CIO / CTO with Microsoft help your Workplace return to work in Covid-19

Updated: Jul 24, 2020

Here is a picture of your workplace tomorrow with three different audiences:

However there are also three different types of workplace user that you need to consider.

I'm the CTO how can I help manage a health and safety and facilities task?

You may well ask?

This blog attempts to spell out three / four easy steps with results that will make your workplace safe and productive.

Now the challenge a number will have Office 365, with Exchange managing the resources which is fine however, your Covid-19 workplace challenge requires an enhanced toolkit with a different talent set.


Because Office 365 and Exchange cannot handle any of these tasks listed below.

Here's the guide to enhancing Exchange without changing workflows and getting everyone back to work:

Step 1 - Source a Meeting Room and Desk booking system that has a synchronised interface with Exchange.


This keeps the users in outlook with an add-in to book resources like meeting rooms or desks, and one version of the true availability of Room and Desk inventory.

So what do you get when you add this resource?

  • Desktop and smart device booking of both room and desk resources, that is simple.

  • Data on who sat in which desk when, for traceability, should someone become infected.

  • Data on which visitors came to meet which meeting host in which room, again traceability.

  • However, pick the right system and you secure a APi that can send host and guest data to a visitor management system.

  • Your the CTO / CIO so a supplier that's cloud based, hosted on Azure, and a Microsoft Gold Partner would be ideal.

  • Security would be a key consideration so at least ISO27001:2013 certification is a minimum requirement.

  • Reporting feeds to advise cleaners what to clean is another must, either a standard report or a data feed into a Covid-19 Pandemic reporting system.

  • The ability to stop people hogging meeting rooms resources by releasing no shows, is another cool win, generally adding 37% room availability, with no extra Real Estate or fit out cost.

  • There are more gains from managing vendors, catering and car parking, however the main concerns are above.

Step 2 - Source a first class visitor management system


  • This will send customised invites to your visitors that make it easy to find the building.

  • It will have an express check-in piece of functionality via a barcode that means your reception area is not cluttered.

  • Apart from wowing the visitor the key here is your visitor data and who they visited, is now recoverable for tracking purposes.

  • However, there is more, the barcode once enabled, can act as a second express access pass through your access barriers. Decluttering reception whilst maintaining security.

  • A scan of the barcode at check-in notifies the host by SMS and Email, so no receptionist madly phoning everywhere.

  • The key is to source a visitor management system with integration into your room and desk booking solution, so that Outlook bookings populate visitor data to the Room and desk booking system and that notifies the visor management system.

For those that want to take the visitor experience to another level the premium offering in this space that allows you to cut and de-risk reception staff is VPOD's Vgreet.

Step 3 - Source a reporting system that gives you complete visibility of all three workers in assigned, meeting room and hot desk as well as visitor communities.

The benefits are instant, visibility of your workplace and whether its being used as intended.

  • We have covered the benefits in other blogs, however the tool can be customised for different data views for different workplace personas.

  • Security can have one view

  • Facilities another

  • Human resources another

  • Corporate Real Estate another

So as CIO/CTO you deliver a happy set of stakeholders and keep the finance director happy too as:

  • He saves on cleaning costs , cleaning only what's being occupied

  • He saves on reception staff with a slick visitor management system

  • He saves on real estate and fit out cost because the workplace does not allow up to 37% of the meeting rooms to be occupied with bookings that no-show.

More importantly the CEO has some "relief" he can get his business back to work, in the middle of a pandemic, without any concerns around health and safety, corporate risk, duty of care and everything that in litigious societies he may get held accountable for!

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