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Reopening during COVID-19: Microsoft Return to Workplace solution

Sep 23, 2020
By: Andrew J. Potasek

By Andy Potasek and Dan Rascher

Microsoft’s new Return to the Workplace solution can help your employees feel safe when going back to work.

Businesses and organizations are working hard to plan safe ways to bring employees back to the office. Until COVID-19 is no longer a global health concern, businesses are faced with the challenging job of managing a safe work environment.

Microsoft’s Return to the Workplace solution is designed to help you do just that. The solution allows you to monitor your employees and your reopening plan across all your business facilities — down to the floor or department level.

Return to Work features

  • Tools to track and manage facilities
  • Employee self-check-in and check-out
  • Ability to reserve rooms and work areas, with phased capacity
  • Light contact tracking
  • Case management and incident reporting

Location readiness

Solution dashboards can provide leaders with an at-a-glance view of different locations. Manage safe reopening using critical data like COVID-19 infection rates, supply availability and readiness checklists. Administrators can view incident phases and new cases per day and can filter results based on region, occupancy, employee activity, etc.

Reopening during COVID-19

Managing occupancy

Many businesses are creating phased reopening plans that include occupancy benchmarks. An organization in phase 1 response, for example, might have a workspace occupancy goal of just 20%. Phase 2 might have a 50% benchmark, etc.

At an administrative level, this allows facility managers and other business leaders to look across the organization and get a high-level view of which locations/departments are at which return-to-work phase.

Employees who want to work on-site at a company location can see which facilities are open and what capacity they’re at. They can reserve a work spot and check in via a mobile app, keeping occupancy updated in real time.

Now, if an employee reports a case of COVID-19, you can look back into the system and see when they checked-in at what facility. It’s not robust contact tracing, but it gives you the ability to see where someone was supposed to be and who else would have likely been in the area.

COVID-19 case management

The system includes tools so health and safety leaders can actively manage COVID-19 cases and identify hot spots for safety improvements. Dashboards can show total active cases, days needed to resolve cases, days without new cases, average risk, cases being investigated, contacts reached, average resolution time, etc.

Reopening during COVID-19

Employee self-service tools

As mentioned above, the Return to Work system includes employee self-service tools that allow them to check in to work remotely and self-screen before entering facilities.

When an employee signs in and opens the Return to the Workplace app, they can get a day pass, look up facility status or answer an employee sentiment question. 

Reopening during COVID-19

Who is a good fit for the Return to Workplace solution?

The Return to the Workplace solution is a good fit for any organization with employees who need to be in the office. The system has ready applicability for manufacturers, nonprofits and professional service firms.

The Return to the Workplace solution is free for users already licensed on the Microsoft Power Apps platform. If you’re not already a Power Apps user, Wipfli can get you set up.

Wipfli is offering quick-launch packages to get your organization started with the Return to Work system. We can assist with configuring out-of-the box features, data migration and facility manager training. Enhanced support packages are available for companies that want a wholly customized return to work solution.

Contact us for Return to the Workplace launch packages and consultation.

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Author(s)

Andrew J. Potasek
Senior Manager
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