Microsoft Places App Uses AI to Enhance Team Efficiency in Office Space Utilization

Microsoft Places

In the post-pandemic era, hybrid work models have become increasingly popular, with employees spending less time in the office and more time working remotely. This shift has made it more challenging for colleagues to coordinate meeting times and efficiently utilize office space. To address these challenges, Microsoft has launched a new artificial intelligence application called Places. This new app is designed to help businesses that rely on Outlook and Microsoft Teams for collaboration better coordinate employees’ time in the office.

Microsoft Places App

Hybrid work: The new normal

The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed the way we work. Many companies have embraced hybrid work models, allowing employees to split their time between the office and remote locations. While this flexibility has its benefits, it has also created new challenges when it comes to coordinating in-person meetings and making the most of limited office space.

Jared Spataro, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of workplace artificial intelligence, emphasizes the importance of face-to-face interaction in the office, saying, “When employees come to the office, they don’t want to see a row of empty desks. They crave face-to-face interaction with managers and coworkers they often work with. Places can help. Employees can more easily coordinate their use of office space.”

Microsoft Places: Streamlining office coordination

The Places app, currently in the preview stage, aims to simplify the process of coordinating employees’ time in the office. It includes a dedicated location planning section where employees can set and share the days they plan to be in the office and see when their colleagues are scheduled to be present. Managers can also set priority days for coming to the office, such as important events or team days, ensuring everyone is aware of these key dates in advance.

This location data is then communicated with the Outlook calendar, allowing employees to see what events are scheduled to be held in the office and the days they choose to come to the office. This integration helps employees plan their in-person meetings and collaborations more effectively.

Microsoft Places App

Intelligent scheduling with Copilot

Later this year, Microsoft plans to integrate the entire Places experience into Copilot, the Microsoft intelligent assistant. This integration will enable users to ask Copilot questions like “What days should I go to the office this week?” and receive suggested schedules based on factors such as the user’s face-to-face meetings, colleagues’ office plans, and team activities. With regards to scheduling, Spataro said

“Users can also ask Copilot to adjust their schedule based on this information, such as changing their work location to the office on recommended days and rescheduling in-person meetings,”

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Streamlined booking and notifications

Places also provide a search function to facilitate employees in booking conference rooms or shared desks, and this function will be available in Outlook. Employees receive calendar reminders if they forget to reserve a conference room or desk. Later this year, Copilot will support an end-to-end booking experience, with an intelligent assistant automatically finding and booking the space needed for a meeting.

The Places app also integrates location data with other Microsoft 365 apps. When working in Teams, coworkers will be marked as “nearby” if they are also in the office, and users can notify coworkers in the office for impromptu discussions or lunch dates by typing “@nearby.”

Spatial analytics for better space management

Microsoft plans to allow real estate and facilities managers to use Places’ spatial analytics capabilities to see how to use buildings and which days are most popular among employees. IT administrators can also better manage and adjust spaces, improving meeting rooms and shared discussion rooms. The dashboard focuses on building and room analytics rather than giving managers another means of tracking individual employees.

Availability and pricing

Places will eventually become part of Microsoft Teams Premium, which is currently on sale for an additional $7 per user per month (normally $10). Teams Premium also includes smart summaries, watermark leak prevention, and many other additional features.

Microsoft Places


In conclusion, the shift towards hybrid work models has brought about a new set of challenges for businesses, particularly in coordinating in-person meetings and optimizing office space utilization. Microsoft’s introduction of the Places app aims to address these challenges by streamlining office coordination, integrating with Outlook and Microsoft Teams, and leveraging artificial intelligence to enhance the hybrid work experience.

The app’s features, such as location planning, and priority days facilitate face-to-face interaction and improve the overall efficiency of office time. Also, the integration of spatial analytics capabilities will enable real estate and facilities managers to better understand how to use the buildings. This will allow for better decisions about space management. As the hybrid work model continues to evolve, tools like Places will play a crucial role in helping businesses adapt and thrive in this new normal.

Microsoft Places comes at a crucial time and it should be very vital for businesses that want to seamlessly navigate the challenges of hybrid work. With more features like intelligent scheduling with Copilot, streamlined booking, and spatial analytics, Places has the potential to help businesses adapt to the new normal of hybrid work and foster more effective in-person collaboration. By leveraging AI and integrating with existing tools like Outlook and Microsoft Teams, Places aims to ease the process of coordinating employees’ time in the office and making the most of limited office space. What do you think about the new Microsoft Places app? Will it be useful for businesses? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below

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