When we first launched Planning Center Online in 2006, I don't think that even we knew all of the things that it would grow to be used for; we just wanted something that would help us to get away from spreadsheets and difficult scheduling scenarios for our worship teams. But once other ministries saw its capabilities, PCO Services grew to be a scheduling tool that could be used for lots of different scheduling needs, not just for the worship team.

In 2011 we added the ability for people to specify scheduling preferences for when they wanted to serve. Now that it's common for many family members to have their own accounts in PCO Services, we also wanted to provide a way for them to specify who they want to serve with.

Households

Now Schedulers, Editors, and Admins can group family members into Households so users can set preferences for the entire clan, or specific members of it, to be scheduled together or separately.

In this screenshot example, Denise is saying she wants to be scheduled with the Huxtables, but she doesn't want to be scheduled with Vanessa (sister drama).

If you don't want to have to put people into Households, an Organization Administrator can go to the site settings page to enable all users to setup their own households. Once it's enabled, when a Viewer or Scheduled Viewer tries to add someone to their Household, an email is sent to that other person who must confirm it before the change takes effect. Check out this lesson on Creating or Editing Households for more information.

Family Preferences

When you schedule new people using needed positions, people with preferred or not preferred family members already scheduled to that plan will show the preference next to their name.

Here we can see that Denise does want to be scheduled with a Huxtable (Cliff is already on the schedule), but Vanessa doesn't.

We're just going to put Denise and Vanessa both on the schedule and let Cliff work it out. Their fights are pretty short anyway (normally less than a half hour).

Hiding Conflicts, Blockouts and Preferences

We've noticed that the scheduling box is getting a little cluttered with all the different block-out dates, preferences and conflicts, so we've decided to add a feature that will hide anyone in that list with any type of conflict.

To clean up your list of people who can be scheduled, just click 'hide people with conflicts' in the lower left.

To see the full list, click the button again and all of your volunteers will show up!

Bonus Feature: the preferences for this setting are saved to your browser, so you only have to click on that button one time, and all of the other areas that you schedule in PCO Services will appear the same.

Additional Filtering

In the process of making your scheduling life easier, we've also added two new filters to the people page: Created At and Updated At. Now you can see who was added to your account or updated their profile in a range of dates! We've also added the ability to show or hide each column on the people page by clicking on the blue column icon in the upper right corner.

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