staff Leave Calendar

In many offices, the details of staff leave and sick leave are recorded and maintained in Excel spreadsheets or some other third-party program. It is also likely that annual leave and sick leave are also recorded as one-day events in the grey area of someone's Outlook calendar. Duplicating data in this manner takes valuable time and resources and risks error.

Depending on the level of analysis required of your leave and sick leave data, you may find that Outlook can do everything that is necessary by utilizing the following ideas, which will require entering the data only once.

If you monitor the leave and sick leave for a small number of people, you can manage staff leave in your main calendar. Each day of leave would be a one-day event and would appear in the grey area at the top of the calendar, along with any other one-day events you may have. However, if you have a large number of leave events, you can easily lose other one-day events and too many one-day events at the top of the calendar can also severely restrict your view of the rest of your calendar

If you prefer to keep a separate calendar just for leave events, you will need to create a new calendar named, for example, Staff Leave Calendar.

The new view that we shall be creating can be for either your main calendar or a separate calendar specifically for leave. The new view will have new fields that will calculate the amount of leave taken and the number of days remaining from the entitlement and from this view we shall be able to produce leave schedules by staff member and by Department.

In preparation for creating the new view, we need to do to following:

2. As staff sick leave is reported or you are notified of staff annual leave dates, create leave events in the calendar, either as separate one-day events or over several days, but only enter the leave day events into calendar days that count as leave days i.e. working weekdays.

3. In the subject of the events, state the name or initials of the staff member and a notation to indicate whether it is annual leave or sick leave.

4. In the Location field, enter the Department where the individual works for e.g., Despatch.

5. Assign the three appropriate categories to the leave events e.g. A/L, AF A/L, Despatch. The categories in this example indicate that the event is annual leave, specifically AF's annual leave and that AF is located in the Despatch Department.

6. Ensure that there is a check in all day event and Show time as free in the calendar items.

7. If you wish to have an automatic reminder of the leave events, you should be aware that Outlook reminders fire only on events in the default calendar and not on events in a calendar that you have created yourself. This may be a consideration when deciding whether to use your main calendar or create a separate leave calendar.

8. Link the leave events in the calendar to the relevant staff contact by clicking on the Contacts button at the foot of the event window and selecting the member of staff from the Contacts folder. Ensure that you have linked the staff Contacts folder to the Staff Leave Calendar folder from the Contacts folder Properties | Activities tab and the leave events will automatically be recorded on the Activities tab of the staff Contacts files.