Since PMG and its open office culture allows software developers like myself to work with every department, one of my favorite departments to work with is our Human Resource department. Solving HR problems with software development is a joy to do due to its need for psychology, immediate results, trial and error and software that has never been written before. Some companies send out memos when they want to change culture. At PMG, We use software.
PMG empowers our employees to make good (sometimes, unorthodox) decisions. However, growth sometimes gets in the way with that. Take for instance, our conference rooms. When you grow at the rate we do, conference rooms get full, and while we have a way to book conference rooms through Google Calendar, many people were stuck in their small-startup-ways of using a conference room without reservation.
Conflicts arised with team members who needed a certain conference room due to features of the conference room, some conference rooms have TVs, others have larger tables, etc. However, we found that employees disliked the Google Calendar interface. It was a hassle. You had to find the conference calendar, then figure out if a room is available. There was no easy way to see what conference rooms that matched their needs were available when you just needed to incubate for 30 minutes with some employees or clients.
That is why we introduced the PMG Conference Rooms website. This website would use the Google Calendar API to automatically pull in when the most important conference rooms were available for use.
Since employees would sometimes get in a conference room at a moments notice, we also let people book rooms directly from inside the site.
Getting People to use it
Now we needed people to use it. We sent out an email blast with a bookmark-able link, however, while most read the email, only a few added bookmark. This is when the Google Apps for Business Administration console comes in handy. You can actually add extensions to all chrome browsers using our @pmg.co google accounts. We created a small Chrome App Bookmark and uploaded it to our private Google Chrome store. Then in the Google Apps Console, we added the chrome app to our automatically added extensions.
It would automatically show up in their Google Apps homepage
The results were awesome. We have had less conflicts, and people are checking if a conference room is available before just running inside. So far, the site is working. We will be adding features to it in the coming weeks, such as letting you know who booked the room, so if it is empty, you can easily ask if they can swap rooms with you.