Keeping track of team availability
Seeing and keeping track of your team's availability used to be a simple issue. You could simply use your Outlook or Google calendar to check team member's calendars and book meetings. But then... the pandemic... hybrid working and a whole new world of problems emerged.
Hybrid working isn't a new thing. Many teams used this method of working before the pandemic, heck it's the reason we created Team Today. We saw first-hand the issues with hybrid working such as turning up to the office and no one being there or not knowing if the CTO was on holiday or just working from home.
But before we offer some solutions let's first dig into Team availability tracking and see (a) what problems we are trying to solve and (b) whether we need to solve them at all.
Do I need to know or track where my team plan to work from?
Well it depends.
If you are a fully remote company then the answer is probably no.
If you are a company that is fully in the office then again the answer is also no.
But if you are a hybrid workforce or a team that is regularly out of the office then it makes sense to have an idea of where your team is.
What are the benefits of knowing your teams location or availability
There are multiple benefits to knowing your teams location:
- Health and safety: Knowing your teams' location will keep you and your teammates safe in case of emergency.
- Reduce waste and cut costs: Your company could make real cost savings and help to reduce waste by simply having foresight of how many people plan to be in the office or even visit the canteen.
- Maximise office space: How well utilised is your office space, now teams are hybrid how do you track the utilisation of space?
- Fire wardens and first aiders: Linked to health and safety, this can be easily overlooked in a hybrid workforce.
- Planning workshops: Knowing when team members plan to be in the office can certainly help with workshop planning where it makes sense to do so in person.
- Social: Catching up with colleagues is certainly a lot easier when you can see other people's plans.
- Workforce capacity: Knowing where the peaks and troughs in leave are would make planning so much easier and remove any doubt as to where people are.
- Enhanced team cohesion: Knowing where your team members are located and being able to see when they are available can help build a sense of connection and community among team members, even if they are physically dispersed.
How does Team Today work as an availability tracker?
When you create a Team Today account with team members you are instantly given access to a simple dashboard view.
This lets you see who is working from home, in the office or on holiday for the upcoming week. Brilliantly this also links to your Outlook calendar as well meaning that when you set your planned whereabouts it will automatically update your Outlook calendars. This obviously helps with availability tracking, letting you see when booking a meeting who is in the office on a given day.
It doesn't end there though, with Team Today you can create multiple offices, custom locations and whereabouts and have them instantly available for your team.
Whereabouts can also link with Desk Booking if you wish, meaning that teams are given information on desk availability when they input their whereabouts, and managers have a high-level overview of where teams are distributed.
The Team View gives you the overview of the week, whilst the Company View gives you the overview of wider teams and also access to any Floor Plans you have in place. And all of the information is available to view in Work Planner, so you can see how everything fits against projects and deadlines, to enable efficient planning and to be able track and manage holidays and even, if required, team absences.
Staff can use the information to coordinate with each other when they will be in the office together, to plan work or even just to catch up socially over lunch, for we shouldn’t forget the importance of social connections for our wellbeing.
Giving colleagues control over their working week enables them to have ownership of how they manage their hybrid working, but also to see how they are an important part of the wider company.
You don't have to worry about remembering to update your location. We will send you an email each week to remind you to input your location for the following week. This will become a natural habit, like checking your emails or updating your to-do list.
Our system uses simple icons to visually show where a colleague is located, such as a house for working from home and an office for the office. We also use this system to indicate the presence of specific role holders, like First Aiders, Mental Health First Aiders, Key-Holders, and Fire Wardens, to ensure that there is always someone in the office who holds these roles.
The long term
While its primary purpose is to support the smooth operation of your hybrid work schedule, Whereabouts also helps managers with long-term planning. Managers can generate reports with data within a customisable time frame, organised by team if necessary. These reports can provide a general overview of how the hybrid work schedule is working overall, or they can be used to gather more detailed insights, such as how frequently offices are being used, if there is a preference for one location over others, or if there are patterns emerging around work projects or key times in the year. These reports can also be useful for analysing and reviewing the overall effectiveness of the hybrid work schedule for the company and determining if any changes need to be made.
Now you’ve been introduced to this feature, why not have a look at our other features here. And remember you can always contact us with any questions or to arrange a demo at firstname.lastname@example.org.