Slowly, but Surely, Back to Office!

After weeks of shutdowns and remote working, businesses are gradually resuming operations. Companies are faced with the delicate task of transitioning their workforce back to office safely, taking into account new government directives on office reopening guidelines, safe distancing measures and travel advisories to prevent new COVID-19 outbreaks. Euwing THAM, DELMIA Quintiq Managing Consultant, writes about how Dassault Systèmes in Australia has been carefully preparing for employees’ safe return, utilizing DELMIA Quintiq’s Back to Office Workforce Planner. This article was first published on Linkedin Pulse.


There’s a glimmer of hope that the end is near. Many countries are slowly coming out of lockdowns with their restrictions gradually easing. Very soon, we’ll be heading back to our offices, having meetings in person instead of video conferences, and enjoying real conversations with our colleagues once again. Have faith, that time is coming soon!

Here in Dassault Systèmes Australia, many of our offices are in what we call Phase 1 of Back to Office, where we are opening our offices to 25% of its capacity. Once the government further eases the restrictions, we will move on to Phase 2, where we will open our offices to 50% of its capacity. That being said, having to take into consideration the current climate, government restrictions, business requirements, and personal preferences, who should be the ones going back to the office? It’s a puzzle, and we love puzzles! It’s exactly what we do best here at DELMIA Quintiq, solving the world’s planning puzzle!

First, there are many factors to consider. We decided that the following are critical ones:

Government Restrictions

No doubt different governments have different restrictions, but in general, there is a limit to the amount of people gathering in a certain amount of area in any given space. Offices are no different. It can be treated as a whole, or it can be divided into zones. And then there’s social distancing. No need for any commentary there.

Business Requirements

The show must go on! Businesses will need people to work, whether in the office or at home. It’s great that many allow the opportunity to work from home, but there are essential employees that are required to work in the office. It could be for a day, a few days, or even the whole week.

Business and Role Priorities

Depending on the employees’ roles in their respective departments, they could be the ones who are prioritized to work in the office over others.

Personal Circumstances

The people are the core of the business. They must be taken care of, and that includes their family. We want to take into account their personal circumstances. They could have older people or younger children in the family that are under their care, or maybe they don’t have the facility to work from home, and thus want to be in the office. It could even be for specific days. We want to consider these Must-Home or Must-Office situations.

Personal Preferences

Last but not least, they may not be in such dire straits, but they do have preferences which aren’t “hard rules”, per say. They could prefer home, or prefer office, or don’t care at all. We want to consider that as well.

The factors above are inputs to a complex puzzle, especially so when the amount of employees is in the tens or hundreds. To solve it, we implemented the Back to Office Workforce Planner. It is a simplified version of our DELMIA Quintiq Workforce Planner, which includes a suite of tools to plan and optimize workforce in governments, public services, airports, corporations, factories, etc.


How DELMIA Quintiq’s ‘Back to Office’ Workforce Planner works

Employee information such as their days required in the office, business priority, role priority, personal circumstances, and preferences are first imported into the system. The Planner will then create a plan based on the desired occupancy in % of the maximum capacity of the office. From there, office “shifts” are generated, and can be assigned to the employees.

Doing it manually while taking into account all the data above, for tens or hundreds of employees is going to be very tedious and time consuming. With our world-record-setter, state-of-the-art optimizer, it can be done with a single click, and it takes only a few seconds.

If the Planner wants to make further manual adjustments, they can do so with our friendly interface that is easy to use. They can even get input from the management to adjust the plan. Once all is happy, they publish the plan in PDF, and email each employee’s individual plan in PDF. Employees can also view the plan in our app in their mobile devices. It’s that simple, and straightforward.

This has taken away a lot of tedious and time consuming tasks from our Human Resources (HR) and Corporate Services (CS), and allowed the management to focus on what is critical now; guiding the business through this unprecedented time, communicating with the employees and caring for them, and strategizing and positioning the business for the future.

The Back to Office Workforce Planner is now ‘live’ in Dassault Systèmes offices in Australia, Malaysia, and very soon in Singapore, Japan, and India. More will soon follow suit to get their people back to the office.


For more information on DELMIA Quintiq’s Back to Office Workforce Planner, please email


Euwing Tham

DELMIA Quintiq Managing Consultant at Dassault Systèmes

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