Using the Microsoft Power Platform to Improve Employees’ In-Office Experience

This post outlines how we built a low-code solution with the Microsoft Power Platform to encourage employees to take advantage of company-sponsored activities and collaborate with team members in the office. 

Root16 has many amazing perks, including hybrid work. While fully supporting our team to work where they want, we want to create a fun and engaging experience for our local employees when they choose to come into the office. 

The first thing we did was expand our social calendar. Our amazing office coordinator (Go Maggie!) got to work planning lunches, happy hours, cake days, game nights, and other company-sponsored activities in the office. These events are communicated at the beginning of the month.  

Build it and they will come, right? Like most things that require user adoption, not exactly. 

Building with Microsoft Outlook

Challenge One: With weekly events, it can be difficult to remember what’s happening, when, and who is planning on attending. 

Solution One: We built a shared calendar in Outlook and invited team members to join.  

 

Why It Didn’t Work: This solution required team members to remember to go into their Outlook, navigate to the shared calendar, and add the days they were going to be in the office. Then, if their plans changed, it would require them to repeat the process and remove their attendance status. This data went stale fast! It eroded people’s confidence that they could trust the calendar, if they remembered to check. 

What it looked like was people would travel into the office, only to find themselves missing events or worse, working by themselves because people changed their schedule. 

We knew we could do better.  

Beef up the social calendar? Check. Now we needed to make it easier for employees to: 

  • Log the days they are going to be in the office and make changes 
  • See who else is going to be in the office on what days 
  • See what company events are happening in the upcoming week 
  • Come to the office when other people are coming in 

Building with Microsoft Power Platform

Solution Two:  

I knew we could use a low-code solution built with the Microsoft Power Platform to solve this issue. 

Step One: We created an “In-Office Event” table in our Dataverse environment. The table includes the dates employees will be in the office and dates for company events. 

Step Two: We created an actionable email that sends a message to all local employees on Friday mornings, asking them what days they’ll be in the office the following week. This email includes the following week’s company events to help them plan accordingly.

Step Three: We built a Power BI report that shows a calendar view of what’s happening in the office in the current month. This includes events and which employees will be in the office. 

Step Four: We created a summary email that’s sent out on Sunday evenings letting local employees know who and how many teammates will be in on what days, as well as what events are happening. This email links to Dataverse so people can easily make changes based on the results as well as the Power BI report.

The Results of the Low-Code Solution

In the first 8 weeks of this new solution, we’ve seen the following results: 

  • 86% of our local employees visited the office at least once 
  • The average number of visits per week per employee is 1.5 
  • Most popular days for in-office work: Tuesdays and Thursdays 

Most of our company-sponsored events take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays. With better visibility and improved communication, our team is taking advantage of the activities we’re investing in.

The best part? People are doing it together and getting valuable face time with their teammates. 

Build It Yourself with Power Platform: The How

There are four core components of the solution: 

  • Dataverse Table 
  • Cloud Flows 
  • Power BI report 
  • Actionable Email. Note: The Actionable Email was the most complicated piece of the solution as there were specific settings that needed to be set for it to work. 

Are you navigating a similar situation where you want to help your team members get the most out of their time in the office 

Stay tuned for part two where I lay out the details of the technical components of the low-code solution built using the Microsoft Power Platform.