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My ask:

Is there any existing solution, or maybe a clever way of using Microsoft Office 365 to announce your intention to attend at a certain date?

Components / requirements:

  • Calendar, covering future dates (at least 2 weeks forward)
  • Announcement:
    • Identifiable - person name
    • Date (or optionally time frame)
    • Comment - Allowing a place to indicate specific location (meeting room?)
    • Visible to everyone (within the group/company)
  • Searchable by:
    • Date - listing people who are planning on attending
    • Name - list the dates a person is planning on attending

The task of doing this is repetitive, similar to shift planning, but non-binding like that.

Intended use case

Like for many others (I assume), COVID-19 pandemic at first shut down our offices, and everyone were forced to work remotely.

Since then, most of our office locations around the world have opened, but attendance is optional, and in some locations open-space spots are mandated to wear masks.

The mixture of knowing it's going to be uncomfortable for most + physical presence isn't mandatory, wanting to come in is usually tied to knowing colleagues of interest are planning on coming in as well.

A way to invite people to publicly announce: "I'm planning on being in the office on Wed" (in a non binding way) could help increase presence in the office for some, and make visiting the office much more fun/palatable.

Already existing software / groupware

We already use Microsoft Office 365, with Teams and SharePoint. We also have Zoom.

Finding a solution utilizing these platforms (while still making it easy to use) will be a huge plus, especially with persuading others to use it.

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    Wow! 2 downvotes in the last 7 days, for a question asked over 2 years ago. At least provide some explanation. What did I do wrong?
    – Lockszmith
    Commented Nov 27, 2023 at 14:03
  • BTW, as an update: the company I work for, have found a solution, in the form of a paid platform called OfficeSpace, it provides seating maps and seating reservation for hybrid/hot-seat workers, at least for the hot-seats, it has a feature of announcing. Not as refined as the requirements I put, but close enough. It 'sort of works' because it is tied to the seat reservation process, which is something the employee wants to do.
    – Lockszmith
    Commented Nov 27, 2023 at 14:06
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    Followed your recommendation, posted the update as an answer. Don't worry, I'll still come here, just wasn't expecting a downvote without detials. Thanks for the context.
    – Lockszmith
    Commented Nov 27, 2023 at 19:33

2 Answers 2

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+50

Here's what I would do:

  1. Create a Microsoft List called Upcoming Attendance. Fields would be user (linked to AD), date, office location (dropdown), and comments.
  2. Somewhere in Teams and/or Sharepoint add a link to the form to add items to that List. Or you can create a Microsoft Form that posts to that list, it's just more complicated.
  3. Create an Automation flow that posts to a Teams channel when items are added to Upcoming Attendance. Something friendly like "Join [user] in the [location] office on [date]! [comments]". If you have a Teams team/channel per office location you could send the posts to just those channels.

The nice thing about Lists is you can add tabs to Teams and Sharepoint that everyone can see and easily search.

Another option might be able to create a Form and connect it with an Automation flow to post to a shared calendar. I've never had any luck automating anything with calendars, but there might be a way.

This is a really great question. In fact I might borrow this idea for my own office!

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Update after a couple of years:

The company I work for, have found a solution outside of Office 365, in the form of a paid platform called OfficeSpace.

Unfortunatly I didn't find it integrated into Teams.

It provides seating maps and seating reservation for hybrid/hot-seat workers, at least for the hot-seats, it has a feature of announcing. Not as refined as the requirements I put, but close enough.

It 'sort of works' because it is tied to the seat reservation process, which is something the employee wants to do.

The process withing OfficeSpace:

  • You pick the spot you want,
  • Pick the time frame (can be multiple days)
  • The system has an optional setting for requesting approval (let's say from the office manager), but it can also auto approve (which is what we do).

On the query side, you can check who reserved a desk and get a list of who's expected to arrive.

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