Microsoft’s Return to the Workplace Solution

Enable your workforce to confidently return to on-site work by deploying Microsoft’s Return To The Workplace app. The app allows managers to view location readiness, conduct employee health screenings, and ultimately ensure a safe environment to return to. Return To The Workplace is available in the AppSource, and is deployed as a Dynamics 365 App within your environment.

The App includes four separate solutions, all of which are interconnected through Common Data Services (CDS) and are all essential to use together to make the solution effective. These four solutions include:

  1. Location Readiness dashboard (Power BI)
  2. Workplace Care Management dashboard (Power BI)
  3. Facility Safety Management app (PowerApp)
  4. Employee Return to the Workplace app (PowerApp)

Learn how to use the other sections of the solution in this Return to the Workplace Solution Overview.


The Return To The Workplace app requires two prerequisites:

  1. Global Administrator: Required to install the app and deploy it within an environment.
  2. PowerApps Per-App Plan ($10/Month): Required to have at least 1 per app plan to run this app.
Using the App

The first screen gives users the options to get a day pass, look up the status of a facility, or register a guest for entering a facility. There is also an optional self-assessment to select how safe the employee feels to return to work (Yes, No, Neutral). The selection is saved inside a CDS entity and factored into the app’s pre-configured algorithms. Organizations can modify those algorithms with the PowerApp studio to customize how it behaves and/or handles the user’s inputs.

Day Passes

The Day Pass feature allows users to search for active facilities and select one they want to enter. Users can follow the below steps to book a day pass:

  • Select Get Day Pass.
  • Search for the facility they would like to enter.
  • Select Book A Space.
  • Select Accept to agree to take the Daily Health Check questionnaire which will be given upon arrival at the facility.
  • Select I Agree to confirm that the users’ current health meets the requirements to enter. NOTE: Selecting I Disagree will deny the user from being able to book a space.
  • The day pass is generated.
  • If a user needs to cancel, they can do so by selecting Cancel.

When it comes time to enter the facility, the user must first complete the Daily Health Check to ensure they are healthy enough to enter the facility.

Then, the user must choose which facility they’d like to enter.

They are given a pass for the facility of choice.

Register A Guest

This feature allows users to generate a day pass for guests to enter facilities. To do so, a user should:

  • Select Register A Guest.
  • Fill out the guest info and select Next.
  • Proceed with the same steps as Get Day Pass.

Look Up Status

This function allows users to view the current status of a facility. The status of facilities is pre-configured by ‘Phases’ inside the Facility Safety Management app.

To utilize the Look Up Status feature, follow these steps:

  • Select Look Up Status from the home screen of the app.
  • Search and select the facility in question.
  • View the current Phase.
    • NOTE: If the facility is open and active, the Book A Space button will be enabled.

Safely Get Back To The Workplace

Give your team the ability to control their return to workplace operations with custom safety parameters set through the Microsoft Return to the Workplace app. Employees will have increased confidence in management’s ability to control potential risks and management will feel confident in their ability to control the return to work process and give some responsibility to the employees.

How To Use Microsoft Bookings to Manage Returning to the Workplace Safely

Microsoft Bookings, an app included in Microsoft 365, is a scheduling tool that allows customers to easily book appointments with a company. The app incorporates a web-based calendar that integrates with Outlook, ensuring availability always stays up-to-date. Customers can easily schedule appointments during available time slots with the team member of their choice, cancel and reschedule bookings, and enjoy auto-generated emails to keep all parties notified.

The following Microsoft licenses include Bookings:

  • Microsoft 365 Business Standard
  • Microsoft 365 A3
  • Microsoft A5 subscriptions
  • Office 365 E3 and E5 subscriptions

Components of Microsoft Bookings

Business Information

All details about your business are configured in the Business Information section. These details, such as your business name, address, phone number, logo, and hours of operations, are visible to your customers.

Microsoft Bookings Business Availability


Business offerings are configured in the Services section. You can specify details such as:

  • Service location (virtual or physical)
  • Service description
  • Pricing
  • Staff member assignments
  • Maximum number of attendees per service

Microsoft Bookings Service Name

Microsoft Bookings Scheduling


The Staff section is where you can specify all items relating to the members of your team relating to the services they provide. This can include:

  • Assign to specific services
  • Services the business provides
  • Hours of availability for each staff member

Microsoft Bookings Manage Staff

Microsoft Bookings Manage Staff Details


When users schedule an appointment or book a service, they are automatically added as a customer in your Bookings app. 

Microsoft Bookings Manage Customers

Customers can be added manually or imported from a .csv file.

Microsoft Bookings Importing Contacts

Bookings Page

The Bookings Page is where major app details are configured and where the app is published. These details include:

  • Selecting a color scheme/theme of the Bookings app
  • Setting the time zone
  • Setting email notifications
  • Requiring customers to have an Office 365 account to use the app

Microsoft Bookings Booking Page


The Calendar is for internal use only — it is only accessible by staff members. All Bookings made by customers will populate in the Calendar. The Calendar view can be switched around to display bookings by Day, Work Week, Week, Month, or Today. Clicking on each booking will display all the information regarding that specific booking.

Microsoft Bookings Calendar


The Home dashboard displays an overview of the number of bookings made, the estimated revenue from all bookings, and the number of unique customers that have booked.

Microsoft Bookings Dashboard Home

The Problem

The COVID-19 pandemic forced companies to quickly transition to working remotely. As the pandemic settles and work-from-home mandates are lifted, businesses will have to adjust, once again, to ensure a safe return to the workplace. One of the main priorities during return to work operations is limiting capacities to ensure social distancing is possible.

The Solution

At Thrive, we pride ourselves on discovering ways to leverage existing tools in the Microsoft 365 ecosystem to fulfill even more business needs than they were originally intended for. Why not utilize Microsoft Bookings to ensure a safe and socially-distanced return to the workplace?

By utilizing the Services section for your office building, room, floor, or workspace, you can automate monitoring and limiting capacity with ease. The Staff section can be used for reservations and the Customer section can be used by employees who would like to come into the office.

The Fine Print

The ‘Maximum Attendees’ feature in the Services component doesn’t always work as seamlessly as we would like.

The key to successfully limiting the number of people that can book on a specific day is to add the exact amount of staff members, listed below as “reservations,” as a guideline for the maximum capacity for the office. In other words, make the total number of staff members equal the maximum capacity of people allowed in the office at once to restrict any more appointments.

Microsoft Bookings Service Details

Microsoft Bookings Manage Staff

Bookings require at least one staff member per booking. With three added staff member reservations and myself as an Administrator (by necessity), the app will allow four bookings per day—and nothing more. Even if ‘Maximum Attendees’ was set to one or two, the app would still allow four users to book—which is why this workaround is necessary to get the app to behave how it is intended to.

For this to work, the Availability for the Services must be set to “Bookable when staff are free.”

Microsoft Bookings Availability


We encourage you to try customizing your Microsoft features to best fit your needs. Microsoft Bookings’ capabilities reach far beyond simply scheduling and can be a great way to assist with keeping your team safe while returning to work.

As always, Thrive is here to help you keep up with these quick transitions. If you would like assistance to get the most out of your Microsoft 365 investment, please contact us today.