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Keeping track of team availability

Seeing and keeping track of your team availability used to be a simple issue. You could simply use your Outlook or Google calendar to check team members calendars and book meetings in. But then... the pandemic... hybrid working and whole new world of problems emerged.

Hybrid working isn't a new thing. Many teams used this method of working prior to the pandemic, heck its 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 lets 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.

First question, 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.

Second question, what are the benefits of knowing your teams location or availability

In short there are lots of benefits to knowing your teams location and these include:

  • Health and safety: Knowing your teams location will keep you and your team mates 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 peoples plans.
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  • 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.

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.

The day-to-day

You needn’t worry about having to remember to populate your whereabouts.  We send you an email each week to prompt you to put them in for the following week.  So, in time it becomes second nature, like checking your emails or updating your to-do list. 

We believe in simplicity, and we’ve created a pictorial system whereby you can identify quickly using icons to see where a colleague is. For example, a house for Working from Home, and an office for the office. Again, sounds simple but it’s a key visual aid to make it as straightforward as possible. 

We’ve done the same with role-holders. First Aiders, Mental Health First Aiders, Key-Holders, and Fire Wardens can all be indicated in Whereabouts for managers to make sure there is a presence in the office each day for all role holders. 

The long term

Whilst its purpose is to facilitate smooth running of your hybrid work schedule, Whereabouts plays an important role in helping managers with long term planning. Managers can pull off reports of data for within a custom timeframe, divided by team if needed. These can provide a basic overview to see how the hybrid work schedule is working overall or can be used to provide greater intelligence about how the teams are working. For example, whether offices are being used enough, whether there is a lean towards one location over others. Whether there are key times when workers need to be in one location or another, or if there are patterns emerging around work projects or key times in the year.  They can also help to inform the wider analysis and review of how the hybrid working schedule is going for the company and 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 hello@team-today.com.

Profile picture Robin Gibson
Robin Gibson
Co-founder and Director of Design

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