Non Tech

COVID19 – Back to Office App

During the last three weeks I had the chance to see an idea become reality in a super short time.

When I started in my current team, my colleagues were just starting to think about scenarios that could be useful for our customers in our new reality and that could show the power of Microsoft 365 platform. No additional licenses, no upselling, just how to leverage Microsoft platform for a real urgent need.

Europe was facing the peak of the COVID-19 crisis, but seeing light. Customers started to think on how they could perform soft openings and welcome employees back to their offices in a responsible way.

The new reality would require reduction in occupancy, social distancing, extra protection and processes to ensure controlled access to buildings and spaces dedicated to work.

The first version of the Back to Office App is now ready! Three weeks from an idea to a functional app. Built in Power Apps, tight integration with Microsoft Teams and available free of charge for any Office 365 customer (no additional licenses required).

As economies and businesses reopen, organizations need a way to gradually open their office facilities for their workers while keeping everyone safe. Facilities teams are working to restructure building layouts, and seating arrangements to maintain social distancing norms and control building occupancy thresholds. They need a way to manage, track and report employee onsite presence.

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Solution Overview

  • Suite of three Apps – Building Access user app for employees to request access, Building Admin companion app to manage building availability, occupancy thresholds & eligibility criteria and Building Security app to verify onsite access and check in users.
  • Released as production ready ‘open source’ App template on GitHub that can be configured and adapted by organizations based on their business needs.
  • Built using Power Apps, Power Automate, SharePoint and Power BI with deep integration with Teams for collaboration.
  • Included Power BI Dashboard provides executives and facility managers insights need to manage facility readiness with current and projected occupancy rates.
  • Leverages seeded Power Platform licenses in Office 365 for the three Power Apps.
  • Available in 44 different languages from day 1.


Four different personas/profiles interact in a collaborative process to ensure safe return to office.

Executives & Facilities Managers

Employee (Requestor)

Manager (Approver)

Security Team

  • Define availability and occupancy threshold for each building.
  • Define key eligibility criteria (health related questions) for onsite access
  • Define criteria for auto approval vs manager approval
  • Ensure only approved workers are allowed onsite
  • Track workers onsite at any location worldwide and projected turnouts
  • Publish important instructions for onsite access
  • Leverage insight for Planning
  • Request onsite building access for one or more days (in daily blocks)
  • Check on submitted requests and track approvals and rejection.
  • Withdraw requests as plans change
  • Ability to check-in and check-out
  • Pull up the approval QR Code for security check in (for restricted entry)
  • Check on latest company news
  • Approve onsite access for direct reports once the auto approval thresholds are met
  • Ability to bulk approve/reject requests
  • Track team members that will be onsite at an office location
  • Confirm worker is approved for entry prior to allowing access to premises
  • Check in workers by scanning a QR code or by pulling up information using key employee data
  • Provide emergency approvals for onsite access

The package is now available on GitHub. Talk to your Customer Success Manager, engage our partner ecosystem, install the tool, customize if required. You’re free to use it to support a safe return to Office.

Reach out if you have any questions or need help to understand the tool, requirements, etc.


Disclaimer – The information contained in this blog post doesn’t represent the official Microsoft guidance or best practices. It is just the view of the author on current alternatives, implementations and workarounds for common issues and/or business needs. Please refer to official Microsoft documentation and evaluate carefully any steps, code or procedures documented herein. The author doesn’t offer any warranty. Use this information at your own risk.

First blog post in a while…

Hello, writing this as I just figured out my old blog on was moved into a static place and I cannot post there anymore. I know it is my fault… during my days in Microsoft Services I decided that I would be active with the tech community and share more… then life forced me to move to the sales side of the force and I ended up losing the contact with the community.

Well… those days are gone. I’m now part of the technical customer success team in Microsoft (yeah… after 19 years I’m still working for Microsoft) and I’ll return to the technical community, first coming back to the blog world with this thing I’m calling techpeanuts.

Why that name? and why using WordPress instead of the official Microsoft tech community blog platform @

The name is because it is just anything technical that can potentially help my customers to move forward with Microsoft 365 platform adoption. Content here is not related only to Teams, or Yammer, or product X. The idea is to document tips, tricks, code, scripts, etc… whatever that may help YOU to realize the value of your investment in the Microsoft platform.

With respect to the second question. Well, there is no blog there that I may use. As I said, I’ll not post about product X or Z but about anything. Thinking out loud while I write this maybe we should have a customer success blog… but I don’t want to spend time in long review process to publish what I believe can help others…

To finish I have a disclaimer that will go with every single post here. I’m affiliated to Microsoft, but nothing I write here represent a explicit recommendation from the product teams, unless I reference official documentation supporting what I’m presenting. This is important as this will be like a canvas to share experiments and similar things…

Sorry for the English mistakes… as one of my colleagues says, English is my third language.

cheers, -cristiano.