The Business Problem
Being able to pivot quickly when change arises is often fundamental to the ongoing success of a business. When Urban Edge needed a way for their employees and guests to return to the office under the “new normal”, instead of purchasing a new system which would involve additional costs, installation, setup and inevitable security questions, they were able to quickly turn to what they had and with the help of Open Box, develop a low-code solution to meet requirements.
Urban Edge needed the ability to return to work under stringent conditions. The COVID-19 Office Entry solution was created using elements of the Microsoft Power Platform, and resulted in a number of benefits to the business.
Challenge: The COVID-19 health risk of an individual needed to be assessed prior to the individual entering an office building. Unnecessary surface touching needed to be avoided
Solution: Personal mobile devices used by individuals to access an online form, respond to health queries, and submit their responses. When entering the office, tablet used to scan QR codes from a distance.
Tools Used: Microsoft Forms
Impact: Through minimal surface touching, the risk in contracting COVID-19 is reduced, helping to maintain a healthy workforce and society.
Challenge: Guidance needed to be provided to individuals, based on the COVID-19 health risk queries to which they responded.
Solution: Individuals receive an immediate message when submitting their responses to COVID-19 health queries. Message contains a calculated “result”, confirming their entry to the office with an accompanying QR code, or advising that they do not enter.
Tools Used: Power Automate
Impact: Individuals can quickly establish whether office entry is permitted or not from their homes, saving unnecessary time wasted in transit. Human Resources can spend more time on other personnel tasks instead of policing or manually providing feedback to individuals.
Challenge: People entering office buildings needed to be registered for possible contact tracing at a later stage
Solution: A tablet at the office entrance is used to scan the QR codes provided to individuals who are considered safe to enter the office building. When scanned, the individual is recorded as having entered.
Tools Used: Azure Functions, Power Apps
Impact: Individuals with access to reports can view who entered a building on a given day and can contact other individuals who entered if the person tests positive, reducing manual effort and promoting health and safety.
Ease of Use
Challenge: The additional tasks required of people needed to be flexible and seamless for them to perform.
Solution: Simple COVID-19 queries accessible to any valid user with an internet connection. Responses can be submitted, and results received while in transit.
Tools Used: Power Automate, Microsoft Forms
Impact: Individuals can submit responses quickly & easily.
Reminders and Notifications
Challenge This was a new, administrative task in people’s busy lives and there needed to be an easy way of reminding them about it. Human Resources also needed to be notified of in certain cases.
Solution: Automatic reminder notifications sent to employees who were likely to come to the office and who had not yet responded by a certain time. Alerts sent to Human Resources.
Tools Used: Power Automate
Impact: Individuals are more responsive to administrative tasks. Human Resources can take quick action in high-risk COVID-19 cases to further prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Metrics and Reporting
Challenge: Metrics and office entry records were required to understand the health status of each building.
Solution: Power BI reports used to report on various metrics such as overall company health, location status and employee responsiveness.
Tools Used: Power BI
Impact: Instead of manually compiling reports, fast, dynamic, and up-to-date reports are always available.