Why use office hours?
Office hours are a way for experts in your org to open their door to teammates, either virtually or in person, especially to unblock people when they've run into something beyond their expertise. Office hour sessions are designed to offer ~15 minutes time slots for team members to get help from experts on stated specialties and technical questions.
Better than a chat system
Why use PlusPlus office hours when people can just ask questions on Slack (or similar chat systems)? Because an office hour session communicates that an expert is ready/available to dedicate their time to help you get unstuck. You don't have to be in the dark about who can best help you or feel weird about tapping them on the shoulder. Also, office hour sessions facilitate more human interactions compared to typically async conversations on a chat system. Most effective teams offer both chat-based and office-hour-based support to their internal customers.
Better than a calendar system
Why use PlusPlus office hours when Google Calendar (and similar systems) provides a convenient way to offer appointments?
The big advantage of office hours is that they:
are easily discoverable via PlusPlus categories and tags
can be easily linked to any piece of content on the platform
allow the attendee to specify their agenda ahead of time (allowing the host to better prepare)
provide additional reminders
are automatically released when unbooked, freeing up time on the host's calendar
collect feedback about their effectiveness
provide aggregate reporting on their utilization
Here are the typical steps for offering office hours.
Create an office hour program.
In this step, you create a template for your office hour, configuring details such as topic, booking capacity, duration, and so on. Learn how to create and edit an office hour program.
Schedule one or more office hour sessions based on the program.
In this step, you schedule a date and time for the office hour session based on the program created in step #1. You also set up the session location, host, and other details. Learn how to schedule office hour sessions.
Gather feedback from the office hour session.
See how attendees rated your office hour session. Learn more about gathering user feedback.
Update the office hour as needed.
Return to step #2 to schedule or duplicate more sessions for the office hour when needed.
Office hours in the big PlusPlus picture
Office hours are just one of the ways PlusPlus helps you facilitate live, relational engagement that keeps your org growing and learning from its experts. We also offer live events and peer programs, as well as self-paced learning content, such as videos, articles, and courses.
For a closer look at all the content types available in PlusPlus for both live engagement and self-paced content, see PlusPlus 101: Content you can create.
Office hours v. peer programs
We use the term session to apply to both the office hours and peer programs. Peer programs are designed to offer a more organic, ongoing relationship between a mentor/coach and a team member.
Office hour sessions, on the other hand, are designed to offer ~15 minutes time slots for team members to get help from experts on stated specialties and technical questions.
Office hours v. events
Office hours are designed to be smaller and shorter than live events. The smaller enrollments in office hours facilitate a more intimate setting in which team members can hone in on a topic of their choosing, learning from experts one-on-one or in a small group.