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Update - July 21st 2020 - We're re-evaluating the method used for setting up workspaces, and will update this blog soon.

Imagine you could book an office to work anywhere in the world. Now imagine this could be done in Outlook. Well, we have built a feature to let you do that! We have built this in Outlook for Windows, Mac and Outlook on the web users with Exchange Online mailboxes.

In the image below you can see the room finder has a new ‘type’ drop down. In the drop down you would be able to select workspace or conference room. Here’s what users can expect to see in Outlook for Windows:

workspace01.jpgThe same rich capability in Outlook on the web:

workspace02.jpg

And for those cool kids with a Mac, the same great experience. No matter what client your users choose, they can use this feature just the same:

workspace03.jpg

What is a workspace?

A workspace is a physical location where employees can work from. It can be made up of many desks or can be a single desk. The way you book a workspace is very similar to how you book a conference room in Outlook. The same policies that can apply for a conference room can also apply for a workspace.

The main difference with workspaces is that they have a capacity and a minimum booking duration requirement. Workspaces can be booked by the number of people that the capacity was set for. Capacity refers to the total capacity of the workspace. For example, if a workspace has 10 desks but has been already booked to 50% capacity, only 5 people can book that workspace for a specific time period. If the 11th person tries to book the same workspace, it will be shown as unavailable and they will receive an automatic decline.

How do your users book a workspace?

  1. Open the Outlook calendar and create a “new event”. A minimum duration of 3 hours is needed for workspace booking. We recommend booking a workspace as an all-day event.
  2. Set the “Show as” status to “Free” so the invite doesn’t block your calendar.
  3. Open the “Room finder” by selecting the location input and then “Browse with Room Finder”.
  4. Select your building from the drop-down and “Workspace” option from the “Type” drop-down. If you don’t see a workspace option, then your building may not have workspaces (or they have not been defined yet - see below for how to do that).
  5. Browse available workspaces. Availability is shown based on if there is at least one available space for the duration of this booking.
  6. Save the event and then the user will get the auto-generated email confirming the booking:

workspace04.jpg

Note: Additional attendees can be added to an invite and a seat will be reserved for them if available. If the number of additional attendees added to the invite exceeds the number of available seats, then the booking will be rejected.

How do you create a workspace?

We're going to provide updated details for creating a workspace very soon.

Summary

The Outlook on the web feature is starting to roll out to all Office 365 commercial customers now. Outlook for Windows will start rolling out in the next couple of weeks and will follow the room finder roll out staging noted in this link. Outlook for Mac will be available to all Insider Fast users using the new Outlook for Mac.

We would love to know if these features help your users plan and manage their meetings and if finding the right rooms is now easier for them.

Please, tell us what you think in the comments below, in our UserVoice channel or using the in-product smile feature.

Thank you!

Victoria Rodriguez

28 Comments
Regular Visitor

Hi,

 

wow - that is fixed to "CustomAttribute11"?

What do customers do when this attribute is already in use?

 

BTW: Before building that solution it would be great to have resources like Beamer, Cars etc. as a Type too and make it easier to book such resources. But please do not use CustomAttributes. Custom Attributes have many letters from "Customer" included. So the manufacturer should not use them. Otherwise they would be called "ManufacturerAttributes"

Regular Contributor

This is good. I had originally looked at using Microsoft Bookings for this but it's really not designed for it.

 

As part of our Covid management we have three things

 

1) Number of people on the floor of the building will be limited

2) Number of people in a shared office space will be limited

3) Our facilities company need to be aware of what floors and offices are in use each day so that they can be cleaned in the evening.

 

It would be great if we could connect or limit office space by number of people on floor. I could probably use Power Automate for item 3 but again, would be great if that could be linked too. I imagine most companies would be doing similar in offices?

 

Edit: would agree that using the customattribute is unfortunate. 

Established Member

Great feature - can see a lot of useful scenarios (for example, where a pool of equipment like laptops exist, but we don't want to create an individual resource for each piece of equipment).

 

However @Peter Forster is completely correct - you shouldn't be using CustomAttribute11 for this purpose.

 

Here's the promise you made to customers about these attributes since they first existed, stating that you won't use them in Exchange attributes (emphasis mine):

 

'The custom attributes available to Exchange Server are labeled in Active Directory as ms-Exch-Extension-Attribute1 through ms-Exch-Extension-Attribute15. In the Exchange Management Shell, the corresponding parameters are CustomAttribute1 through CustomAttribute15. These attributes aren't used by any Exchange components. They can be used to store Active Directory data without having to extend the Active Directory schema.'

 

You've even got the custom attributes 16-45 that we were told not to use, since they might be used in future versions:

 

'ms-Exch-Extension-Attribute-16 to ms-Exch-Extension-Attribute-45 are present in Active Directory, but aren't available in the Exchange admin center (EAC) or the Exchange Management Shell. Don't use non-Exchange tools to edit these attributes because they might be used for future Exchange features.'

 

Who on earth decided to re-purpose an attribute that for years we have been promised would not be used by Exchange components, instead of creating a new attribute (or at least using one of the ones that we were told might be used by Exchange features)?

 

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/Exchange/recipients/mailbox-custom-attributes?view=exchserver-2019

Occasional Contributor

Neat new feature. But I have to agree with David and Peter: The usage of the CustomAttribute for this is weird. Why did you not implement a new Attribute or extended a non-custom attribute?

Established Member

Hey,

 

This is a really helpful feature, and I can see lots of other uses (like a pool of laptops where you don't want to create an equipment mailbox for each piece of equipment, but can book them out all through one resource.

 

Have to agree with @Peter Forster and @diecknet though - this should be in a new attribute, not in CustomAttribute11

 

Here's the promise you've made in the Exchange documentation about CustomAtrribute1 to 15 (emphasis mine):

 

The custom attributes available to Exchange Server are labeled in Active Directory as ms-Exch-Extension-Attribute1 through ms-Exch-Extension-Attribute15. In the Exchange Management Shell, the corresponding parameters are CustomAttribute1 through CustomAttribute15. These attributes aren't used by any Exchange components. They can be used to store Active Directory data without having to extend the Active Directory schema.

 

This should be a new attribute, or at the very least you should be using CustomAttribute16 to 45, which the documentation indicates might be used in future:

 

ms-Exch-Extension-Attribute-16 to ms-Exch-Extension-Attribute-45 are present in Active Directory, but aren't available in the Exchange admin center (EAC) or the Exchange Management Shell. Don't use non-Exchange tools to edit these attributes because they might be used for future Exchange features.

 

Don't break the promises you've been making to users for such a long time. You shouldn't be using CustomAttribute1 to CustomAttribute15 for any internal purposes.

 

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/Exchange/recipients/mailbox-custom-attributes?view=exchserver-2019

Established Member

Also here:

 

'Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 includes 15 extension attributes. You can use these attributes to add information about a recipient, such as an employee ID, organizational unit (OU), or some other custom value for which there isn't an existing attribute. These custom attributes are labeled in Active Directory as ms-Exch-Extension-Attribute1 through ms-Exch-Extension-Attribute15. In the Exchange Management Shell, the corresponding parameters are CustomAttribute1 through CustomAttribute15. These attributes aren't used by any Exchange components. They can be used to store Active Directory data without having to extend the Active Directory schema.'


https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/exchange/custom-attributes-exchange-2013-help

 

And on this very blog itself:

 

'For a while now, Exchange provides 15 custom attributes. Those are still there and you are free to use them as you used them before. They are known as CustomAttribute1 to 15 (or can also be referred to as ms-Exch-Extension-Attribute1 to 15). For more on those, please see this. So nothing has changed with those.

 

...

 

New! Finally, we have also added ms-Exch-Extension-Attribute-16 to 45. Those are not exposed to various CMDlets and Exchange management UI, because they were added for future use. As such, we cannot recommend that you use non-Exchange tools to edit their values (Exchange 2010 SP2 or any later version) because we might use those attributes in the future for various Exchange features. If and when we add management tools access to them, we will definitely let you know!'

 

https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/exchange-team-blog/custom-aka-extension-attributes-in-exchang...

Occasional Contributor

Good Morning, 

 

CustomAttribute11 doesn't appear to work for me:

Capture.JPG

Can anyone point out what I'm doing incorrectly? Many thanks!

Senior Member

What about adding some "intelligence" into Outlook and Outlook on the web? For years we were requesting that Outlook takes the "Capacity" of rooms into consideration when booking a room. So for example: I book a room for a meeting (or a workspace...) and add 6 people to the meeting. However the room I booked, has only a capacity of four. Outlook/Outlook on the web should notify the user about this. Or even offer only rooms with a capacity that fit all people. Notes/Domino btw. does this since decades... Christian

Occasional Contributor

You can't win with us IT guys, can you Victoria? :lol:

 

Thanks for giving us a workaround for these crazy times. A few design change requests of my own:

 

  1. Our Facilities team would like to have single occupancy rooms available to be booked but only for a certain period and only for one person. E.g. The room is available 8AM-11:30AM. If a person books the room any time (let's say 9:11AM), the room needs to be scheduled from 9:11AM-11:30AM. This is to ensure people's safety as they are allowed to remove masks in the room, and air is circulated only a few times a day. Right now I don't think there's a native way in Outlook to do this.
  2. @Christian Schindler they're part of the way there. In room lists in OWA you can limit your meeting to only include rooms with a specific capacity. But I agree, warning users about cramped rooms would be a benefit.
  3. Pictures/maps/3D visuals of the room. At a minimum, allow admins to control if end users can upload pics of the room. Could prompt the users to upload when they are in a meeting in that room.
Occasional Visitor

It's New-Mailbox Alias -Room & Set-Mailbox -CustomAttribute11 "space"?

New Contributor

I agree with the other comments, thanks for rolling out new features but please change so this does not rely on any custom attributes.  Custom Attributes should be maintained at the tenant level for a process particular to that business.  We already use Custom Attribute 11 for another purpose.

Microsoft

Hi folks,

We hear you loud and clear! We will update this article once we implement a different property to set workspaces. We will most likely use recipient type details field that can be set on a mailbox. Please comment if you have any feedback. Thank you!

Occasional Visitor

Excelente plataforma de trabajo

Regular Contributor

@vrod29 Thanks for that! If there's anyway we could display a summary of booked workspaces for the day/week etc that would be great too.

@JustAnotherITGuy - regarding your point 3above, floor plans are part of Microsoft Search - https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoftsearch/floorplans-bestpractices

 

Occasional Visitor

Would it possible to set the "show as" free when chossing a space to prevent people from having to manually do it.

 

Thanks

Occasional Visitor

Thank you, agree, useful feature especially for the current circumstances. Our facilities strategy for maintaining social distance has been to allocate a % of spaces to each group. Say my group had 30 spaces on 12th floor, I now get 15 spaces. I would not want to make this workspace available to all. Would there be a way to limit Workspace to an AD/O365 group?

Occasional Visitor

I would look at this to replace some Bookings functionality also, but the time period needs to be less than 3 hours, at least down to 1 hour but preferably can be customized.

Occasional Contributor

>For example, if a workspace has 10 desks but has been already booked to 50% capacity, only 5 people can book that workspace for a specific time period<

 

Only 5 additional people, right?

Occasional Visitor

Great feature that can't come fast enough.  Looking forward to seeing it in production. 

Occasional Visitor

@Darren O'Leary I had the same issue. What worked for me was creating the room mailbox first and then using Set-Mailbox -CustomAttribute11 "space" to set CA11.

Frequent Visitor

This is exactly the type of features we need for our remote employees who need to reserve a "hotel" cube while on site.  Now my regular question with Microsoft....How long will it take for my GCC tenet will see this?  As an organization we are waiting for both Booking and this feature for Exchange.  

Roll this out to the GCC at the same time as the consumer environment.

Occasional Visitor

First of all where did you get CustomAttribute11 from this post?  Just curious.  Is there any other documentation on this yet.  I created a couple Hotel spaces and added the CU11 "space" value, then added some other set-place attributes.  I also created another room list containing these two workspaces.  However, I don't get any listings when I select the Workspace type in room finder.  Am I missing something?

@pmattias the feature was released using CustomAttribute11 but was pulled shortly after and will come back using RecipientType. Watch out here for updates I guess 

Senior Member

Nice. Can you please add to the blog -  how to use the new feature through Powershell ? 

Senior Member

few member are discussing about custom attribute? where is this details? I am unable to find any detail about use of custom attribute in this blog. 
is there any more document available?

also where are steps to configure workspace.

Occasional Visitor

@Brian Reid, using search to locate rooms is interesting, but I don't see in the documentation you can book the meeting room (or the workspace) from Search.

 

Would you say a user need to go to Search to find a workspace reference and the go to Outlook to book the workspace (if it is available) ?

Regular Visitor

Hi all,

 

Very much looking forward to testing this. Any idea already when this will become available for general use?

 

Thanks in advance.

 

Remco