Ealing Council serves the residents and businesses of London’s third largest borough, which is located in the heart of west London. Serving over 342,000 residents the council provides dozens of different services, from disposing of abandoned cars to running the Hanwell Zoo.
As employees across all sectors are encouraged to return to work following the Covid-19 lockdown, many desk-based organisations were struggling to plan, manage and track which members of staff were in the office at any given time. As the frequency of cleaning was increased, it suddenly became necessary to record who sat where, and for how long. Social distancing meant that pre-Coronavirus seating plans had to be revised to ensure adequate space between employees. Like many others, Ealing Council needed a system which could track who comes into the office, the day that they came in and where they sat. Along with being able to quickly communication with teams and cleaners on Health & Safety protocols.
Crimson created a template app which enables employees to book workspaces in the office. The desks available for booking were spread out to allow for social distancing and the app tracks who was in the office each day, supporting the Government’s track and trace programme. The app also increases the efficiency of the cleaning procedures, as the cleaning staff are aware of where people sat throughout the day so they can ensure extra thorough cleaning of those areas.
The app was built using graphical user interfaces and configuration, rather than traditional hand-coded computer programming on the Microsoft Cloud Technologies using low code/no-code features. The benefit to the business was that the app was built within the Office 365 toolset Power Apps and only requires users to need an Office 365 login. Users can download Power Apps on their phones or tablets using their Office 365 login and self-mange when they come into the office with the knowledge that they are safe. It is simple, secure, and user-friendly, and includes a visual office plan to streamline the desk booking process and support with the new layout of offices.
Together with the team at Ealing, Crimson were able to demonstrate the app and work to make minor changes needed especially for them, such as corporate colours, names of buildings and desk IDs.
The app was ready within two weeks through great joint working between the Ealing team and Crimson. During that time, guidance had changed and working from home was back to being encouraged. Due to this, Ealing decided against bringing the full workforce back to the office at this point in time, meaning the app has not yet reached its maximum potential for the council. However, the app is ready for use when employees return to the office.
Nigel Prior, Operations Manager, ICT at Ealing Council comments ‘Crimson quickly completed the desk booking app, providing everything they offered and more. The no-code configuration makes the most out of the current technology we’ve got, is something in line with our IT strategy.’