Google Calendar is hopping on the digital wellness train. Google’s native app, which currently exists as a built-in time-management and scheduling service, just announced that they will be rolling out small changes to the platform – most notably, a new “Out of Office” feature.
There’s no doubt that Google, along with other tech companies such as Apple and Microsoft, has joined the movement that is actively promoting digital wellbeing across platforms. In recent months, the company has released various time-management features, such as Gmail’s machine learning that reduces the time spent in-app, and Google Photos’ feature that has the ability to edit your photos. With the announcement of its new Calendar features, Google is encouraging the cultural shift that we often talk about – the prioritization of unplugging, recharging, and fighting against the addictive nature of devices.
One of the features, which will be released within the next few days, includes an “Out of Office” option. By selecting this option, the app signals to your contacts that you’re off the clock by automatically declining any meetings requested during a specific block of time. The best part: Google Calendar won’t even notify you that you received the invitation to the meeting. Think of the service as your personal secretary.
Additionally, you will be able to customize your working hours, setting your schedule for each day, in case you have irregular availability, don’t work a “traditional” 9 to 5 job, or just need a little more separation between work time and home time. The technology will also be able to gauge your regular availability based off your past scheduling patterns, which will allow for a more efficient, time-conscious scheduling process.
As we live lives that are embedded with evolving technologies and ongoing screen-time, the actions that large corporations are taking to tap into the cultural zeitgeist are vital for our mental health and overall wellbeing. By setting boundaries with our devices and taking a break from our constant connectivity, we can collectively shift toward a culture that doesn’t rely on technology to survive, but rather utilizes our technology to thrive.
Until then, you can enjoy being OOO.