Selecting Calendar Settings and Business Hours
vCita's useful, intuitive calendar and scheduling settings give you maximum control over how your business calendar looks and how your schedule is presented to your clients. This article explains how to:
- Set your calendar's format and layout, including time zones, calendar intervals, and more
- Set a regular work schedule for your usual business hours
- Set your availability for specific dates to provide for occasional changes in your schedule
Setting Calendar Format and Layout
The format and layout options that you select for your calendar determine the time zones displayed to you and your clients, the time intervals that appear on the calendar, and more. To get started, open the Settings menu and click Availability & Calendar.
The different options on the Availability & Calendar Settings page are described below.
|Time zone||Select the time zone in which your calendar and appointments are displayed to you.|
|Local time||By default, if a client is located in a time zone different from yours, your availability is automatically adjusted to the client's time zone. If you prefer to disable this time zone detection feature, select the Local time checkbox.|
|Time format||Select the format in which times are displayed on your calendar: 12 hours (AM/PM) or 24 hours (military time).|
|Start week on||Select the day that is displayed as the first day of each week on your weekly and monthly calendar.|
|Calendar increments||Select the time period separating each slot on your daily and weekly calendar. Options range from 5 minutes to 4 hours.
Note: This selection does not affect the duration of the appointments scheduled.
In the following example, the time format is 24 hours, the week begins on Monday and the calendar increments are 30 minutes.
Setting Your Regular Working Hours
The business hours set on your calendar determine the times during which clients will be able to schedule services and appointments with you. The following sections explain how to access and use the My Schedule Settings page to set your working hours.
Accessing the My Schedule Settings Page
You can open the My Schedule Settings page in either of the following ways:
- At the top of the Calendar page, click Edit Calendar and select Business hours & Calendar settings.
- At the bottom of the Availability & Calendar Settings page, click the <Business Name> Settings link.
When the My Schedule Settings page opens, make sure that the time zone displayed at the top of the page is the correct one for you. Now you are ready to set your business hours.
Remember that the hours you set here will automatically repeat every week on your calendar. To designate special additional hours or occasional time off, refer to Setting Availability for Specific Dates.
Updating a Time Block
Each row on the My Schedule Settings page represents a block of time during which you are available to clients. By default, your business hours are preset from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, but you can easily change these hours to fit your needs.
To change the hours that are listed in a time block:
- Click the hours link in the row or, at the end of the row, click .
The hours will become editable.
- Change the hours in the time block to those that are suitable for you, and then click Save.
Adding a Time Block
You can customize your business hours as much as you need to by building your schedule using specific time blocks. Let's say that every Wednesday, you want to take a two-hour lunch break so you can get extra errands done. Start by updating the Wednesday morning time block to end at 12:00 (as explained in the section above). Then add another time block for Wednesday afternoon.
To add a time block:
- At the end of the relevant row in the Business hours grid, click .
A new row is added, with the default hours displayed.
- Change the hours in the new time block to those that are suitable, and then click Save.
- Repeat Steps 1-2 as many times as necessary to customize your business hours.
Removing a Time Block
Clicking at the end of a row deletes that time block from the Business hours grid. It's recommended to use this option with caution, as there is no confirmation warning preceding the deletion. (You can always restore the time block by adding it again.)
If the time block that was removed was the only one defined for that day, a Not available message is displayed.
Setting Availability for Specific Dates
The Edit availability for specific dates dialog lets you adjust your schedule as needed to accommodate temporary changes or one-time events. The following sections explain how to access this dialog and present some examples of how to use it.
Accessing the Edit Availability Dialog
You can open the Edit availability for specific dates dialog in either of the following ways:
- At the top of the Calendar page, click Edit Calendar and select Set availability for specific dates.
- From the My Schedule Settings page, below the Business hours grid, click Edit date-specific availability.
Adding an Available Time
The Add available time option allows you to create extra time slots on your calendar on an as-needed basis. The time slots you create are one-time only occurrences- they will NOT repeat on a weekly basis.
For example, you want to check whether having availability early in the day will be productive for you. You experiment by offering a special early-bird time slot on a day of your choice.
To add an available time:
- From the Edit availability for specific dates dialog, click in the cell where you want the extra time to start, and drag the mouse to the ending time. Alternatively, you can specify start and end times by clicking in any cell, and then using the Calendar and Clock icons at the bottom of the dialog to adjust the time frame.
- Click Save.
The specified time is labeled on the calendar as Available.
- To close the dialog, click Done.
Removing a Regular Time
The Delete regular business hours option lets you clear your calendar of hours that are normally part of your regular schedule. This option allows you, for example, to block off time to attend a conference, go on vacation, and so on.
To remove a regular time:
- From the Edit availability for specific dates dialog, click in the block of scheduled time that you want to remove.
A message appears at the bottom of the dialog.
- Click Delete.
The scheduled time is removed from the calendar.
- To close the dialog, click Done.