In this edition of The Check-in video series, I spoke with KaraLynn Lewis, Senior Partnerships Manager at Office App to learn how she’s switched gears and stayed the course in the face of COVID-19, and how she’s thinking optimistically about the pandemic’s big picture. Check out our full conversation below.
Thanks so much for joining us, KaraLynn. To kick things off, tell us a little bit more about yourself and Office App.
KaraLynn: I am KaryLynn Lewis, and I look after partnerships at Office App as a Senior Partnerships Manager.
At Office App, partnerships are quite a core function of our business because Office App is a tenant and experience platform. We essentially are the mobile front-end for anything that an employee might need to do in their office.
Of course, that makes partnerships very important because of the ecosystem that we leverage to enable our product to do all of the jobs it needs to do. So, that could be an integration with an access control system, to open the door with your phone, or other integrations to book a meeting room, order catering, or make sure that your visitors are registered and managed via Proxyclick.
It’s really interesting for me to be in a role at a company that values partnerships so highly. I’ve done partnerships before, and I think it's really exciting to see how much the ecosystem is becoming important in technology.
We're no longer operating in our categories anymore, but connecting both for the customer and for the ecosystem itself. I’m glad that Office App can be that connector between all of these functions within the office.
Let’s imagine we had a time machine, and we could go back six or seven months ago before COVID-19. What were your priorities? What were the things that were top of mind at that time, and how did Office App have to pivot?
KaraLynn: Good question. I think the priorities, in a way, have stayed similar. Before we knew about COVID-19, we were very focused on integrating smoothly with all of the different products or technologies that our customers had within the building. These are categories like facility management systems, visitor management, and access control - we work to make sure all of these categories are working smoothly with our app.
On the other side of things, there’s the data piece. That’s being able to gather all the data points that we have access to. From sensors, for example, we know what temperature a room is at, or how many people are in the room, and then we transfer that data to the app. We know, for example, how many times a room has been booked, and if it was booked when the room was at 24 degrees. I think our plans here stayed the same.
Of course, we're still focusing on integrating the whole ecosystem, but I think what we've seen even more on the data side is just the importance of knowing what's going on in your office building and how it's being used.
As they're getting back into the office, businesses are really looking to know how many people are in the building. That's a key thing that maybe they didn't need to monitor so closely before. (click to tweet)
If, for example, their capacity is 100 people, they need to know whether the building is indeed at full capacity or if there are four people in a meeting room when there should only be two. These are the types of data points that have been very interesting to see and have become more important as we’re shifting around that space.
If you think about needing to change around meeting rooms to allow for more space, or maybe you need more hand sanitizer stations, or you need to get your restroom cleaned more...these are all things that Office App can help with. You can unify the data points that are in your building and bring that to your users’ fingertips.
So, how prepared are your customers? Or thinking more generally, how prepared is the market for returning to work? And how does that determine priorities for your customers and then for the market as a whole?
KaraLynn: So it really depends on the customer. I think every business is perhaps at a different stage. It also depends on location, or how bad their area was hit with the virus. There are a lot of different factors regarding readiness.
It’s really interesting to see how customers are utilizing technology to be able to come back to work. Some are still using stickers, but others are focused on actually using either the technology that they have in their building already or new technologies that they're bringing on.
The surprising and impressive thing that I’ve seen from customers and businesses is that, even though this is an urgent need, they're not necessarily looking at it as such a short-term transformation. It's a positive thing to see that our customers are thinking about getting back to work.
Businesses are understanding the significance of getting back to work, and the importance of doing it quickly, but they're not just planning to implement digital tools and then throw them away after two months. (click to tweet)
They are thinking about which investments they can make to actually effectively move forward into the future. That makes our conversations with them all the more interesting because it’s not a quick fix or Band-Aid solution to get only a certain amount of employees in shifts.
Take desk booking, for example. They’re thinking, ‘How can we make this a reasonable solution that they can be used forever?’ That way, they're spending their time wisely while also serving the urgent need that they have of getting their employees back in the office.
If you think about businesses out there who maybe don't have a plan and are struggling with all of the changes that COVID-19 has brought about, what recommendations would you make? What things should they prioritize?
KaraLynn: The approach that a lot of our customers have taken is to think about it from a short-term and long-term perspective. There are lots of resources out there as well. Being able to research and listen to what other people are doing, and apply that to your own business, is important. I guess that comes from my partnerships perspective - I try to advise people to think about the bigger picture.
It’s not about looking at different things in isolation. Don’t just look at your reception area or your restrooms. Don’t just look at the systems that are appropriate to improve these areas. Think about the technology or tools that are available to you, and how to integrate them not only with each other at a technical level, but into employees’ daily lives.
How can businesses adopt solutions with minimal training or learning involved? It’s about really making technology and new processes work for you, and making improvements without disruptions that you maybe otherwise wouldn’t have had the opportunity to make. I think looking at the pandemic from that mindset is a lot more productive.
We should see this pandemic as an opportunity to hit the reset button. What does our ideal world look like when we factor in new conditions? Then, we should build around this vision to make the lives of employees better. (click to tweet)
Thank you again, KaraLynn Lewis!
If you'd like to be a part of the next edition of The Check-in or to learn more about how Proxyclick helps companies get Return Ready, contact us directly!