Send a formatted email every 60 minutes with Exchange 2010 SP3 and Outlook 2010

Posted on 2014-09-29
Last Modified: 2014-09-30
We have been asked by management to send out an email to allusers group every hour with a formatted email with logo advising them to get up and stretch for 30 seconds and drink water etc... It is purely to get the staff active and motivated, hopefully preventing them from sitting for long periods of time in an unhealthy position. It is for health reasons only.

We have an exchange Server 2010 SP3 running on SBS 2011
We have a Windows 2008 R2 Terminal Server as a member to the SBS domain
Both Servers sit in a Data Centre (Co-Located)
Nothing is Virtualised.
All Users are connected remotely to a Windows 2008 R2 Terminal Server all day 7am - 5pm Mon - Fri.
On the Terminal Server we use Outlook 2010 (Office Professional Plus 2010)

Is there a way to simply send an email to the allusers group in the domain every hour that can be nicely formatted to uphold the professionalism of the company. This email would have two paragraphs and a logo embedded in it from the human performance expert. Just like an email template.

The email would be a static email and very rarely change, it's just a reminder to get up and stretch to get everything moving again.

We tried using task scheduler with an email, however we could not format the email in a nice manner. It worked well, just the formatting let us down. All the text appeared on one line and wrapped when needed. The formatting was lost.
If there is a way to format the task scheduler message that would keep it simple and easily manageable we would be happy with that.

If another solution is required it would be good to not have to rely on Outlook running on an account to trigger it. It needs to be an automatic trigger and only work during business hours  (7am - 5pm, Mon - Fri). This is why task scheduler would have been perfect.
Our VB coding is limited on this.

Kind regards
Question by:Greendata
LVL 80

Accepted Solution

David Johnson, CD, MVP earned 500 total points
ID: 40351680
you could use the built in msg.exe function or use psexec / powershell to execute an hta every working day hour.
LVL 35

Expert Comment

by:Cris Hanna
ID: 40351920
As a remote worker myself, if management were to send me an hourly email about any topic, I'd simply create a rule in Outlook to automatically delete any email with the subject you would have in this email.  I'm always amused when companies try to use technology to solve an HR issue.   If 100% of the people this applies to are remote, there would be no way to monitor whether they are doing it or not.   There should be an HR policy document for remote workers and the hourly break thing should be included.  Each week your HR person should send emails to remote workers with company news and it can include a different item from the remote workers policy.  People will actually read it.  I'm sure there are third party software packages to automate your hourly requirements and I'll Post later but it's a waste of time and money because no one will pay attention anymore after the third one.
LVL 76

Expert Comment

by:David Lee
ID: 40351956
Hi, Greendata.

I agree with @Cris Hanna's thoughts on this.  Reminding employees via email is a poor choice.  Like Cris, I'm a remote worker myself and I would definitely set up the rule he mentioned to send these messages straight to Deleted Items.  The email approach also presumes that all employees immediately react to all incoming emails.  If an employee is really engaged in some task, then s/he might not see the reminder for some time.  If you really want employees to be prompted in a way that they can neither disable nor ignore, then @David Johnson's suggestion is a much better approach.  I'm not an expert on Terminal Server, but I'm guessing that you could create a scheduled task in each employee's session that fires once an hour and runs a simple script.  Something like this

MsgBox "Please take a minute to stand up and stretch.",vbExclamation+vbOKOnly+vbSystemModal,"Stretch Break"

Open in new window

This would display a pop-up once an hour.  The pop-up should appear on top of everything else making it impossible to ignore.  If the pop-up has to have the company logo, then use @David Johnson's suggestion of running an HTA (HTML application).

Author Comment

ID: 40353715

Thanks David, I'll give this a go. I did not even consider using HTA file.

Cris and BlueDevilFan , your opinions are valid, however we are just in need of the task.

Author Comment

ID: 40353779
Thanks David.
I'll go with your answer for simplicity.
This will achieve what we want.

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