It’s pretty mind blowing that the number of remote employees in the U.S. workforce has increased 400% in the past two years, with 16% of American companies now running entirely dispersed. One thing most of these employees have in common? Whether fully remote or working in hybrid models – they've probably had a lot of virtual meetings on their calendar since then.
While there was a time when teams struggled to figure out how to use video conferencing platforms like Zoom or Google Meet (hard to remember, we know!) – meetings have increased almost 70% across the board since 2020, and over 85% of meetings are now organized as remote vs. in-person. And with today's average professional juggling a staggering 25.6 meetings a week on top of heavier task loads, finding availability across two busy schedules is increasingly challenging.
This is where scheduling links and availability calendars have come in as an innovative solution to help optimize the traditionally exhausting back-and-forth of finding a time to meet. But as these tools have grown in popularity they've also introduced unique social challenges, and meeting scheduling etiquette has become a major topic of conversation in the remote work-sphere.
In this post we’re going to look at the top issues users run into with scheduling links, and offer 10 tips for best practices when sending meeting links so you can create an efficient and pleasant booking process for everyone involved.
What are meeting scheduling links?
Before we get into etiquette and tips – what is a scheduling link? A meeting scheduling link is a custom URL that is directly linked to your calendar to show available dates and time slots when others can book a call or meeting with you. Typically, scheduling links are part of an availability calendar to help you efficiently manage all your meetings.
The goal of scheduling links is to streamline the booking process and limit the many ‘when are you free?’ emails it usually takes to find a time across two busy calendars. Instead, scheduling apps now allow you to simply share your personal meeting link so an invitee can book an open time with you right in your calendar.
Benefits of meeting scheduling links:
- Automate the meeting booking process
- Reduce double-booked events
- Optimize weekly meeting schedule
- Set custom meeting hours/days
- Limit back-and-forth communications
- Cancel or reschedule around conflicts
- Embed scheduling URLs on your website
The problem with meeting scheduling apps
It sounds pretty great, right? Unfortunately, not everyone agrees. Calendly, for example, is a meeting scheduling app used by over 10 million users worldwide and has been the center of heated criticism a few times as people have debated whether sending a Calendly link is pretentious (or even makes you a jerk).
And while other meeting scheduling apps have come onto the scene, and continue to come out with new features to improve how users book virtual meetings – many pros argue that there are still largely unaddressed issues when it comes to prioritization, flexibility, and the social experience of using scheduling links.
Top challenges of scheduling links:
- Lack of prioritization: Scheduling links not offering control around higher-priority vs. lower-priority meetings.
- No flexibility: Links with set time durations don’t accommodate flexibility (ex. offering a slightly shorter time slot if it might be available sooner).
- Limited openings: Sending links with a lack of open time slots, and/or next available meeting dates being too far out.
- Rescheduling issues: Complications canceling and/or rescheduling meeting conflicts via scheduling links.
- Difficult user experience: Issues managing availability calendar as the organizer, and/or booking meetings as an attendee via scheduling links.
- Social etiquette: Sending scheduling links coming off as impersonal or rude, and a lack of communication impacting interpersonal work relationships.
78.7% of employees already deal with stress because they don’t have enough time in the week to get everything done, so optimizing how employees manage their meeting schedule is a great way to unblock more time in the week. But as automation helps busy professionals make collaborative workflows like meeting scheduling faster and easier – it’s also important to consider the social and emotional capital at stake when there's a real person behind every busy calendar.
Professionals are already struggling with social challenges of remote work. So how do you find balance between automated meeting scheduling and social etiquette when approaching people’s limited time and availability?
10 tips for better meeting scheduling link etiquette
1. DO manage your availability
When someone opens your scheduling link, you want to make sure that your availability calendar is actually communicating when you’re free. This means making it a priority to manage your primary availability calendar by scheduling your other commitments to avoid getting double booked, and making sure you’re not sending scheduling links that offer no openings.
Pro tip: You can try a productivity app like Reclaim.ai to send better scheduling links by syncing all your calendars, and auto-scheduling task work with integrations to your favorite project management apps.
2. DO set the right tone
Whether you’re using scheduling links for clients or your coworkers, be sure to set the right tone when you send out a meeting link. Try to include enough context around your request, and add a personal message when appropriate. A human tone makes an automated experience a little less robot-y feeling.
3. DO personalize your scheduling link
Your scheduling link represents you and your availability to attendees, so try to make it a personable experience. From formatting your URL with a custom slug, to actually changing up the design of your booking landing page – see what options your scheduling app offers to make your meeting links a little more you.
4. DO keep meeting links an option
Ideally, sending a meeting link is an efficient and easy way for both parties to schedule a time with each other – but that doesn’t mean you should corner someone into using yours. Instead, try framing your scheduling link as a suggestion for the invitee to check your calendar for a time that works, but leave the invitation open for them to schedule another way. For example: ‘’Hey there, excited to meet! Feel free to use this link to book time with me, or we can coordinate times over email if that's easier for you.’
Pro tip: Set up an introduction for your scheduling link with a text macro in Mac OS for easy autofilled messages that are ready to go!
5. DO ask for their scheduling link
Another approach to make the experience more friendly is to actually ask the other party for their scheduling link. This nixes the ‘get in line’ feeling some people might get from being sent a meeting link, and still results in the same goal of booking a convenient meeting time for both parties. And if they don’t 'do' scheduling links – you know to use a different method for future meetings!
6. DON’T send cold scheduling links
Receiving a scheduling link out of the blue without having confirmed a meeting in the first place is probably not the greatest start to a productive collaboration. A good tip is to make sure a meeting has been discussed before you send out a meeting link. And if you are going to request a meeting via a scheduling link, try to provide plenty of context in your message to make sure it doesn’t come off as a demand for their time.
7. DON’T just make it about you
The very foundation of meeting etiquette (virtual or not!) is a shared respect for everyone’s time. Sending a meeting link without context, flexibility, or openings can come off as disrespectful if you assume the invited party should accommodate your availability. Try to remember that although sending a meeting link is just a click to you – there’s another real, busy person on the receiving end.
8. DON’T assume links will always work
Automation technology is awesome for optimizing processes like meeting scheduling, that might otherwise be very time and energy involved. But when you’re just getting the hang of a new app, booking your most important meetings, rescheduling key events, or making edits to settings around things like your availability – it’s not a bad idea to double check that everything is working the way it should before you start sending out links.
9. DON’T use scheduling links for everything
Considering the clear gap between people that love and not-so-much love scheduling links – it’s worth considering a different approach if you don’t feel 100% confident in how a scheduling link will land with an invitee. When scheduling high-value or high-risk meetings, for example, taking a more traditional approach might be a safer option. You don’t have to make meeting links the only way you schedule meetings!
10. DON’T be inflexible to accommodation
It can be a huge challenge to find a time to meet across two (or more!) busy calendars, especially when meeting conflicts inevitably come up. While this is exactly what scheduling links are working to address – sometimes you’ll still need to write a follow-up email or make accommodations to make the meeting happen.
Pro tip: When choosing a scheduling link app, consider features that facilitate automatic cancellation and/or rescheduling from both parties to make this a smoother process!
Making scheduling links more human 🌎
By 2025, an estimated 36.2 million American employees will be working remotely, so it’s safe to say that virtual meetings aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. As teams work to optimize remote work processes like meeting scheduling to unblock time and maximize productivity – the reality is that they’re also navigating a new frontier of professional relationships at the same time.
Ultimately, we’re all figuring out virtual meeting etiquette as we go and as new solutions come out. But by facilitating more flexibility and personalization around meeting links, we can work to create a more human experience for automated scheduling that saves users time without compromising the individuality of calendaring.
Do you use scheduling links for easier meeting booking? Any tips or grievances we didn’t mention? Tweet us @reclaimai to share your thoughts! 👋