Innovative Use of Shifts App Helps a Chemical Equipment Manufacturing Company as Employees Return to Hybrid Working
The organisation is a specialist chemical dosing solutions provider, based in Basingstoke. The organisation designs, manufactures and installs innovative chemical dosing solutions for the UK water industry and industrial manufacturing.
In response to bringing staff back from the COVID-19 lockdown and furlough, this client was attempting to enable their workforce to return via a method of hybrid-working – some in the office, some at home. They needed to be able to track which employees were working in the office on which days, but also to give employees the ability to say “I want a desk on this day”. Therefore they required a mechanism for input and management of these requests.
The organisation was looking for the ability to break down by department the number of staff onsite, so for example sales would have a certain quota of people in and the engineering team would have the same, plus the head office, and so on. The client needed to be able to track personnel by department, and to be able to manage this centrally, so that they could assign specific people on particular days. They also needed to give people the ability to self-manage, so that if someone needed to change a day, they could sort that out themselves.
We utilised technology that was already available to the organisation through Microsoft Teams. We used Shifts, which is actually for shift management rather than office-space management, but the mechanisms available meant that we were able to create a schedule, communicate that schedule to users, make it available for all the users to interact with, and also make it available on mobile devices.
This solution gives them the ability to plan each week in terms of what staff they have on-site and they are able to specify those people that they need in on particular days. It also gives them visibility to see who they have in and how many spaces are available, so that they can make sure that they are fully compliant with their COVID risk assessment.
Our approach meant that we utilised what they already had, but in a unique way. The client didn’t realise that the software they owned could perform this task, and what all the capabilities were. We educated them in respect of what Microsoft Shifts does and how it can be used, but then applied the software to this challenge – which was outside of what it was generally intended to be used for it. In addition we provided training, set-up and we continue to provide ongoing support to help them use it on a day-to-day basis.
The client is delighted as they now know exactly who is going to be in the office on which days! This means they can manage who is in, and also gives them peace of mind that they are maintaining social distancing while returning to this new way of hybrid working. In terms of improving productivity this solution means they’re not trying to manually manage all of this anymore. They now have a system where they can do it all automatically and so, rather than having to communicate out to everybody, the users that are effected can just go in and check on their office-space requirements. It has reduced the reliance on the emails, spreadsheets or even pieces of paper that were being used before.