Best Practices for Using EMS Room Scheduling Software to Manage Your COVID-19 Response
In listening to our EMS customer base, we have compiled some of the most effective best practices our customers have shared that we hope can help you react, adapt and strategize for your organization.
Considering our customers:
- How prepared did you feel when you made the call to significantly shift operations away from business-as-usual?
- Were the right tools in place?
- Did you make the call to protect the health and safety of your people knowing you still had to figure out what the next step would be?
When Accruent made the decision to move to work-from-home operations, we were focused on a few key things:
- First, ensuring the safety and well-being of our employees and their families.
- Second, making sure our teams were set up to continue delivering high-quality support to our customer base.
- Third, staying connected with our customer base and listening to their challenges so that we could be inspired by their adaptability and unique approaches to solving the challenge at hand.
Using EMS to track equipment and resources when users are not in the office to book spaces.
Using EMS to manage both rooms and resources, like AV equipment, meeting tools, etc., is commonplace. Less common, however, is managing resources without associating them with a booked physical space.
To adapt, consider creating a new ‘Everyday User Process Template’ and configuring the mode to ‘Service Only Request’.
This process template will allow your users to request technical resources – things like spare monitors, web cams or headsets for their home office – without having to associate those requests with physical space bookings, giving you complete control and visibility of your resources while easily supporting your users’ needs.
Learn more about creating process templates and setting the ‘Service Only Request’ mode.
Reschedule events, even large ones, without starting from scratch.
If you are an event coordinator, you have likely been canceling or rescheduling a number of in-person events. The hope is that many of these events will still happen, just at a later date.
You can reduce the effort needed to recreate these events in the future by duplicating existing events in their entirety, regardless of the event size.
As a comprehensive event management software platform, EMS has a built-in ‘Booking Move Wizard’ to copy some or all event details, including building(s), room(s), event type, attachments and so on, into a new booking. Our customers have used this tool to reschedule or repeat events of all sizes, even as large as university commencement ceremonies, saving a significant amount of work that would otherwise be required to set or recreate all the necessary details.
When you do have to cancel events, be sure to flag them with a unique cancellation reason so you can measure impact of this global event on business-as-usual after the fact. You can also change the status for many events at once using the ‘Change Status Wizard’.
Prevent people from booking spaces.
If you have moved to a remote workforce or student body, there are a few steps you can take to prevent errant bookings during office closures and clearly communicating this limitation when they access EMS through the Web App.
First, consider making your everyday user process templates inactive during office closures to prevent users from even attempting to book spaces they should not be accessing. Doing so will remove the template from their EMS web application home screen and remove the possibility of disallowed bookings that could create uncertainty around how your spaces are being used.
Simply disabling templates for your access points means they can quickly be re-activated when your user base is able to return to the office and begin using space again without impacting your administrative backend or reporting.
Second, your EMS Web Administrator may also consider updating your EMS web application Site Home with a helpful and informative message about the current office operating policies, pertinent dates, instructions, acknowledgement of missing (or newly created) process templates, etc.
Ensure effective cleaning and sanitization of your office or campus.
Many Accruent customers have been deemed “critical” and many university institutions are ultimately unable to move to an exclusively remote campus population. If your facilities need to remain operational to continue supporting your team, you may be looking for ways to increase cleaning and sanitization efforts across shared spaces to ensure everyone’s safety and well-being.
Even those whose offices are partially or completely closed will likely be looking for more deliberate cleaning practices in preparation for the future.
One way to stay on top of what spaces need attention and when involves using the built-in utilization reporting that EMS offers. You can manually or automatically run reports to understand which spaces were used each day and prioritize those that were more heavily trafficked for cleaning. You also reduce potential exposure from overlooking a space that was used that day.
Additionally, you can quickly set up queries to provide detailed data on how and when spaces have been utilized through the workday. These reports can be automated to send periodically or even in real time as spaces are booked and used.
Reports that we have seen customers use include:
- Hourly or daily reports on meeting rooms that have been used.
- A digest of self-serve spaces and who booked them.
- A report of hoteling workstations that will turn over to a new employee.
- Bookings that have been abandoned and might no longer require cleaning.
Many EMS customers have already gone a step beyond, using these reports to ensure awareness of work that needs to be done and then using our manage services functionality, which enables them to not only collect the data on spaces that require attention, but automatically send detailed service orders to the custodial provider. They can then track cleaning progress and manage the invoicing. Our professional services team can discuss with you what integration with a custodial service provider would look like to support this level of workflow automation.
Learn more about queries, built-in reports & automated reporting in EMS room reservation software, or about manage services functionality & contact professional services to better understand how services can integrate directly into EMS.
Ensure administrators can access the EMS desktop client when working remotely.
Many organizations find themselves needing to maintain some level of operations, especially after moving to a remote workforce. If your teams are not normally equipped with laptop computers, they may be using personal computers to keep themselves connected from home. Even if they can be issued a company computer, ensuring version compatibility between their equipment and the EMS database takes IT coordination that can require time and planning.
Depending on your EMS version and configuration, the best short-term answer may be that you work closely with your IT department to distribute the necessary EMS software for installation and ensure they have network access to your on-premise systems that are hosting your installation of EMS.
Many customers running EMS Server Version 44 or newer have adopted EMS Web Deploy to greatly simplify version control across a set of users. The Web Deploy application runs on your web server so that employees can access it from a web browser on their local computer, allowing them download and install the current, compatible EMS Desktop Client for Windows.
Another option to consider in the future is migrating to a cloud-hosted installation of EMS with EMS Cloud Services. This option provides direct access to the latest EMS releases in a cloud deployment managed by Accruent’s cloud operations team. In addition to alleviating the IT support burden, a cloud-hosted EMS installation can be accessed from anywhere, simplifying download and installation of the correct desktop software.
We are here to help!
We hope you are finding success in adapting to and navigating this new and challenging state of operations that continues to impact so many of us, and that these tips prove useful to you now or in the future.
If you have any questions about the strategies or resources we have discussed in this blog, please do not hesitate to reach out to Accruent support, professional services or contact your Account Executive.
We are here to help however we can.