Blackout Times Management
Blocks of unavailable time on your schedule are called "blackouts" or "blackout times." Once you have staff and resources' available vs. unavailable hours set up, you will see blackouts filling unavailable times on the schedule. You can adjust blackout times to adjust unavailable hours, which adjusts staff and resources' available hours.
Blackouts can repeat, such as if a staff member has the same arrival time and breaks every week, or not repeat, such as if a staff member needs to be out for two hours only one afternoon.
Blackouts work very much like appointments, meaning you can change their times and lengths, make new ones, make repeating ones, cancel them, and apply a repeating change (including a cancelation) to an already-repeating one.
If you are not sure how to visualize how blackout times work, think of them as little solid blocks that have to cover up the correct lengths of time on the schedule. They can be made longer or shorter for adjustments, or they can be canceled to remove them completely.
Staff and resources who/that are unavailable for any whole day do not appear on the schedule view for that day, so someone looking at your schedule does not have to look through a list of unavailable staff and resources. On the schedule view, you can click to open and work with any existing blackouts that you can see. In Blackout Times Management, you can click to open and work with any blackouts, including ones that fill the whole day, and create new blackouts.
- If you are setting up a schedule, to set everyone's hours, use Starting Availability Management, which is much less work than adding blackout times. And, do not use blackout times to add unavailable times that are the same, such as Friday afternoons.
- Blackouts are like other areas of WCONLINE®, meaning you can decide which options to use, use them, and then know that what you wanted is now in place. Blackouts become easy to use once you know how they work. But, people tend to work on other areas of the program with a lot of focus, as well as more willingness to ask us questions, during setup, whereas blackouts are looked at only in a rush when something inconvenient has already happened (a tutor changed their hours or had an emergency come up). So, we have a lot of examples in this chapter and the next chapter. Please do not feel required to read everything if you find that blackouts make sense and are already easy to work with. Please do ask us questions whenever needed.
- When creating new blackout times to make permanent schedule changes, our support team consistently finds it best to recommend making weekly repeating blackouts on one day of the week at a time, because it is easy to come back later in the semester to edit blackouts that you know are the same on one day of the week. For example, most people like having a blackout that may look the same on Mondays and Wednesdays but be sure that, if the staff member changes their Monday hours only, all Mondays can be edited alone and in one step.
- As with a repeating appointment, if you create a blackout and forget to make it repeat, go to the next week and create another new blackout, remembering to use the repeating options. But, remember that the first week's blackout (the individual one) and the next week's blackout (the start of the repeating series) look identical but were not created as part of a single repeating series. To make a change and apply the change to all the blackouts, start with the second week.
- Blackouts offer logical options, again like appointments. A new blackout allows you to define whether the blackout should repeat, how frequently, and until what date. If an existing blackout repeats, you will see options to "also update all associated blackouts...." A blackout that does not repeat does not have "associated blackouts" and so does not offer those options.
SECTION 1: Blackouts on the Schedule and in Blackout Times Management
SECTION 2: Summary of Creating, Modifying, and Canceling Blackout Times
SECTION 3: Blackout Vocabulary in Pictures
SECTION 4: Blackout Vocabulary in Words
SECTION 5: A Good Example of Step-by-Step Instructions
SECTION 6: Creating a Repeating Blackout
SECTION 7: Working With an Existing Repeating Blackout
SECTION 8: Add a Staff Meeting as a Blackout
SECTION 9: A Note on How Starting Availability Management Works
SECTION 10: Blackout Times Do Not Overlap