Team Whereabouts in MS Teams
In the world of hybrid working, the location of teams takes centre stage in a way it never did when home working was an occasional luxury, and the norm was the humble office. Now that we are in a new era with work possibilities in multiple locations, our hybrid lives revolve not around one workplace but many. And with this new way of working comes the need for a new way of planning.
We built Team Today around four pillars: Whereabouts, Desk Booking, Holidays, and Work Planner. In this Feature Focus, we’re taking you on a tour of our Whereabouts pillar. In a nutshell, it’s about where your teams are. It sounds simple, and our mission is to do just that – make hybrid working simple. But there’s a lot going on behind the scenes that makes Whereabouts add much more value to you than just knowing where somebody is.
Before we begin
Team Today syncs with Microsoft Teams so that you can use all features without having to leave the Teams interface, everything happens in there. And it syncs perfectly straight to your Outlook, Gmail or Teams calendar.
If you’re using Microsoft Azure you can add starters and leavers as you normally would in Active directory, and Team Today automatically imports them.
And not forgetting Outlook and Google, Team Today integrates with those too.
So, what is Whereabouts?
Whereabouts is a core feature of Team Today. It enables you to see who’s in the office, who’s travelling, who’s working from home, and who’s on holiday. It lets teams see at-a-glance where their colleagues are, not just on a given day but in advance, and it lets managers see where their teams are. With its simple interface, it’s an easy way to bring everybody onto the same page, so you can plan work accordingly. And you can mould it to your organisation by creating custom whereabouts to suit your business needs and activities. For example, you can include customer visits, site visits, and seminars. Simply choose an icon, add a label, and then it's there for your teams to select as and when they need to. Think of it as your bespoke company workforce planner, invaluable for any business, but especially helpful when you have colleagues dotted around the world.
The power to input whereabouts lies with each team member. Using Team View, each week is presented for you with every team member listed. You can enter your whereabouts for any day, using our easy-to-follow drop-down menus to select where you will be. So, whether you’re in the office, or working from home, or you’re taking a personal day, you can select this quickly and easily, and it will immediately appear in Team View, the company Work Planner and also sync straight into your calendars.
How does it work behind the scenes?
The Management tab is the mainframe of your Team Today setup. In here, you can manage users, teams, offices, holidays, pull off reports, and change company settings. It’s where the magic happens.
As a default position, we include three entries in your Whereabouts list – Holiday, Working from Home, and Non-Working Day. The rest is up to you. There’s no limit to the number of locations you can have as a company. You may be a multi-site business or have a single office setup, but you can use Whereabouts no matter what type or size of company you are and you can create custom whereabouts tailored to your business activities so that is unique to you.
Whereabouts links with Desk Booking, 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 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.