In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies turned to flexible or hybrid workplaces in their return-to-work strategies. This meant drastically re-thinking the office space and how meeting rooms, desks, and workspaces are reserved. New “hotelling” models, where office amenities operate on a reservation basis, have created a need for secure and flexible reservation systems.
Once return to work conversations started, we knew we needed to act fast. Companies were ready to bring their teams back into the office, but they needed to know they could do so safely and effectively. The IBM TRIRIGA Reserve tool (TRIRIGA Reserve) allows coworkers to book spaces directly from their Outlook email. This simple, easily adaptable new program is available as a white-label product that can be tailored to fit brand needs. Users simply log into their IBM TRIRIGA Workplace Services web app, select the type of space and amenities they are looking for, and book instantly.
This product simplified the “return to office” process for our clients, giving them an easy, effective way to ensure all staff had the necessary space and tools to do their job. As well, while many offices were operating at partial capacity due to ongoing pandemic restrictions, the app assured social distancing in the workplace.
As return to work strategies began to roll out, early adopters, including our clients at a large American Financial Institution and Fortune 500 Pharmaceutical Company, were looking for technology solutions to help coordinate incoming staff. With employees coming in on sporadic days, at random and revolving times, they were looking for a way to make sure necessary office space was available for anyone to reserve and work at. As well, each company wanted their platform to adhere to their internal branding and create a familiar, welcoming look for their teams. Tjene was tasked with implementing a seamless reservation app, within IBM TRIRIGA, that would accurately and securely manage office reservations across multiple locations and teams.
We knew technology would be the most effective way to streamline these new workplace models. Because each company was already using IBM TRIRIGA, we began working on a simple but powerful solution that would allow workers to book workstations and conference rooms through Outlook, while still maintaining features from TRIRIGA.
We also wanted to ensure the app was smart enough to notice inefficiencies that may arise. For example, restricting how far in advance a recurring booking can be made or allowing auto-cancellation options for bookings that were going unused. In addition, we wanted an app that could be easily adopted by various teams, in various industries. It was important to us that our app was as user-friendly and easy to use as possible, to ensure the highest possible adoption rate. To allow the entire app to be white-labelled, IBM designed the UI to allow for Custom CSS, where our in-house development team would work with our clients to implement custom UI to the app.
Users can access the IBM TRIRIGA Reserve app through logging into the IBM TRIRIGA Workplace Services web app on their mobile device. From there, they can select the type of space they want to book, the building or location they want to work in, and the timeframe for the booking. Some personalization factors include the number of meeting attendees, room layout, and required amenities (catering, accessible, projector, and so on). Additional features of the app include the ability to book rooms via email, view previous requests, cancel bookings, and create recurring meetings with different duration options.
The TRIRIGA Reserve tool can also be configured to set up auto cancellations for unused reservations. As well, restrictions can be set on how far in advance you can book recurring reservations to ensure availability for those who need them. All of these features can be included in the TRIRIGA Reserve’s Outlook Integration add-on, where users are able to make a reservation through their email.
For companies that were managing multiple offices, our enhanced AI Assistant feature allowed users to search for buildings by ‘nicknames’ rather than being limited to exact addresses or building names. This simple feature went a long way in improving the onboarding experience of the app for employees.
UX developers helped customize the TRIRIGA Reserve app to follow custom branding colours and style (such as button colours, app backgrounds, renaming the app to fit the client’s branding, etc.) Other customized features included check-in processes (such as adding a COVID-safety questionnaire), company-specific questionnaires, and viewing the open status of company buildings.
Since launching, our team has implemented 70,418 square feet of reservable spaces for more than 2,000 users. We plan to add another 600,000 square feet in the coming months.
With this system, our clients were able to streamline their internal reservation processes, helping their employees spend more time at work and less time looking for a space to work. Now, employees feel confident going into the office knowing they have the space and materials needed to do their job. The easy and customizable onboarding process made adoption of this app easy, even among vastly different brands. As the world continues to move towards a post-pandemic future, we’re excited to see what new features we can add to this technology.
Our implementation results within a few months: