As Canada’s largest food rescue organization, Second Harvest is a global leader in perishable food redistribution. The non-profit works with several food businesses to reduce food waste, re-directing these contributions to thousands of charities, and subsequently helping millions of Canadians. Second Harvest aims to instill lasting positive change for local communities, the country, and the planet.
Second Harvest continued to operate their facilities throughout the pandemic because they are an essential service. At the time, they didn’t have a desk or room booking solution. Still, they fully embraced a flexible work environment and knew they wanted to maintain it as they transitioned to their new 48,000+ square-foot facility. Leading up to the move, Zeeshan Liaqat, the Vice President of Finance and Shared Services at Second Harvest, was responsible for finding and implementing a workplace management solution.
The non-profit saw rapid growth in its workforce, more than doubling in just two years. However, the new office only had enough workstations to accommodate 75% of employees at any time. They needed an efficient way to manage capacity and ensure that anyone who wanted a desk could book one. To add to that, Second Harvest expected to welcome hundreds of volunteers to help sort and pack food at the new facility.
As an essential service with numerous departments and team members, Second Harvest needed the implementation process of the workplace management system to be efficient and foolproof. It was important that all users — from delivery drivers to admin staff to volunteers — could grasp the new technology without needing extensive training. The organization also had to comply with public health regulations, which involved manually tracking office sign-ins on paper, for potential contact tracing. It was a labour-intensive and unsustainable system for the team.
Providing a flexible and engaging work environment is a big priority for Second Harvest. To help foster this culture, they offer employees flexible hours with remote and hybrid work options. Staff who opt for the hybrid arrangement can reserve a desk or have a permanent one if they desire.
To facilitate this change, Second Harvest searched for a solution based on the following criteria:
A solution that all staff could use as needed, regardless of their technological experience.
The software had to carry several important features, from desk booking to visitor management, to support the variety of employees and volunteers at the non-profit.
Contactless self-assessment, sign-in, and contact tracing abilities were required to keep staff safe.
A practical way to help manage access to workstations and capacity limits.
“Nspace’s key features and simple interface made it clear to us that they were the perfect choice,” Zeeshan stated.
The Nspace implementation took under three weeks to complete, with just one training session required at the kickoff. “Right from the beginning, everyone was so comfortable with booking their workstations,” stated Zeeshan. “The system was easy to use, and staff were using it frequently, so we knew it was well received.”
Paper sign-in sheets are a relic of the past. Instead, a contactless check-in and check-out process provides a seamless experience that’s also more sustainable. Plus, Zeeshan and the team can access reports to see who used a workstation (including when and where) in the office.
With Nspace, SecondHarvest employees can now book desks or meeting rooms at the office days in advance. Seemingly complex rules — from time limits to scheduling restrictions— have been easy to configure in Nspace to guarantee everyone a space to work when desired. Mandatory health self-assessments help curb office capacity and ensure safety.
The organization has re-introduced its renowned volunteer program, which welcomes volunteers to the office daily. Using the Nspace visitor management system, volunteers and other guests can now register in advance and scan a QR code to sign into the office. Spontaneous visitors also use the on-site tablet for a fast and easy check-in process.
Staff who routinely go to the office but don’t require a desk to complete their work also use Nspace. “The delivery drivers don’t actually sit in the office. They come, load their truck, and then they're on the road,” Zeeshan mentioned. “Having a seamless sign-in process that protects our workers’ health and safety is vital — and Nspace enables us to do that efficiently.”
Moving forward, Zeeshan and the team can have confidence that their new office can accommodate more on-site workers as they expand. “Our main objective was to support our staff and help them book desks in advance to mitigate any issues,” said Zeeshan. “Nspace has really helped us meet this objective.”