Organization with more than 1 time zone and SharePoint calendars

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Occasional Contributor

We have a single tenant and our organization spans 2 time zones (EST and CST). Users from both time zones participate in SharePoint calendars.  All calendars seem to be following EST (based on a tenant setting?)

 

How can we have the CST users see the events in their local time zone?  I know that users can take matters into their own hands and set their specific time zone in Office 365 settings, but can administrators selectively set the time zone value for specific users (perhaps based on OU or group)? 

9 Replies
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Another solution for the product team:  Match the Office365 time zone setting of users with what is already set for the users in Outlook online.  The two settings are different.  In Outlook online, the time zone value gets set when the user first logs on (there is a first time wizard experience).  That setting in Outlook online is connected with and understood by an Outlook 2016 client as well (if they change that setting in the 2016 client, the Outlook online setting is changed as well).  So there are links and connections.   The odd one out seems to be the main Office 365 time zone setting, which should probably be the authoritative one, I would think.  Can this be fixed or set?

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Well, SharePoint calendars are just lists that allow to store events and provide a calendar view but they are very limited and does not support the scenario you have just described
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We could add all sorts of extra metadata fields to help organized and properly tag the events to the correct time zone, but the modern views for events do not respect or surface that data.  Surely we are not the only customer that spans time zones and surely there is a solution (at least on a roadmap) for this.  Either there needs to be an effort to unify the back end of all calendars across O365, or an effort to expand the modern views of SharePoint calendar events to allow for the surfacing of additional metadata.

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Indeed. In fact we can now support three time zones in Outlook. Incredibly useful. I’m on BST (GMT+1). So accessing ET and PT in calendar is brilliant. Frequently SharePoint defaults to PT giving me some ‘strange’ time stamps. Yes, you can change this at a site collection level but I agree the authoritative timezone should be at tenant level.
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Sorry, I might not be explaining the situation clearly.

 

We have 1 organization spanning 2 time zones. The entire organization needs to get dates and information from one single-purpose calendar (dates for internal professional development training events). That calendar lives in one single defined site collection set to eastern standard time. 

 

Our users in the central time zone have their Outlook clients defined to their local time zones.. Eastern time users have their set correctly and natively follow the SharePoint calendar more closely.

 

When a central time user views the calendar and sees an event that starts at 2:00 PM, they currently have to make a manual and mental note that this is really 1:00 PM for them.

 

They can download the ICS file for that event and add it to their Outlook calendar.  It will properly register for 1:00 PM local start time, which is good.

 

There is an individual setting (per user) in Office 365 for time zones.  This may not always contain data, so a separate and intentional effort (communication and training) needs to take place for our users to correct this.

 

The people creating and managing these events are in both time zones, so they will also have to be extra cautious and aware of what the real time of the even its, what the time will appear to people in both time zones, and what the time will be for users adding the event via ICS to their Outlook calendar. 

 

Here is the main question/issue:  There should be some automated ways of standardizing - or at least clarifying - this. 

 

One way would be to leverage metadata on the SharePoint side (i.e. add a column in the calendar list for time zone).  That would be helpful when viewing the event - EXCEPT that modern displays of events do not allow for usage or displays of custom metadata  (a big shortcoming in many "modern" displays).

 

Another way to handle this would be to have the SharePoint calendars be more like other Office 365 date tracking mechanisms (calendars leveraging Exchange Online?).  Like "real" or traditionally managed date and time data types. That is probably a longer road for development, but I don't know.

 

A lot to unpack here, but hopefully there can be some progress and likely, there are other organizations in a similar situation.

 

Thanks again!

 

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@Matt Varney  A year later, is this still the case? I am just now learning about managing calendars and events in SharePoint Online and it seems that I can only change the time zone for the entire site, and any events created within that site are subject to that time zone and cannot be changed. Kinda dumb. 

 

Any update or insight is appreciated!

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Hi@dreweverett - Yes, this is still the case.  We've had to work around the issue through several methods including workflows to write text values of the time into text fields (with Time Zone labels), as well as writing out the times for both time zones in generated communications, etc.  It is a pain.  It seems like Microsoft should have more than a few customers in multiple time zones and be able to handle this more elegantly.

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@Matt Varney I totally agree. 

 

I use the calendar to share information about upcoming meetings. My colleagues are all over the world. And I have to add a shout-out above all calendars that the published times are in EST format and that users that are not in EST timezone will have to convert it to their own time. 

Would be great to find an easier way!