Microsoft Office doesn’t sit at the top of its class through name recognition alone. Anyone who has used the office suite knows those applications work and that, thus far, other software companies have failed to create alternatives that steal the title of “office” as reigning business king. Microsoft Office provides the tools many businesses need to get things done. Of the programs, though, Outlook may be the most underutilized program in the suite’s arsenal. If you want to keep organized on the business front, you need to learn to harness Outlook’s awesome power.
It’s not just email
Outlook’s greatest downfall may be its fame as an internal email system. Perhaps that’s because most employees in traditional offices don’t need the other tools that Outlook has to offer. In traditional corporate settings, most jobs are independent of each other. No one in accounting needs to know about the marketing department’s Monday afternoon meetings, so open scheduling isn’t a priority. With a small business, though, things are far more interconnected and Outlook can keep everyone on the same page both figuratively and literally.
Even more than Outlook is an email system, it is a scheduling system. Tools in the Outlook Calendar make it easy for users to keep track of their own schedules and, perhaps more importantly in an integrated business environment, to keep track of others as well.
The appointment feature in Outlook is the virtual equivalent of jotting down an appointment on a wall calendar. You go into the proper date, enter the meeting time and put in a note about the meeting topic. Forgetful sorts can also set a reminder about the meeting, so Outlook will let you know when you have somewhere you’re supposed to be. When used to its fullest potential, the feature isn’t just about keeping one person informed. It’s also keeping an entire office informed. By creating permissions that allow employees to see each other’s calendars, no one will ever be lost in the depths of the office again. Everyone will know just where each person can be found by looking at his or her calendar.
Outlook Appointment offers more than just individual scheduling. It also makes easy work of setting up meetings. Each appointment gives you the option of inviting contacts from your email list. As contacts agree to attend, Outlook handles the updates, keeping a running roster of who will be in attendance and adding the meeting to each person’s calendar.
Eggs in one basket
As useful as Outlook can be at keeping your business organized, the trouble with an all-in-one approach is that any program is susceptible to issues. If you rely heavily on Outlook for organization and the application is hit by a tech zombie virus, goes berserk and eats all the data, you’ll be losing massive amounts of information. Programs do exist to recover Outlook, though, and the all-in-one approach is ideal for organization.
Backing up emails
Not every underused Outlook tool lives inside the calendar. Many business owners and managers fail to use some of the Outlook email system’s most helpful features, such as e-mail backups, which can serve a couple of main functions in your business. The first is to make information that comes through email available to employees without having to recopy data. The second is to save communication you may need in the future. Even if it’s unlikely, as a business owner you never know when you might need proof of something that showed up in your email.
As a business owner, staying organized and being well aware of the location of your important documentation is paramount. Explore all of Outlook’s features and use them to their full advantage to help you on your way to success. You’ll be less stressed from day to day, especially when you know recovering any lost data is possible.