New settings in Outlook give everyone a break between meetings

Published Apr 20 2021 08:00 AM 33.1K Views
Microsoft

While back-to-back meetings have become a hallmark of the pandemic era, our recent research proves that even small breaks between meetings can have a positive impact on our stress levels and our ability to focus and engage in meetings.

 

New settings in Microsoft Outlook make it easy to automatically carve out these essential breaks between back-to-backs – and because we know that one size does not fit all, companies have two options.

  • This past summer we released settings that allow individuals to set scheduling defaults that automatically shorten meetings they schedule.
  • And based on our research and customer feedback, today we are releasing an additional new setting that allows our commercial customers to set organization-wide scheduling defaults that shorten meetings and create space for breaks for everyone at a company.

The organization-wide setting can be deployed by company administrators using PowerShell.

Administrators can set the meetings in their organization to start late or end early automatically,  determining if the break happens at the beginning or end of meetings. From there, a company can also apply different settings to different meeting lengths – 60 minutes and over or under 60 minutes. For example, you can make all meetings under 60 minutes start late with a five minute break and all meetings 60 minutes or over start late with a 10-minute break.

 

Because we know flexibility is important, once the setting is deployed at the organization level, it is easy for individuals to adjust the setting for their needs – for individual meetings, or all meetings they schedule – by following these instructions.

 

How does it work?

Once the PowerShell cmdlet has been enabled, the following will happen:

  1. Individuals in the organization will see their meeting length reduced when creating an event in Outlook.
    1. If a user has already created an individual setup at any point, the company-wide policy will not apply to them.
    2. For now, Outlook on the web will notify users that their organization has implemented a change in their meeting length
      Mailtip in OWA for speedy meeting.png

      Outlook on the web users will see an in-app notification of the change

    3. The notification will come later to other Outlook clients and users will see it then
    4. If users have created an individual setup, they will not see the notification – since the change does not apply to them
  2. All Outlook clients in their latest version will respect the setting but for now only Outlook on the web will show the in-app notification of the change. For the most updated information on which versions respect the settings, read this article.
  3. Meetings scheduled from Microsoft Teams will not respect this setting at this time, but shortened events created in Outlook will show up in the Teams calendar with the shortened length. The capability will be coming to meetings scheduled from Teams in the future.
  4. We know that even in the same organization, teams and individuals have different needs so users can change their meeting length at any point and override the company setting by following the instructions in Make all your events shorter automatically - Office Support (microsoft.com)

How do I enable this?

For our main Microsoft Exchange Online PowerShell documentation, please go here. You can also follow the instructions below.

Admins can set the default settings for shortened events using Set-OrganizationConfig.

 

  1. [-ShortenEventScopeDefault <String | Uint32>]

    The ShortenEventScopeDefault parameter specifies whether events start late or end early.
    Possible values:
    1. None | 0: shortened events is OFF (i.e. unchecked in the UX) - This is the default value
    2. EndEarly | 1: end early
    3. StartLate | 2: start late 

  2. [-DefaultMinutesToReduceShortEventsBy <Uint32>] - optional

    The DefaultMinutesToReduceShortEventsBy parameter specifies the number of minutes to shorten events under 60-minutes long. 
    Possible values: 0-29.  
    Default value: 5.
    This parameter cannot be set without the ShortenEventScopeDefault parameter.

  3.  [-DefaultMinutesToReduceLongEventsBy <Uint32>] - optional

    The DefaultMinutesToReduceLongEventsBy parameter specifies the number of minutes to shorten events that are 60-minutes or longer. 
    Possible values: 0-29. 
    Default value: 10.
    This parameter cannot be set without the ShortenEventScopeDefault parameter.

Examples:

  1. (valid) All users in the organization start 5/10min late:

          Set-OrganizationConfig -ShortenEventScopeDefault 2 (this uses the default length)

  1. (valid) All users in the organization have short (under 60 minutes) and long (60-minutes or longer) events start 5-min late:
    Set-OrganizationConfig -ShortenEventScopeDefault 2 -DefaultMinutesToReduceLongEventsBy 5

  2. (invalid) All users in the tenant have events start 5 min late.
    Set-OrganizationConfig -DefaultMinutesToReduceLongEventsBy 5  Invalid.  Missing ShortenEventScopeDefault.

Note: Admins can see the current value of the settings using Get-OrganizationConfig cmdlet.
cmdlet GetOrgConfig.png

 

As always, your feedback helps us prioritize our work and understand better how we can help you, so stop by our UserVoice channel and share your ideas.

 

Thanks!

 

Gabriel

37 Comments
Senior Member

Does anyone know if Outlook 2016 respects these settings?

Occasional Visitor

This function is good, but since it doesn´t work for Teams Meetings it doesn't really do anything during this pandemic when 98% of all meetings are digital. Is there an ETA when Microsoft intend to include Teamsmeetings into this?

Senior Member

Please confirm if there is an office version dependency to use this within Outlook?

Regular Visitor

Hello, I enabled this in our test tenant and saw no results after 12 hours.

Get-OrganizationConfig |FL *Event*


ShortenEventScopeDefault : EndEarly
DefaultMinutesToReduceShortEventsBy : 5
DefaultMinutesToReduceLongEventsBy : 10

 

Is there any other flag we need to set? 

Thanks

Occasional Visitor

Same as eric2019, I set this in my test tenant 26 hours ago and still see no results in Outlook client or in OWA.

 

Get-OrganizationConfig | fl *event*

 

ShortenEventScopeDefault : EndEarly
DefaultMinutesToReduceShortEventsBy : 5
DefaultMinutesToReduceLongEventsBy : 10

 

Senior Member

We had previously implemented this via a group policy setting but, unfortunately, this new method seems to have broken that method. 

Occasional Visitor

Same issue as eric2019 and SChin: We made this active more than 24 hours ago and it doesn't seem to have gone into effect for anyone yet.

Regular Visitor

Update for everyone. IF at any time you change this setting for your self you will not see it. You will need to go in manually change for your account. If a net new user or someone who never enabled the delay tries setting up meeting they should see desired effect. Try creating new user in DEV then have them setup meeting see if you see the delay. Thats what I found. I had made a change to test prior to setting it. That makes my account override the global.

 

Hope this helps

Senior Member

I cannot get this to work at all. In my developer tenant, running the PowerShell does change the setting, but it's been days now, and meetings are not shortened, nor is there any message that appears. My developer tenant is new, so I've never changed the meeting times. So it's not the situation that eric2019 mentions. As well, I can manually enable this setting in my production tenant in Outlook on the Web, but that setting is not reflected in my Outlook desktop client. 

Occasional Contributor

We know that this can be changed org wide using set-organizationconfig cmdlet. Any plans to bring this to Set-MailboxCalendarConfiguration in future?

New Contributor

Please confirm what is the minimum Outlook client build version users should have in order this setting to be applied?

Microsoft

@tfehr in order for it to show in Outlook for Windows, you need to be in the latest version of Monthly Channel. This part of the blog should help "

  1. All Outlook clients in their latest version will respect the setting but for now only Outlook on the web will show the in-app notification of the change. For the most updated information on which versions respect the settings, read this article."

@Irene_Lappalainen you can find the latest versions that support this feature in the article above.

New Contributor

@Gabriel_Valdez We have Semi-Annual Enterprise Channel - can we run the company wide setting (Set-OrganizationConfig) now and expect the Outlook clients to pick up the company-wide setting automatically when Semi-Annual reaches the correct version? I have read the version update dates from Microsoft article but it is not clear when this update will be available on Semi-Annual Channel users?    

 

 

New Contributor

Actually I did find the correct build version info now, it is Version 2101: January 26 

Occasional Visitor

Does this work for Macs aswell?

Visitor

I enabled this yesterday for our Org and now, after 15 hours I still can't see this working in our tenant.

I am curious though as to what the setting "EnableOutlookEvents" does as this isn't documented anywhere?

Regards // Kris

Senior Member

Thanks for your response, @Gabriel_Valdez. I understand that older versions of Outlook may not respect the setting (we're on Monthly Enterprise Channel). However, I'm also not seeing anything happening in on Outlook on the Web. The setting eventually did take effect in my developer tenant, but now my organization has asked me to enable this, and it's not working in our production tenant. I've opened up a support ticket.

Senior Member

I opened a support ticked with Microsoft about this.  Upshot: when implemented at the tenant level, the rule will apply to users created after the command is run.  For existing users, they have to manually apply the settings.  This appears true if the user has changed any settings on their calendar, not just if they have previously tested this specific function.  For example, we had a recently-added user; only thing they'd had time to change is add holidays to their calendar, but the update still did not roll out to them.

Senior Member

There's absolutely something strange going on with this function. I configured this for my dev tenant this week and all looked fine at first for users in both the Outlook Windows app (Version 2105 [14026.20246]) and Web app. In the Windows app I could see a notification when creating a appointment or meeting that reads something like "Your organization is shortening events per default. Show settings [link]" (translated from Swedish).

 

I did go ahead and clicked on "Show settings", which brought up the standard Calendar settings where everything looked fine as well. The checkbox for "Shorten appointments and meetings" were checked and configured to "End early".

 

But then, after just browsing the settings and eventually clicking "Cancel", new meetings isn't shortened per default anymore and the notification message has disappeared. Going back to the Calendar settings I see that the checkbox for "Shorten appointments and meetings" is magically unselected and won't enable unless I manually select it. I also restarted the computer and reinstalled Office completely but without any success. The setting remains off.

 

Anyone else experiencing this?

Occasional Contributor

There are new ADMX templates Download Administrative Template files (ADMX/ADML) and Office Customization Tool for Microsoft 365 A... that will allow you to enforce this, if you (like me) are having issues with the organization config not applying to some or all users.

Regular Visitor

@jfiske What license type are you using for your users? I was advised by MS Support that this feature works only with Apps for Enterprise included in the E3 or E5 license

Regular Visitor

@swalker Would you mind sharing your MS ticket number? I have a ticket open for a similar issue and would like to reference your ticket number to the support tech assigned to my case. This would be of great help.

Senior Member

@afrazshaikh My users are all E5. This just didn't work for most of them. Premier Support could not solve this for us. I ended up communicating to my users how to set these things manually. I suspect swalker is right; if a user changes any setting at all, this may exempt them from the policy. I tried to get Premier Support to verify that, but they were unable to.  

Senior Member

@afrazshaikh, [Case #:25657550] - Set-OrganizationConfig command not taking effect.  (Also, our licenses are E3)

Regular Visitor

Thank you for you comments @tfehr and @swalker !

Contributor

We have NOT enabled this setting in our tenant, and yet we suddenly have users reporting this week that they are getting the mail tip when they schedule meetings ... what's going on?

 

KreeraHouse_0-1626886486154.png

 

Regular Visitor

@Kreera House Check if it is really enabled organization wide through Exchange Online Powershell (Get-OrganizationConfig | fl *)

Regular Visitor

@tfehr I managed to get this to work. I tested on a new laptop where no user profile/Outlook profile was ever created before. The laptop came pre-installed with O365 apps. The ShortenEventScopeDefault setting does not work with older versions of the O365 apps. Simply running an update does not work. I removed the apps and re-installed the apps using ODT. It is important to note that this wouldn't work with Semi-Annual Channel. It is a MUST to have the update channel set to Current Channel or Monthly Enterprise channel. I set to to Monthly Enterprise channel personally. It does not matter if you have enabled the setting manually before from either Outlook Online or Outlook Desktop on a different machine. This behavior goes against what @swalker mentioned earlier. Also, important to note is that all my users have M365 Business Standard licenses. So, upgrading to E3 or E5 is not required. 

 

Ref: 

Make all your events shorter automatically - Office Support (microsoft.com)

Release notes for Monthly Enterprise Channel releases - Office release notes | Microsoft Docs

Overview of update channels for Microsoft 365 Apps - Deploy Office | Microsoft Docs

 

AfrazSheikh_0-1626887749480.png

 

Contributor

@AfrazSheikh  -  Unless there is another attribute besides ShortenEventScopeDefault to control this setting, it is not enabled, so our users should not see the mail tip that we are managing this at the organization level. 

 

Regular Visitor

@Kreera House There is no setting other than this that I'm aware of. That is the only setting along with Reduce Long events and Reduce Short events settings that I used in my Organization.

 

AfrazSheikh_0-1626894043786.png

I would test on a computer that had no previous Outlook profiles configured. Also check Outlook Online to see if it exhibits the same behavior.

If you're sure nobody's enabled it in your organization then reaching out to MS Support would help.

 

Senior Member

We're experiencing this also. Any new users that haven't ever enabled those settings manually prior to us running the "Set-OrganizationConfig -ShortenEventScopeDefault 1 -DefaultMinutesToReduceShortEventsBy 5 -DefaultMinutesToReduceLongEventsBy 10" on the tenant, the settings work fine and the changes are almost immediate, in Outlook on the Web.

 

Any mailboxes that were migrated to Exchange Online previously OR mailboxes where the users have already manually enabled the feature by going to the  Calendar > Settings > view all Outlook settings > Calendar > Events and invitations… check the “Shorten duration for all events” box (in OWA in this case), do not receive the tenant settings at all, even after 24+ hours. 

 

I am very surprised that there is not a Set-CalendarProcessing or Set-MailboxCalendarConfiguration that can be run across all mailboxes to 1) enable the feature and 2) customize the settings at a mailbox level (similar to the wat the Focused inbox can be Administratively managed). 

 

Here I manually set the times to 0 minutes, and after saving, there's no way to get the Tenant setting to override it. 

 

CalendarPic.jpg

Contributor

@AfrazSheikh  We cannot recreate it for other users and for the affected users it is only happening in the desktop client, not in OWA. Microsoft Support confirmed that it is not turned on at the tenant level and that the tenant setting hasn't been changed by any other admin in the past 30 days.

For now, the instruction is to have the user toggle it on in their Outlook client options and then off again, which makes the warning message disappear, but they have no answer as to why it showed up for anyone at all. They are now pulling in Outlook client support to see if it is a client issue.

Regular Visitor

@Kreera House If it is not enabled on the tenant and only affects the Outlook desktop clients, it could be a Group Policy setting. Refer to this article for the exact GPO settings: Save Time! Have All Your Meetings End Early [or start late] – C7 Solutions. You might want to run a verbose report of applied Group Policy settings on the clients to find out what settings are applied. If not GPOs, then is there another endpoint management system in your environment? (Intune, SCCM etc)

Contributor

Thanks @AfrazSheikh - I checked the registry of the users reporting this and they don't have any of the three values described in that post. The Exchange Online engineer assigned to our case is now transferring it to the Outlook support team. Let's see what they find out.

Visitor

I've worked with Microsoft premiere support to get this working for us in our EU tenant for over a month now and it's still not working. For a small set of users it works but for the majority this change isn't showing at all. And I've run out of time and energy to spend on the issue so it'll remain unresolved for us.

New Contributor

Jumping on an older thread here, but we tried this setting in our organization (monthly enterprise channel / M365 E3) to no avail. I did notice on an old, licensed testing account I have that the setting actually did work and the meetings were shortened. None of our users we have checked with saw a change though, whether their mailbox was migrated from on-prem or it was created in Exchange Online. Logged a ticket with O365 support. After some testing and research on their end they said the organizational setting would only apply to new users who are created after the setting was changed, or existing users who have never had any calendar appointment created on their calendar. The latter was the case for the testing account. It was an existing user prior to the org-wide setting change that had never had a calendar appointment and the setting worked. They are giving me reg. values to deploy via GPO to affect the Outlook desktop app which is not at all the same thing. Two-thirds of our users are frontline and only use the mobile or web app.

 

@Gabriel_Valdez  - Is that the intended affect of the organizational setting? That it only applies to NEW users in the tenant? The 2nd bullet point in your original post makes it seem like it would apply to "everyone at a company".

Regular Visitor

@Gabriel_Valdez I think it's a given that the answer to @ThePangy s question is that this is NOT working as intended, it's clearly broken.

 

What's disappointing is that it's still broken so many months later. We had discussed using for some time at my company and now that I've got agreement and said I can do it "no problem"...it doesn't work and I look stupid. I'm going to have to look at doing via an MEM policy but that's also disappointing as it undermines my message that it's just a default and people can override it.

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Last update:
‎Apr 16 2021 02:31 PM
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