Do you give your employees the option to work from home (WFH)?
Remote working can offer many benefits, including increased employee satisfaction and productivity, but if you don’t have WFH policies in place, then it’s easy to lose track of where your employees are.
In this blog, we’ll setup a simple Microsoft Flow that allows employees to send a WFH email and notification to their manager, with the tap of a button.
To make sure this button is always within easy reach, we’ll be triggering it from the Microsoft Flow console, but also from the employee’s iOS or Android device, using the Flow mobile app.
Register all your employees
Before we start, you need to ensure that all of your managers and employees have their own Office 365 account.
If one or more of your staff don’t have an Office 365 account, then you’ll need to enlist the help of your Office 365 admin:
- Log into the Microsoft 365 admin center.
- Select the lined “Expand navigation menu” button in the upper-left corner.
- In the menu, click to expand the “Users” section.
- Select “Active users.”
- Select “Add a user” and then complete the subsequent forms.
- Rinse and repeat until all of your staff have their own Office 365 account.
Azure Active Directory: Defining the manager/employee relationship
If Microsoft Flow is going to dispatch an employee’s WFH email to the correct manager, then it needs to know who their manager is.
Your Office 365 admin can establish all of your organization’s employee/manager relationships, inside Azure Active Directory:
- Head over to Azure Active Directory and sign into any account that has administrative privileges.
- In Azure Active Directory’s left-hand menu, select “Users.”
- Select “All Users.” You should now see a list of all your employees and managers.
- Find the first employee you want to assign a manager to, and give their name a click; this user’s profile should now appear onscreen.
- Scroll to the “Job info” section and select the accompanying “Edit” link.
- Click to select the “Manager” field, and then select its accompanying “Change” link. This should open a side-menu, which contains a list of all your registered users.
- Find this employee’s manager, and give their name a click.
- When prompted, click “Select.” The manager’s name should now be added to the employee’s profile.
- When you’re happy with the information you’ve entered, click “Save.”
- Rinse and repeat until you’ve established all the employee/managerial relationships across your organization.
Sending the WFH email: Creating your Microsoft Flow
Now we can create our workflow, using one of Microsoft Flow’s ready-made templates:
- In your Office 365 account, select the “App launcher” icon in the upper-left corner.
- Select the “Flow” application.
- In Microsoft Flow’s left-hand menu, select “Templates.”
- Search for the “Send a working from home today email to your manager” template, and select it when it appears.
- Read the onscreen information, and if you’re happy to proceed then click “Create Flow.”
- You should now see an overview of how this template functions; read the information and if you’re happy to proceed then click the “Edit” link towards the upper-left corner.
You can now see how this Flow is structured:
Whenever an employee triggers this workflow, Microsoft Flow will retrieve that person’s user profile. Flow will then send their manager an email and a notification that this employee plans to work from home, and the employee will receive a notification that their email has been sent successfully.
Unlike some of Microsoft Flow’s other templates, this workflow is functional out-of-the-box. However, you may want to edit the email that’s generated when an employee triggers this workflow, by clicking to expand the “Send an email” section and then using the fields to add extra static or dynamic text.
Flow for Mobile: Testing your Microsoft Flow button
This workflow is designed to be triggered manually when the employee realises that they need to work from home.
There’s two ways that an employee can trigger the WFH flow:
- Head over to the Microsoft Flow console.
- Select “My flows” from the left-hand menu.
- Find the “Send a working from home email…” flow, and click its accompanying “Run” button. This flow will now run, and your manager will receive a WFH email and notification.
Alternatively, you may find it easier to trigger this workflow using the Microsoft Flow mobile app.
Once you’ve setup the Microsoft Flow app, you can easily trigger the WFH workflow:
- Launch the Microsoft Flow for Mobile app.
- Select the “Buttons” tab.
- Find the “Send a Working from home today email to your manager” button, and give it a tap.
After a few moments, you should receive a push notification on your mobile, confirming that this email has been sent successfully.
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