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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Department Productivity Enhancer - Using an Electronic In & Out Board

Our department had been using a rather old school system for knowing where our fellow staff members are: We had a white board that staff members wrote where they were going and marked themselves as out.  But with a fairly dispersed number of staff and ones that often get pulled for emergencies to 30 remote sites, we often ended up with a board of largely inaccurate data.


We investigated some options and ended up demoing and installing a product called EIOBoard.  With this our staff has a convenient icon residing in their system tray where they can click to see a fellow employee's status and find out if that person is available at the moment.  There is also a very useful version of the client that embeds directly in Outlook, which really enhances Outlook as a center of communication.  At any time an employee can quickly see if their co-worker is available, initiate a quick chat, or send them a text message.  This can really speed up workflow and allow for much quicker synchronous communication.  


We also extended the system to allow persons visiting our department, a screen which shows all of our employees and their current whereabouts and status.   Being an IT department, people often come searching for assistance, and this should make it easier for them to find someone available to assist them.  This screen also doubles as a quick badge in/badge out station for our staff.


For our mobile staff, they will be able to update their status & location from a web browser or from an iOS or Android app.  This will help keep the EIOBoard much more accurate and should help us know where staff are located and who is nearby to handle emergency requests.