Powering Microsoft Teams Bot Using Dialogflow

Posted on March 9, 2021 by wis_wp

WorkinSync is an emerging leader in Flexible workspace management. Given our “Employee First” approach of building products, we wanted to make features such as desk booking available to employees in a smooth workflow, regardless of their location.

Bonus Tip: 5 Features for Hybrid Workplace Tools 

Microsoft Teams emerged as the central communication tool for remote and hybrid teams for many enterprise clients. So we worked hard on developing a top-quality WorkinSync app for Teams.

A Teams bot is one of the key capabilities we want to leverage to give a Teams user a unique experience. We didn’t want to restrict ourselves to a simple command-based menu for our bot since users expect a basic natural language understanding from ‘bots.’ 

The default option to power the NLU layer was to go with Microsoft LUIS. However, we had already done the hard work of training a bot for our Google Assistant App. It would make more sense to reuse the same agent for the Microsoft Teams App as we wouldn’t have to create, train, test, and maintain our conversation flows on two different platforms. 

This is how the tech team at MoveinSync went about building the bot. 

[Disclaimer: This is just a preview to illustrate the plumbing and not the actual application code]

The backend service for our Teams App is written entirely in java. The bot exposed to Microsoft Teams is created using the Azure bot framework. We are using the Bot Framework SDK for Java from Microsoft.

Let’s take an example of a user sending a command such as “Book a seat for me for 9 am tomorrow”. Once the command lands on our backend, we use the Google “Dialogflow client library” for intent detection, as shown below.

In turn, the intent detection also calls our fulfillment webhook (originally written for the Google Assistant app). So the actual call for ‘Seat booking’ to the internal booking service happens via the Dialogflow fulfillment endpoint. 

This is how the final interaction looks like for the end-user.

We can also pass additional metadata to the Dialogflow intent detection API, such as the logged-in user’s context ( shown in the example above), or indicate that the request is from ‘Teams backend’ if separate handling is required. 

Another popular employee query to our Teams bot is “Where is John doe sitting?”, using the ‘@’ to mention the user. 

In this case, we find out the users mentioned before we pass the command to Dialogflow. We use a ‘Microsoft Graphs’ API call to find more details about the user and map the user to the corresponding WorkInSync internal user.

Posted under: Tech

73% of CEOs are Prioritizing Flexible Work Models…Are You?

Posted on December 3, 2020 by wis_wp

Revealed by a survey conducted by Mint-Bain India, the number shows that more leaders are wanting to opt for flexible work models. Or commonly known as the hybrid workplace model

The past few years have witnessed a growth in the concept of remote working. As pandemic related lockdowns ensued, organizations adopted this model. Whether remote working will become the norm moving forward is anybody’s guess. A Salesforce survey revealed that 45% of the 3500 respondents wanted to return to the office. A BCG report quoted that 37% of companies are expecting 25% of their employees to work in a hybrid model

Bonus Read: Making a Transition to a Hybrid Workplace 

With the ability to move seamlessly between onsite and remote work, the hybrid / flexi workplace model has been gaining a lot of traction recently. 

However, creating and managing a hybrid workplace model requires significant planning and coordination across multiple teams and employees. Some of the major challenges include: 

Technology will play a central role in enabling hybrid workplaces. Workplace digitization will bring all the concerned stakeholders onto a common platform and ensure seamless planning and coordination at a large scale. A digital workplace platform will provide CXOs with the required visibility on their workforce operations and enable better coordination. 

Recommended Reading: Redefining workspaces: A Changing Concept 

 

A digitized hybrid workplace will not only improve employee productivity but will also lead to savings in real-estate costs including rent, operations & maintenance costs, etc. It will also increase organizational flexibility and make it resilient to future disruptions.

This is where WorkInSync comes to play. A simple SaaS product that enables organizations to implement a digitized hybrid workplace. “One app to manage all your workplace needs”, WorkInSync has been adopted by some of the leading names in BFSI, infrastructure, banking, and media industries. 

Be it our workspace management solution or contactless access management offering, WorkInSync enables a  hybrid workplace model, seamlessly

You don’t just have to take our word for it. Opt for a free demo today and witness these workplaces transforming features yourself. 

To stay on top of the hybrid workplace trends, follow our social media channels, and subscribe to our blog. 

Posted under: Hybrid Workplace, Team Management

5 Tips for Successful Team Task Management in a Hybrid Model

Posted on November 19, 2020 by wis_wp

The hybrid workplace model is the way forward. In a survey conducted by Salesforce, 33% of millennials and 43% of GenZ want to split their work time between home and office. Due to the pandemic, there are thousands of team leaders and managers across the globe who now have to oversee distributed teams. This can be difficult, especially as most of us didn’t have the time to prepare. If you are one of them, this list of team task management tips will help set you up and drive your team to success. 

Conduct face-to-face video meetings regularly. Phone conversations and messages can only go so far. Your team needs to see you and you need to see your team. Leverage apps like Zoom and Google Meet to achieve the same. Daily check-ins should be a part of your team task management. And the purpose should be simple- set the agenda and provide feedback your team needs to succeed. 

 

The chart above indicates that communication and the feeling of isolation are the biggest challenges for remote workers. Use free communication tools like Slack, Microsoft Team, and WorkInSync to keep your team connected. Conduct regular one-on-one sessions to comprehend their mental state. Remember, it is easy to communicate with the employees visiting the office. But for those working from home, constant communication is the key to managing them.

If you suddenly have a group of people working remotely, you need to ensure that they have access to the right technology. This may include laptops, software, and even a high-speed internet connection. It’s incorrect to assume that everyone has access to a proper home workstation. As a manager, it is your responsibility to help them build one. 

You need to understand, under the current circumstances, your team probably has a lot going on. This doesn’t excuse not working, but it is a reason to reconsider what productivity really means. Punching a clock for eight hours is gone. Regular work hours are also not viable for many. Trust your team and give the freedom and flexibility to get work done on a schedule that allows them to be productive. Be flexible with your team task management and witness it prosper in the long-run. 

It’s almost impossible to manage every aspect of a hybrid team. For what’s worth, you cannot micromanage a team that is distributed across various locations. Instead of focusing on the number of login hours, focus on the outcome. Define the scope, deliverables, and deadlines of each task your team is working on. This will help you keep your sanity while also increasing your team’s performance. 

To Add It Up 

The uncertainties provided by COVID-19 have changed the way we work. While developing new policies to accommodate a seamless hybrid workplace model will take some time,  you need to start making changes right now to ensure proper team task management

WorkInSync’s Team Planner is one of the best team management software available. From getting visibility on your team’s well-being to getting clarity on schedules, from preferred work location to the resources required, the team management app amalgamates it all. 

Keeping the above-mentioned tips in mind and by leveraging the Team Planner module, you can drive your team to success. To get a free demo, write to us at hello@workinsync.io  

Follow our social media channels to stay updated on the latest developments of the hybrid workplace model. 

Posted under: Hybrid Workplace, Team Management

Hybrid Workplace Model: A Transition to New Normal of Work

Posted on by wis_wp

Almost overnight, COVID-19 forced millions of employees from across the globe to re-think their approach to work. Though work from home has become the new norm, it is not a long-term solution. 59% of organizations are already returning to work as our collective efforts flatten the curve. Research conducted by recruitment experts at Hays reveals that almost 55% of employers predict transition to a hybrid era within the next six months. Salesforce revealed in a report that 33% of millennials and 43% of GenZ are ready to split their work between home and office. This split of workforces thus acts as a catalyst to accelerate a hybrid workplace model, a structure where some employees work from home and some from the office. 

But what is the hybrid workplace model? How to establish one for your company? Let’s delve deeper into the topic and know more about it. 

Bonus Tip: 5 RTO Features in a Hybrid Workplace Tool 

What is Hybrid Workplace?

To put it simply, a hybrid workplace is a structure that balances employees working both remotely and from the office. It is an amalgamation of physical and virtual offices and empowers employees to work from anywhere. 

In this model, employees can choose to work, however, and from wherever they are most productive. And with 85% of organizations believing in increased productivity as a result of this setting, the hybrid workplace is the future. 

What to Expect from a Hybrid Workplace Model? 

Recommended Read: 5 Trends of Hybrid Workplaces in 2021 

How to Create a Hybrid Workplace? 

So, now that we have a basic understanding of what is a hybrid workplace model and what to expect from it, let us understand how can we adapt our existing organizations to the hybrid structure. 

With the introduction of hybrid working practices, flexibility on location, log-in hours, and days have been achieved. Apart from these aspects, we should review and revise our policies, be it for those coming to the office or working from home

For those going to the office, strict guidelines on maintaining social distancing or using “flexi desking” can be a good start. This will let employees book desks when they need it while keeping it open for others when not in use. 

As for the remote workers, helping them set-up functional and enterprise-grade workstations at home will ensure increased productivity

 

As a hybrid workplace promotes a balance of physical and virtual, with greater emphasis on the latter, it is essential to encourage more collaborations.

With dispersed teams, virtual collaboration can not only create the opportunity to include everyone in the organization but also connect them better. Most remote workers feel left out and this can ultimately hamper their work. Employees who feel that their voices are being heard are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to perform their best at work. 

Harness audio and video calls to enable more social interaction amongst colleagues. Create virtual “water cooler” moments to keep them motivated. By fostering your employees to collaborate more, you can seamlessly integrate the hybrid workplace culture

Also Read: How to Design a Hybrid Workplace 

To Conclude

Employees are becoming more flexible and gaining more freedom in how, when, and where they work. With the hybrid workplace model in place, it is all about creating environments that foster productivity, collaboration, innovation, and safety. 

WorkInSync is designed to foster this change – to help it grow and thrive. Product modules such as the Team Work Planner and Communication Console allow a seamless transition to a hybrid work model. If you are interested in learning more about this product, get in touch with us now at hello@workinsync.io

To stay updated on the latest trends about the hybrid workplace model, follow us on our social media channels. 

Posted under: Hybrid Workplace, Team Management

The World Comes backs to order with a New Normal: Resume your work from the office safely!

Posted on October 20, 2020 by wis_wp

It has been nearly 70 days since India’s COVID lockdown came into effect. It is the 5th phase of the lockdown, or shall we say Unlock 1.0, and the government has eased most of the restrictions and have allowed organizations to resume daily operations. However, planning and managing the return of our employees while keeping their safety in mind can be a challenge.

Ensuring that different health standards are maintained can be a handful to manage. But, it is our responsibility to make sure that our employees are brought back safely. These are some steps you should take to guarantee the safety of your employees:

Maintaining Social Distancing protocols

Ensuring a safe and hygienic commute

Establishing a safe workspace on office premises

It is safe to say that bringing back your employees to the office post the lockdown may seem challenging. But with the right set of tools, it can be both easy and safe. Unless of course, you have the right kind of tools to work with.

MoveInSync has developed a Work-From-Office suite of products. The WFO suite will include a bundle of SaaS products to help you manage your employee’s work-from-office lifecycles and ensure their safety.

What does MoveInSync’s WFO suite offer?

This first-of-its-kind suite of products will help you face every challenge you may face bringing your employees back to the office during these difficult times. Now you can get a bird’s eye view on who can be brought back, manage social distancing in the workspace, ensuring mask compliance efficiently. Here are some of the tools the WFO suite offers:

1. Zone detection: MoveInSync maintains a repository of all the COVID zones in over 20 cities across the country. This repository is updated regularly as per the announcements made by the Government. So, you can simply bulk upload your employee details in the tool and easily segregate them based on the zones they are traveling from. You can avoid the tedious exercise of identifying and preventing employees from traveling from red zones with this feature.

2. Self-declaration: With this feature, employees can provide details such as age, health conditions, exposure to COVID positive individuals, and location to the companies. The relevant teams can hence get a holistic view on each employee and identify those who are safe to come to the office. Making the scheduling of office visits for employees a transparent and easily manageable task.

3. Digi Pass: MoveInSync has developed a DigiPass feature which will include a QR code-based Digital Office Gate pass that can be issued to the employees who are scheduled to come to the office. This will ensure that only the employees scheduled for that day can enter office premises. This Digital Gate pass will also act as an employee attendance register. Thus helping you operate with restricted capacity and stay compliant with government mandates that are in place.

4. Mask detection: The government has made it clear that face masks are essential for safety during these times. With MoveInSync’s App, employees can be asked to provide mask scan compliance during their scheduled WFO days. It works the same ways in the driver’s app for the drivers as well. If anyone is non-compliant an alarm will be triggered in the central dashboard as well as the user’s mobile phones..

5. Office Floor Occupancy monitor: Social distancing is the best way to fight this pandemic. Now that the lockdown is slowly being lifted, it is up to us to ensure that social-distancing is maintained within our office space. With MoveInSync’s web-app, you can now track the floor-wise occupancy rate in each office shift on the same dashboard.

MoveInSync’s WFO suite also brings with it a variety of other features such as a centralised Communication Console, Business Intelligence Dashboard, Meeting room, and Cafeteria booking as well.

Of course, maintaining health-standards are important, but now more than ever being financially thrifty is vital for businesses. Which is why, as part of our Give-Back initiative, MoveinSync is offering the WFO suite for free for the coming 6 months.

Posted under: Solutions