At Cloud Next 2019 in April, Google announced a slew of upcoming Gmail and Hangouts Chats features to help boost productivity. “Out of office” Calendar integration will begin rolling out to those two apps in the coming weeks.
A common workplace scenario today is sending an email only to get an out-of-office (OOO) auto-responder message. To cut down on that occurrence, Google will better display your OOO reminders to coworkers. However, this requires that you note scheduled downtime and absences in Google Calendar.
In Gmail, a beige banner will appear at the bottom of the compose screen after you enter an email address. It notes their full name and when they’re expected to return. An identical notification will also appear at the bottom of direct message threads in Hangouts Chat.
It also works well with scheduling in Gmail, with Google identifying other advantages of this OOO feature for both you and the sender.
With this launch, before people even hit “send,” your time out of office is visible in more places across G Suite, meaning you get more uninterrupted time away. As a sender, you’ll also have more confidence that you’re messaging people at an appropriate time.
Intended for G Suite domains, notices will automatically appear when anyone whose calendar you have access to has an out-of-office event scheduled. On by default, OOO in Gmail and Hangouts Chat can also be disabled:
If you’d like to disable sharing of availability information to other G Suite apps, you can do so in Calendar under Calendar settings > Access permissions. Just deselect “Show calendar info in other Google apps, limited by access permissions.”
This OOO feature is rolling out first to Gmail and then Hangouts Chats, with full availability next month.