Recurring calendar events save users time and increase engagement. Learn how a calendar API can help bring this functionality to your users.
Every knowledge worker is familiar with this common set of workplace tasks: creating, updating, and deleting calendar events. Whether sending your team invites for bi-weekly syncs, scheduling monthly all-hands meetings, or setting annual performance review reminders, we all dedicate precious time to booking time for ourselves and colleagues.
And similar to the previously listed examples, we often create recurring events in our digital calendars that require ongoing maintenance:
“I have a conflict. Can you move the weekly one-on-one?”
“Our teammate left the company. Can you remove them from the invite?”
“We have more attendees than expected. Can you book a larger room?”
Do these questions ring a bell? We’ve all been there — including your users.
While creating, updating, and deleting recurring events seems straightforward, building calendar functionality to support these actions within your application takes valuable developer time and resources. And even once you have that calendar functionality in your app, managing multiple recurring events is another undertaking.
This article will explain why you should consider empowering your users with recurring event functionality and how to implement this with the help of a calendar API. But first, let’s cover some basics.
What are recurring events in digital calendars?
Recurring events are calendar entries made for events that occur more than once — daily, weekly, monthly, annually, etc. To make a recurring event within a digital calendar, your user must create the first instance of the event and then apply rules that future events should follow. For example, “event repeats weekly on Wednesday” or “reoccurrence ends after ten occurrences.”
Depending on the calendar provider your users are working with, creating a recurring event should look something like this:
There are several actions users would expect when creating recurring events:
Updating or deleting an individual event without changing the entire series
Removing or adding a new attendee to one or multiple occurrences
Sending change notifications to event attendees
And your users will be looking for all these capabilities within your application. Let’s explore a few different scenarios:
Beth is the owner of a small construction company using client management software to keep track of multiple clients. She needs to schedule weekly check-ins with each client to ensure their renovation projects are going according to plan. A number of her clients juggle unpredictable and constantly fluctuating schedules. This causes Beth to spend additional time updating multiple recurring meetings with her clients — time otherwise spent on higher priorities like building or recruiting new customers. Giving Beth recurring event functionality in-app removes the need for her to jump away from your application to cross-check her availability on your calendar, saving her valuable time.
Ted is an HR manager looking to plan quarterly performance reviews with each employee in his organization. Conflicts begin to pop up each week, and Ted finds himself going into individual calendar entries to make adjustments daily. The ability to schedule, edit, and delete recurring events directly from a human capital management (HCM) system would remove the complexity and time he would have otherwise spent context-switching between multiple platforms.
Why do recurring events matter in your application?
Recurring events provide a predictable structure that helps participants plan. Offering event organizers an easy way to create, edit, and delete these events in your app is crucial in empowering them to improve attendance and overall productivity.
Take workplace meetings, for example. Something we’ve heard time and time again is workers dislike meetings. In fact, research on the science behind meetings shows that U.S. professionals see them as their number one productivity killer.
Another report highlighting behaviors of the average meeting goer indicates that most people have spent meeting time:
Skipping meetings altogether (96%)
Doing other work (73%)
Complaining it’s a waste of time (47%)
Feeling overwhelmed by the number of meetings on their calendar (45%)
However, meetings are a critical component of workplace collaboration. They’re needed to share information, make decisions, understand the status of projects, solve challenges, and more. Given the value meetings bring, a more accurate statement might be — workers dislike bad meetings.
So, how can event organizers create more effective meetings that combat these negative sentiments? By taking the time to craft a compelling inviteonce and repeating that structure via recurring events. Attendees will know what to expect and what event organizers expect from them. They will also have ample notice to connect with the arranger in advance, share feedback, or provide an agenda item versus showing up unprepared for an ad-hoc meeting.
Adding recurring event features to your app with a calendar API
The first step toward empowering your users with the ability to use recurring events is to build scheduling functionality within your app. Your development team can spend months to years building this from scratch, or they can significantly reduce this hassle and use a calendar API. This will allow your app to sync with every major calendar provider – from Google Calendar to Outlook and beyond.
Then, it’s time to add recurring event functionality. However, adding a simple “Repeat” button in your app is easier said than done. Despite adhering to agreed-upon standards, every calendar provider has implemented this functionality in its own way. This introduces complexity for developers trying to translate the differences between providers’ interpretations.
However, by using use a calendar standard called RRULE, developers can schedule events with a repeating pattern and easily create, edit, or delete one or multiple instances of an event.
Arranging successful recurring events can significantly increase your audience reach. The Nylas Calendar API removes the complexity of implementation, allowing your developers to focus on product innovation rather than dealing with complex protocols.
Want to see a real-life example of the power of Nylas in action? Read how real estate CRM LionDesk bypassed the trouble of recurrence — editing current and future events — and saved hundreds of hours on development.
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Erin is a content marketing professional at Nylas, where she creates digital assets that connect the organization to individuals. Before Nylas, she spent eight years working in public relations specializing in corporate communications strategy, B2B/B2C writing and editing, executive thought leadership, and other storytelling. In her free time, she enjoys volleyball, karaoke, and baking.