How Colliers manages their flex office with Ciao
Colliers is a listed real estate advisor that stands for the new real estate world. We contribute to a better society by pro-actively taking part in solving real estate issues.
Within Occupier Services, Colliers combine their expertise in the field of housing, workplace concepts, and facility management in a complete real estate solution for the end-user. Hybrid working is currently a significant pillar within their services, in which they advise many clients.
When the coronavirus broke out, they started looking for a way to offer as many people as possible a workplace in the office within the restrictions. At that time, Ciao asked them whether they wanted to help develop a reservation app. That appeared to be a win-win situation, and they gladly accepted the challenge.
“Our colleagues are very positive. This is a great way to ensure that people can return to the office responsibly.”
From booking tickets for concerts to reserving a workspace
Sharmayne: “Activity-based work and working from home was certainly not new to Colliers; however, corona restrictions limited office capacity. Our goal was to accommodate everyone intermittently and meet the desire to work together as a team. This was a significant challenge, but Ciao made it possible. We started with a pilot at our office in Amsterdam. Ciao based their software on an existing ticket reservation system. Booking a ticket for a concert or booking a workspace at the office; that principle is very similar.”
A controlled return to the office
“The pilot was successful immediately,” continues Sharmayne. “We were able to get back to the office in a controlled way, which gave plenty of insight into the functionalities needed for the workplace booking app. The idea was excellent. Yet, many additional functionalities were required. For that reason, Ciao decided to develop a new and dedicated platform: Ciao With our specific knowledge about work environment utilization, we were happy to participate.”
“The basis of the ticketing system was a good start,” says Erik. “But turning it into a solid workplace management system required more. Together with the Ciao team, we went through that process. We learned from each other. In May 2020, we started a pilot with the ticket reservation system, and in early July, we started using the first version of the Ciao app. Our colleagues are very positive. This is obviously a great way to facilitate people going back to the office responsibly. It takes a little while to get used to having to reserve a workplace, but that does not take long. If you manage this well as a company, soon, people will not know any better; I am going to the office, so I have to reserve a workplace.''
Piece of cake
Sharmayne is also enthusiastic: "The app is very easy to use, and it is all self-explanatory. What is also very handy is that the app is linked to Microsoft Azure Active Directory. This enables you to log in once only, and everything is set. It immediately links up with the company’s standard on-boarding and off-boarding process, and you do not have to arrange anything separately. Practical and very secure."
"The basis is solid as a rock, and gradually more functionalities were added," Erik adds. "For example, you can check who is in the office. Someone’s location is currently still based on a list, but that is visible via an interactive floor plan as of this summer. It would be nice if the reserved places were automatically arranged so that people from a specific team can sit close to each other. The more flexibility, the better. Since working together is the number one reason to come to the office, new features that promote cooperation will be added soon. Ciao is also easy to manage. Zones, workstations, rosters, and rights are easy to set up and adjust."
The urgency of a workplace management platform
Sharmayne: "Looking into the future, we absolutely believe that hybrid working is here to stay. The function of the office is changing. It is increasingly becoming a meeting place, a place to work together. If you want to work concentratedly or make many conference calls, the home office is ideal. When that is not the case, the office will remain a nice operating base. Ciao helps to spread the occupancy. This also partly alleviates another social problem, namely, traffic jams and the pressure on public transport. Companies will start allowing their employees to come to the office, say, two days a week. A workplace management platform such as Ciao is essential to avoid peaks. Of course, you also need a clear policy, but to secure that policy, you can use the app."
On to a future-proof office environment
"The cooperation with the team behind Ciao is very pleasant," Erik concludes. "That has grown very organically, and I think our relationship is excellent. The technical knowledge that the Ciao team brings is complemented with our knowledge of hybrid working. Together with the workplace concepts knowledge, our combined expertise resulted in an enormously valuable new platform. We can recommend the Ciao app to anyone who aspires to a modern, future-proof office environment."
“The app is very easy to use, and it is all self-explanatory."