I am sure that as an executive assistant, you would totally relate when I say this: The one frustration that is common for every executive assistant is going through a ton of emails every day. And the reason it gets frustrating, and tiring is not just the quantity, but also the number of times you must go through them. Because you must constantly keep finding the ones that are need action in the next couple of hours.

But among several types of email exchanges that EAs deal with on a daily basis, we found that trying to coordinate a group meeting between multiple internal and external stakeholders end up taking a lot of time and back-and-forth. In fact, it is one of those threads that you have to be very careful and keep circling back to. You must ensure that there are no new conflicts arising from the responses and try to steer the thread to a mutually agreeable timeslot.

So would it not be amazing if you no longer had to deal with the back-and-forth and going through all the responses again and again? That's what FreeBusy helps you achieve.

Coordinate multi-stakeholder meetings 10x faster

The new workflow: Without email back-and-forth

Imagine you are trying to schedule a meeting between your executive and 4 external people. To understand how the new workflow makes the process 10x faster, let us first list down some of the key steps in the present workflow over the email.

  1. You would first check your executive's availability on their calendar and select a few free times to suggest for the meeting.
  2. Now the usual practice would be to place HOLD events on the chosen times to ensure that those times don't get booked until you collect responses from everyone.
  3. You send these suggestions over the email and wait for people to respond.
  4. As participants start responding, you keep checking the emails to see if there are some conflicts in the time slots you suggested, or are the participants suggesting some other time options.
  5. While you are waiting some other important meeting needs to be setup at one of the times you have put on HOLD.
  6. So you now have to inform everyone that the particular time slot is no longer available and instead suggest a few other times.
  7. Once you have found the time, you need to remove all the HOLD events, create a calendar invite for the decided time, add a web conferencing link for the location and send it out to everyone.

This back-and-forth continues till everyone has responded and a common time is found.

Workflow with FreeBusy:
The Outlook add-in and the Gmail add-on makes it extremely easy for you to check your executive's availability or start a poll right as you are sending out an email.

  1. Add the 4 participants and create a poll link on behalf of your executive.
  2. When the first participant opens the link, they see all the times when the executive is available and picks their own preferences.
  3. As the rest of the participants vote, they can each see votes from everyone who voted before them and the real-time availability of the executive (including if some time became unavailable).

When everyone has voted, if a common time is found, FreeBusy automatically creates a calendar invite from the executive's calendar, adds a conference link (if integrated with FreeBusy) and shares it with everyone. If a common time is not found, you get to see everyone's votes and decide if you would like to proceed with the most voted time.

FreeBusy thus eliminates the never ending thread of discussions and converts it into a much more intuitive way of finding time to meet through meeting polls (but with real time availability)

EAs using FreeBusy say its a life saver. What do you think?