Long hours and hectic schedules are integral components of startup culture. Along with the fun perks, office pups and ubiquitous passion, startups are also known for countless team meetings, working lunches and out-of-office events.
Forgetting an obligation with a client or partner could be disastrous for a business (not to mention, embarrassing). That's why small businesses and startups should embrace open calendars.
Shared calendar apps, accessible by mobile or desktop devices, can help individuals manage assignments and appointments, or teams manage tasks and meetings. When calendar changes do occur, these apps save us time by eliminating the need for back-and-forth phone calls and e-mails.
An added benefit of using shared calendars is helping a busy organization balance out the work. At a startup, each employee typically wears numerous hats. With a shared calendar, managers get a better idea of employees' current obligations and availability for new projects. They can optimally plan events and tasks with that in mind. Open schedules are also advantageous for scheduling group meetings and determining when most people are free.
Below are four shared calendar apps that can simplify work life at startups and small businesses.
UpTo. Friends and colleagues can use the social calendar app to track individual activity in real time. Planners can use UpTo to keep employee's present priorities in mind when scheduling future assignments or meetings.
The free iPhone app (coming soon to Android and Windows phones) syncs with all the native mobile calendars you use. All events remain private until individual items are shared out by you to the network. UpTo makes selective sharing easy. Users can choose which groups of friends see individual items.
Users can invite Facebook friends to set up UpTo accounts. The program will also integrate Facebook Events you've accepted into your UpTo calendar. Within the app's feed, users can select items, comment on events, confirm attendance and share location details. The social calendar app is also hooked up to Facebook and Twitter, so you can share details more publicly.
Skedj. How many times have you scheduled an important phone call or meeting, only to forget about the plans? If your calendar is brimming with tasks feverishly penciled in, this mobile app may help you stay on top of responsibilities. Skedj, an iPhone app launching soon, can ensure you won't lose track of important plans.
Skedj is a smart scheduling platform that syncs events with your Google, Yahoo Calendar or other cloud-based calendar (and is responsive to updates). Events created in the Skedj app will in turn automatically show in external calendars that have been integrated, including iCal, Outlook or Facebook. The resulting comprehensive stream displays events in chronological order. So adjustments are seen across the board and everyone stays in the know.
The app also allows anyone to create an event feed, so instead of sending out invites to every event, employees at your company could just subscribe to the company's feed. Social calendars can be shared with any group or designated individuals, according to the app's founder, Jason Horowitz. If a calendar is set to private, only authorized employees can view business agendas with the app.
The app's creators say Skedj wasn't meant to substitute primary mobile or desktop calendars. Skedj can, however, help us better manage tasks while maintaining privacy.
The Skedj iPhone will launch for public beta testing soon; the startup is also developing an Android app.
Kalendi. Small businesses can use Kalendi to centralize communication to avoid scheduling conflicts.
Companies and teams can manage calendars online or from a mobile device. Kalendi's digital calendar offers features that Microsoft Outlook and Google Calendar are missing, including the ability to add attachments to event invites, schedule individual SMS reminders, publish calendars online and set up unlimited calendars to share across groups.
Businesses can manage meetings, conference calls and deadlines. Other smart features include the prevention of double-booking events and event filters for quick calendar searches. Users can also sync Kalendi calendars with Apple iCal, Google Calendar or Microsoft's Outlook.
Kalendi calendars can be viewed and edited within its Facebook app, Android app and on Apple devices (with a simple sync). After the free 30-day trial, small business owners can buy the Kalendi Publisher for $99 per month.
4. Google Calendar
Google Calendar is the go-to calendar client for small businesses for many reasons. The service is free, simple to use and syncs all company events to one place.
Sharing a schedule with coworkers on Google Calendar is simple. Employees will be able to share entire calendars with different users or invite designated employees to specific events.
Google Calendar users can share calendars with specific colleagues, or even to people without Google accounts by sending a unique URL.