Q: Diane, what is the etiquette surrounding how a supervisor should go about posting employee requests for time off on the shared Outlook office calendar? My reference regards doctor and other personal appointments that are able to be viewed by everyone within the company I work for, even if they happen upon them unintentionally.
A: Dear SJ, the etiquette for a boss who may be privy to certain personal information, such as the reason behind requesting time off, is to inform others of your absence without oversharing.
When there is a shared Outlook calendar within the workplace, optimally a doctor appointment would be labeled “Personal” or “Unavailable”. This will ensure your coworkers are informed, but not provided with specific details. If your company has a practice of stating the exact reason for time off, contact your boss regarding your concerns. Say, or email (for your records), “I have noticed the specific reason for my requested time off has been posted on the shared Outlook calendar. I would prefer this information be kept private. Would you consider rewording to say ‘Personal’ or ‘Unavailable’ in the future? Thank you for considering my request.”
Finally, consider limiting the information you share. For example, your boss doesn’t necessarily need to know whether you’re getting your annual physical or your teeth cleaned. If your supervisor has questions, let them be the one to ask, and in your response request the details are kept confidential and off the calendar.