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Use MS Bookings for Office Hours

This guide explains how to use the Bookings tool in Office365 to create an online 'office hours' form which is integrated with individual staff calendars and automatically creates Teams meetings. These can be created by individuals, or by departments to include all their staff members offering office hours.

It may be simpler to create a recurring meeting in Teams with the lobby enabled and to publish the link to this to students so that they can choose to join the meeting and wait to be let in by the staff member.

Please also note:

  1. The first time you use Bookings, you will set up a 'business' for you as an individual, or on behalf of a department.
  2. This process creates a new account and calendar that will appear in the Outlook addressbook. You cannot delete this, and you cannot change the account address.
  3. You can create any number of 'businesses' per Office 356 account (i.e. your personal login, or shared resource account).

The steps below are linked to the Microsoft supporting documentation for more information on each step.

Set up a personal office hours booking calendar

  1. Go to https://outlook.office.com/bookings and sign in using your personal University login.
  2. Click on Get it now, and choose, Add a booking calendar
  3. Add business information i.e. your name, address, and a work phone number (if available) and your email address for booking enquiries and reminders (or a departmental account, if one is provided). Change the business hours if you wish. You will set specific office hours when adding yourself as a staff member.
  4. Add yourself as a staff member.
    • Go to the Staff page and select Add staff. Type your name in the Add people field, select yourself from the drop down and the other fields will be filled in automatically.
    • Change the account role from Viewer to Administrator.
    • Change the availability by unchecking the Use business hours box, and then add the start and end times for your office hours on the days they are to be held. Add extra sessions to a day by clicking on the + button and remove days by clicking x to set it as a 'day off'.
    • Click save (top left) when complete.
  5. Add meeting types on the Services page by selecting Add services.
    • Give the meeting a name - you could have meeting titles like 'personal tutoring', 'module support', 'office hours' for example, and a description. You must enable Add online meeting so that it will automatically create a calendar entry and a Teams meeting link which will be sent to you and the person booking.
    • Set the length of meeting you want people to book - 15 minute, 30 minute, or 60 minutes for example - students choose this from a drop down list when booking. Add a buffer time between meetings if required, and add any scheduling requirements such as requiring bookings to be made 24 hours in advance.
    • Assign yourself as the staff member to the service by clicking on your name at the top right.
    • Click save when complete.
  6. Make your booking page live.
    • Go to the Booking Page section, and tick 'require a Microsoft 365 account to book' and disable direct search engine indexing.
    • Check your scheduling policies are correct and, at the bottom of the page, check that 'general availability' is set as Bookable when staff are free. Optionally you can set a colour theme and add a 'business logo' e.g. a picture of yourself so students know they have the correct staff member.
    • Click on Save and Publish at the top left to make this available.
    • Click on Open published page to check the page information is correct and make any changes necessary.
  7. Share the link with your students, or click the embed button at the top to get a code that you can add to SiteBuilder or Moodle.

Set up a departmental office hours bookings account

This requires the following stages - create the business, add staff members and set their office hours within the default business hours, create the services that can be booked, and make the booking page visible.

  1. Sign into Office365 using your personal University login or a Resource account via webmail.warwick.ac.uk
  2. Go to https://outlook.office.com/bookings (or click on the App launcher waffle icon at the top left, select All Apps > and then Bookings)
  3. Click on Get it now, and choose, Add a booking calendar
  4. Add business information i.e. department name, address, phone number (if a central number is available) and a departmental email address for booking enquiries and reminders. Leave the business hours as default (8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday in 15-minute increments). Individual office hours will be set for each staff member.
  5. Add staff members.
    • Go to the Staff page and select Add staff.
    • Type the staff members name in the Add people field, select them from the drop down and the other fields will be filled in automatically. Edit the details by selecting the x next to their name and editing the Add people field e.g. to add Dr. or Prof. titles.
    • Change staff availability by unchecking the Use business hours box, and then add the start and end times for their office hours on the days they are to be held.
    • Add extra sessions to a day by clicking on the + button and remove days by clicking x to set it as a 'day off'. Click save (top left) when complete.
    • Repeat this process for each staff member you need to add. There is no automated method for adding or importing multiple staff at once.
  6. Add meeting types on the Services page by selecting Add services.
    • Give the meeting a name - you could have meeting titles like 'personal tutoring', 'module support', 'office hours' for example, and a description.
    • You must enable Add online meeting so that it will automatically create a calendar entry and a Teams meeting link which will be sent to you and the person booking.
    • Set the length of meeting people can book - as students choose this service from a drop down list when booking, a single option may be preferable to asking them to choose a meeting length. Add a buffer time between meetings if required, and add any scheduling requirements such as requiring bookings to be made 24 hours in advance.
    • Assign the appropriate staff member by clicking on their name at the top right.
    • Click save when complete.
  7. Make the booking page live.
    • Go to the Booking Page section, and tick 'require a Microsoft 365 account to book' and disable direct search engine indexing.
    • Check the departmental scheduling policies are correct and, at the bottom of the page, check that 'general availability' is set as Bookable when staff are free.
    • Optionally set a colour theme and add a 'business logo' e.g. a picture of the department or a departmental logo if one is available.
    • Click on Save and Publish at the top left to make this available.
    • Click on Open published page to check the page information is correct and make any changes necessary.
  8. Share the link with the students, or click the embed button at the top to get a code that staff can add to SiteBuilder or Moodle. Students will need to be instructed to visit the page and choose the meeting type (if more than one), and then the relevant staff member. They will be offered slots according to staff availability.
The information on this page relates to MS Bookings and was last updated January 2021.

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