How Independer uses Ciao for more than desk booking alone
Independer was founded in 1999 with a clear goal; to make the Dutch financial world more transparent and fair. They grew into the most appreciated fixed costs platform of all Dutch households with the best and broadest fixed costs offer. They compare insurance, energy and mortgages providers.
Based in the Netherlands, Independer provides Dutch citizens with the confidence and the tools to make the right financial choices themselves. Their aim is to take away that little voice in their customers that says "have I got it all sorted out?” and even to prevent it from happening! Independer has a unique company culture that believes that happy employees will contribute to happy customers. This is embedded in the culture and they even have Marie-Louise Verbeek as the “Director Happy Customer and Happy Colleague”. Independer's organizational goals revolve a lot around happiness at work.
Employee experience therefore is one of their drivers and that is why they listen so closely to the needs of their staff. One of these was to embrace a hybrid work model. Independer soon realized that a desk booking tool had to be used to ensure that everything ran smoothly for their 250 employees. This tool had to meet a number of strict requirements. Ciao turned out to be the perfect match! Marie-Louise will walk us through their experience switching to a hybrid workplace.
For Independer, it was essential that a desk booking tool would meet hard requirements. These included being secure, providing a space for social connections, being able to link to AFAS and much more. Ciao's app was the perfect match!
Matching hard office requirements
During the work-from-home period, the employees were eager to return to the office. They missed being together with colleagues. Getting their staff back to the office was therefore not difficult for Independer. Yet, they also learned the advantages of working from home and their staff expressed their wish not to come back fully to the office. This is why a hybrid work model came as the perfect solution to allow colleagues to come into the office at least 50% of the time and have at least one team day in the office every week.
For Independer, it was essential to use a desk booking software to make their new flex office a success. This tool had to meet several hard requirements, such as being able to integrate it with AFAS, an automation tool, as well as knowing when and where a colleague was going to sit in the office. In addition, they wanted to make sure to find a desk booking software that would be secure, especially in terms of privacy. And the tool had to contribute to the social connection between colleagues. Independer found Ciao’s flex office software to be the best fit for their needs.
The integration of Ciao’s desk booking tool went very smoothly. They were afraid it was going to be a complicated puzzle to get all teams to sit where they want on the team day. It turned out to be easy to arrange! Especially with the Ciao app, which gives you a clear overview of the office occupancy.
One drawback to hybrid working is the calculation of travel allowance. Without a clear overview, the HR team does not know who was in the office when. That's why Independer was looking for a tool that could make this clear in an overview. Ciao’s app offers a “check-in” feature to allow employees to check in once they are at the office. This is linked, among other things, to calculating travel expenses at the end of the month. This saves the HR department of Independer a lot of time.
At the end of the month, the HR team can view a report showing the attendance of all employees in the office that month. This makes it easy to calculate the monthly travel allowance. From October on, Independer will take advantage of the integration between Ciao and their payroll system AFAS, so the travel allowance will be calculated automatically.
More than just booking desks
Besides using the Ciao app to book a desk and to calculate travel expenses, Independer also uses Ciao for a number of other things such as security reasons. Once an evacuation is required, the company emergency response team (BHV) can see how many people are in the office. In addition, the software is also linked to facilities. In the app the office manager can look at the list of desk reservations per day to forecast how much lunch to prepare. Independer has a cafeteria in the office where all employees can have lunch together. Planning accordingly how much lunch to prepare is essential to ensure there is enough food for everybody or that they don’t prepare too much and therefore waste food.
However, the most important function of the desk booking tool remains being able to see who is at the office and when. Marie-Louise gives us a beautiful example of this. "The other day I was sitting with a colleague who wanted to know if one of his team members was in the office that day. I assumed he would call that person, but instead he pulled out his phone and opened the Ciao app to see if the colleague was indeed in the office that day and where he was sitting that day, to be able to walk to that colleague. I thought that was great!"
A new freshly designed office
Besides using a desk booking tool, Independer also redesigned their office to make it a meeting place and focus on collaboration. This means having more team and brainstorm rooms and larger consultation areas. They also have train compartments so you can quickly discuss matters one on one or sit down for a call without distractions. In addition, all Independers systems have been replaced by those that integrate with MS Teams. This way you can always hold a hybrid meeting if necessary.
What’s next for Independer?
Independer has their hybrid work policy and employee experience very well in place. Not for nothing that they won the Great Place to Work award! Yet they continue to develop themselves to achieve even greater success! Their employees autonomy and flexibility is very important to Independer and they strive to always meet the needs of their employees. Therefore, the management is looking to expand the hybrid work policy. For example, through internet and home working allowance, the possibility to take indefinite leave or to go on work action for a while.
Independer is very satisfied with the new working model they have put in place as well as Ciao’s desk booking tool which helped them achieve this. It has had a very positive impact on the company and they also see this in internal results. Hybrid work is definitely here to stay. Ciao is very proud to help Independer make hybrid work work! So are they. “Independer finds Ciao very flexible, fast and they truly listen to our wishes and needs. Most importantly; the Ciao team quickly converted those needs into functionalities”, says Marie-Louise. According to Independer, there are no further improvement points to be made to our desk booking tool but that won't stop us from developing ourselves and coming up with something new anyway.
We use Ciao's flex office software for countless things, from being able to see who is in the office, planning lunch quantities, for travel expenses and even for in-house emergency response.