Book a workspace in Outlook
Published Jul 20 2020 04:02 PM 303K Views

Update - May 11, 2021: Updated with floor plan information.

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, Mobile, 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

If you have an Android phone go to your calendar settings and enable ‘workspace booking’:

workspace_mobile01.jpg

On your iOS phone go to your calendar settings and enable ‘workspace booking’:

workspace_mobile02.jpg

Outlook on mobile web experience:

OutlookMobileWeb.jpg

NEW! You can now add floor plans to your workspaces in Outlook mobile using Microsoft search. See Manage floor plans for more information.

floorplans.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?

Configuring a workspace is very similar to how you would configure a conference room. The key to defining a room mailbox as the workspace is setting the mailbox type.

Step 1: Create a new mailbox as a space using New-Mailbox

New-Mailbox -Room {alias} | Set-Mailbox -Type Workspace

Wait up to 24 hours before proceeding (to ensure the new mailbox is fully provisioned).

Step 2: Add required metadata using Set-Place. In hybrid environments, this cmdlet doesn't work on the following properties on synchronized room mailboxes: City, CountryOrRegion, GeoCoordinates, Phone, PostalCode, State, and Street. To modify these properties on synchronized room mailboxes, use the Set-User or Set-Mailbox cmdlets in on-premises Exchange.

  • Capacity
  • Street
  • City
  • State
  • Postal code
  • CountryOrRegion
  • GeoCoordinates
  • Floor

Step 3: Add workspace to an appropriate roomlist (distribution group) so the workspace shows up in a particular building, for example.

Add-DistributionGroupMember -Identity "Building 32" -Member wkspace3223@contoso.com

Step 4: Enforce capacity for workspaces based on set capacity value & Update minimum duration for booking workspace

Set-CalendarProcessing {alias} -EnforceCapacity $True -MinimumDurationInMinutes {int32}

Note: Distribution groups or lists cannot be added to the booking request. Individual people can be added, and workspace bookings will count the capacity of all attendees on the request. Please note it may take up to 24 hours for workspaces and new room list to appear in the room finder.

Summary

Workspaces in Outlook on the web and Outlook mobile (iOS & Android) is rolling out to all Office 365 commercial users in multi-tenant environments now and will be complete in a week. Outlook for Mac is available to all Insider Fast users using the new Outlook for Mac. The new room finder that offers workspace booking in Outlook for Windows is rolling out to Monthly Channel subscription customers. Semi-annual channel roll out will start in July 2021.

Note: for those customers who used CustomAttribute11 (from our initial release) please make sure to update your workspaces to use –Type Workspace.

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

137 Comments
Brass Contributor

@Jarrad_McMullen thanks for the infos :)
Well I wanted to check and test the interaction with the Floorplans and as far as the article says, this only works on the mobile apps.

So Im going to wait for the fix in Outlook Mobile.

Iron Contributor

@alex_ha19 same issue here, but since yesterday I receive this error message after clicking there.

 

Before it has worked, then it didn't happen anything when I clicked, now I receive this error message. (And Workspace is available for my account, with OWA)

@The_Exchange_Team this is always the same, why it is not possible to test everything before u go public? This is annoying and disappointing for my colleagues and for me. They cant use this feature from their mobile device now and cant book slots to work together in the office. 
Could u please test features to the end the next time? 

 

And please give us an ETA when we get a fix.

IMG_5067.jpg

Copper Contributor

@The_Exchange_Teamjust chiming in to mention we are seeing the same "Workspace Booking is unavailable for your account" message on iOS. Our return to the office plan hinges on this feature working reliably on August 2nd. Would love an ETA for a fix as well.

Copper Contributor

The Workspace Booking toggle is back on both iOS (4.2128) and Android (4.2126.2).

Only on iOS, the workspace bookings work normally. No reinstall or anything needed.

 

On Android, while the toggle has reappeared, I still cannot create a workspace booking. 

I suspect this will resolve itself by tomorrow, because I experienced the same with iOS.

Namely, the toggle option re-appeared but I couldn't make a booking, until having waited about 12 hours.

Brass Contributor

Confirmed, same behaviour for me.

Iron Contributor

@The_Exchange_Team @vrod29 

is there any chance to prevent multiple booking? I don’t want that users can book more than once per day for one area.

Brass Contributor

@CGCal hm on Android (Outlook 4.2127.3) I have the toggle but its still not possible to book a workspace. Even after waiting a few days as you have mentioned.

Is this the same for you or is it working now for you? 

Copper Contributor

@alex_ha19 , Yes, I also cannot make a Workspace booking on Android (the plus icon defaults to a standard event). Since iOS was fixed so quickly, I assumed the same would apply to Android. That was not the case.

I inquired about this issue on Android again with the in-app support and they told me, they are aware of the issue and will fix it in the next release.

(at this point, I've heard that response multiple times, so...)

Copper Contributor

I tried to implement the workspace feature using the guidance in this post and quickly realized it is a bit dated or is not for Exchange Online 2016.  Currently, the following things do not work for us;

 

  1. The mobile app booking option did not work on iOS or Android devices due to a bug. Per mobile support,  they will be addressed the bug in a future update (so far only iOS has been fixed). 
  2. - The "All day" event option cannot be used to book workspaces because the end time is 12:00 AM the following day instead of 11:59 PM, which prevents users from being able to book workspaces for adjacent days because they appear unavailable. Support has informed me that the start and end times for the "All day" event option cannot be modified. 
  3. - Resorted to selecting time slots on personal calendar, switching the status to Free when booking so one's day does not appear busy.   To show the workspace as unavailable in Room Finder, I had to Set-CalendarProcessing 'EnforceCapacity' parameter to true for each space.
  4. - To reduce calendar clutter, I gave the senior team members the ability to book directly in the workspace calendar for their team. 
  5. - Can MSFT provide a better alternative than the Outlook calendar "Schedule View"  for admins, managers, or delegates to view all of the workspaces they support?

Honestly, even with all its limitations, I would have preferred to use the Booking app. However, the inability to create recurring bookings made me go back to the Exchange workspace feature. I really hope Microsoft is invested in significantly improving one or both experiences soon so that I can roll it out to my entire organization and not just my IT department. 

Copper Contributor

@alex_ha19 , the workspaces on Android now works as expected after updating the app to version 4.2129.1.

Brass Contributor

@CGCal yes thanks, it works. If you tap and hold the + in the calendar you only get "new event". If you just tap it without holding you get the choice for Workspace Booking. And it actually shows the floorplan which is why I wanted to test this originally.. :)

Brass Contributor

I plan to test this functionality shortly, but does anyone know if this bug has been fixed?

 

We are seeing an issue in Outlook windows client where the seat count is being reduced by 2 when only 1 person books a workspace. We are working on fixing this bug. In the meantime we advise customers to use any other Outlook client. 

 

Also, does it work for Mac users who are running the new version of Outlook only?

Copper Contributor

Is there anyway to reduce the minimum booking from 3 hours?

Copper Contributor

@DEAN Jones 

I think you can via powershell.

Set-CalendarProcessing -Identity "Name of the workspace" -MinimumDurationInMinutes 60

Brass Contributor

Hello all,

 

can someone please give a hint how to enable this in a hybrid Exchange environment? Where does this workspace needs to be created in the first place? Which commands to use? That would be great. Thank you!

Iron Contributor

@Andreas Zinic 
Hi Andreas. In our hybrid configuration we create the resources on-premise and then change the type in Exchange Online once it has synced. Here are the essential PowerShell Commands we use:

  1. New-RemoteMailbox with the -Room tag
  2. Check if the room exists in Exchange Online with: Get-Mailbox $UPN
  3. If it finds the room, change the mailbox type with Set-Mailbox $Alias -Type Workspace
That is the basics of how we do it for our hybrid configuration. If you aren't familiar with PowerShell then I recommend doing PowerShell courses and reading about the commands on Microsoft docs to create your own workflow scripts:
Set-RemoteMailbox (ExchangePowerShell) | Microsoft Docs
Get-Mailbox (ExchangePowerShell) | Microsoft Docs
Set-Mailbox (ExchangePowerShell) | Microsoft Docs
Brass Contributor

@Jarrad_McMullen , thank you very much for your answer! Will have that tried in our environment. Have a great day!

Microsoft
  • Is the configuration of the workspaces only available from PowerShell? Or is it possible from Exchange Online/Azure ?
  • Are there any special licensing requirements?
  • Can he restrict what desks a user can reserve? –  a department can reserve only a given zone of the floor
  • Floor plans – can a reservation be made directly from a floor map? Where would the user access/see the floor plan?
  • How far in advance can a user reserve a desk? He would like to avoid that a user reserves a desk for a long period.
Copper Contributor

Trying to figure out why the mobile Outlook quit showing our workspaces. I tested things before the holidays but now after it's not seeing any of our location. It works in outlook and web version of room finder. Trying to find a known issue but can't find anything just yet.

Copper Contributor

@Chris_C1455 , you mean the floorplan on the mobile when you try to book a workspace?

Try switching to light mode, in case you are using dark mode.

Copper Contributor

After following the steps outlined above, the building I registered does not show up in the dropdown in OWA. Also on Outlook Mobile when trying to book a workspace, I get the error that the list of buildings can't be fetched from the server. What's missing?

Iron Contributor

@Chris_C1455 & @shochdoerfer - There seems to be a bug where roomlists with workspaces in dont show up in the buildings. Typing a room list name directly into the building filter seems to still work though.

I raised a Microsoft Support ticket and this is what the Exchange Online Engineer closed my ticket yesterday with:

Thanks for replying, I completely agreed with you regarding metadata refersh where in it takes up to 3 days, in my lab takes more than that and for this metadata refresh issue already highlighted to backend team.

 

I understand that not possible to use legacy version of room finder in your case and for new room finder we know there is a bug in it.

 

Hence in this case you just need to wait and once this bug will get fixed then only it the behavior of new room finder will be normal. Until the bug is not get fixed we can see very weird behavior of new room finder. Hence our back end team suggested to you use legacy version of room finder but unfortunaltey in your environment you can't use legacy version.

 

I hope you understand that no troubleshooting required on this case and already issue highlighted to PG team where in PG team already raised a BUG and working on it.


As you can see, there is a known bug but no time frame given on when a fix is occurring (and the engineer acknowledged a long metadata refresh time which was passed to the backend team).

@The_Exchange_Team - This solution has been around publicly since mid 2020 and we still seem to have major issues using it. Please sort it out and make known bugs (especially feature breaking ones) visible somewhere with etas on the fixes so we can make business decisions around them.

Copper Contributor

This application would be great if it were properly available for our 7000 users across all platforms. I also have the same issue with Android phones using OUTLOOK are unable to see workspaces in Buildings, when the building is displayed I tap on workspace and it says 'No Results'. It works ok on the desktop client and OWA. 

Steel Contributor

I'd agree with a lot of comments here. I thought this would be ideal for our hybrid setup but it's too clunky and there's issues with it. We ended up using a different room and desk booking system.

Steel Contributor

@The_Exchange_Team There are a lot of good comments, suggestions, bug reports in this thread but you haven't answered any of them. Is the workspaces-feature been abandoned?

Steel Contributor

Been using Workspaces for some time now. We have requirement to allow external users to book Workspaces just as we allow external users to book conference rooms with -ProcessExternalMeetingMessages $true but when we try this to add the workspace as a an attendee (adding it at room/location doesn't seem to work) from an external meeting request it just declines with:

Your meeting request was declined.
Spaces can not be booked as attendees

 

Bug?

Iron Contributor

Working well so far in testing.  I find that having accurate address information and a good naming convention makes spaces that much easier to find and book, and you can't stray far from the suggestions on how to create the DWG file. 

 

Question - Would it be possible to not count additional required or optional attendees toward the available slots left in the workspace?  Users may want to copy their supervisor on a workspace booking, and everyone copied counts toward the available slots in the space.  This can cause underutilization for spaces with more than one slot and simply does not work for spaces with only a single slot.  A workspace booking should be 1 to 1 between the person booking the space and the space.  Any additional CC or optional should just be informational for the person copied.

Steel Contributor

We are just in the test with Outlook Workspaces (bad name btw .. PowerBI Workspaces, G Suite Workspace etc - google searches are a mess ;) )

 

We also have the requirement, that you can see who is at the office - for socializing possibilities. Someone mentioned a PowerBI dashboard - is there any way to grab the information and get it into a report/dashboard?

Maybe even - if the booking is as "private" meeting invite. So that you can remove this colleague from the dashboard. (Some ppl coming to the office still want to work without disruption)

Brass Contributor

@The_Exchange_Team  can you please provide an update on this.  We're in the process of confirming which way we will go in supporting temporary desk bookings, and as much as this looked promising at first, the comments made by various participants indicate that perhaps this isn't ready for use across all devices.  Please confirm.  Thanks.

Iron Contributor

@The_Exchange_Team list of items / suggestions:

 

  1. Would it be possible to not count additional required or optional attendees toward the available slots left in the workspace?  Users may want to copy their supervisor on a workspace booking, and everyone copied counts toward the available slots in the space.  This can cause underutilization for spaces with more than one slot and simply does not work for spaces with only a single slot.  A workspace booking should be 1 to 1 between the person booking the space and the space.  Any additional CC or optional should just be informational for the person copied.
  2. Any way to decrement the "Available" count in Room Finder, before scheduling the room?  Right now, you can only see remaining slots in the meeting acceptance response if you actually book the space.
  3. The new "every meeting online" feature breaks workspace scheduling since you can't have a Teams Meeting and a Workspace together in the location field.  Can this be fixed?  Disabling Every Meeting Online isn't an option.  Asking users to remove the Teams meeting from the location field when they schedule a meeting isn't an option.
Brass Contributor

@The_Exchange_Team - is there a way to get/export analytics/reports on Workspace Bookings? i.e a report to show number of bookings in a time period, who has booked, desk availability reports, etc

Steel Contributor

@Rakesh Chauhan 

I tried it with PowerBI. Assigned myself "full owner" to the rooms. You might be able to achieve it with an "App registration"

Worked ;) You can then created any report you want.

Ask you local PowerBI Pro for help :) 

StephanGee_0-1663699196461.png

 

Copper Contributor
@ May 14 2021 02:10 PM
wrote:

Based on some testing here is some feedback:

 

- The bug mentioned about partial day bookings blocking the whole day is still current

 

- I found a problem where if you also send a Teams Meeting as part of your booking you get a declined, due to the error "Two or more spaces can not be booked at the same time". This is a problem as people in our organization have Teams set up to always be a there when you create an Outlook event. (as shown here: https://youtu.be/P4FG3hLfE0c)

 

- If you select 'Type: Workspace", and then change the building location, if flips back to 'Conference Room', a little bit annoying.

 

- Workspaces are set to 'Busy' by default, would be nice if this did not happen. (I know this is documented in your instructions, but I kept forgetting this in my testing, users won't remember)

 

- Hybrid rooms seem to work OK, you need to set some properties on-prem, and the rest online. I don't see any reason to build the rooms on prem though, as even the Cloud Only rooms show for everyone, even with our auto discover being on-prem.

 

- Rooms take 24 hours to show as per documented, not sure why it has to take so long.

 

- You get an error when running 'Set-Place' on newly created rooms 'Encountered an internal server error' (I know the documentation says wait as per the last bullet, but the command still seems to run OK, just throws an error)

 

- Outlook 2016 can still book the room using Room Finder, they just don't get the 'Workspace' drop down.

 

- Remaining capacity is not shown in the room list. Only total capacity and availability status.

 

- Android App shows Floor, Outlook Client does not

 

- You can't select Features. It shows 'Not available for workspaces', even though you can set properties such as IsWheelChairAccessible


It's 2022/10 and most of the annoying things out of the list above are still there :( Any outlook to fix these soon? @The_Exchange_Team ? 

Iron Contributor

I opened a case with Unified Support re: the workspace + Teams meeting issue and was asked to file a DCR.  It was accepted and I was told a fix would be put into place, but no time frame was given.  I think that's good news, but it would be nice to hear from the @The_Exchange_Team on these other issues.  

Copper Contributor

Workspace overbooking

 

I have the problem, that workspace rooms set to capacy 6 can be booked by more than 6 persons and the room still accepts the booking requests. 

For example: The room is booked by four people. So there should be still two places available. The next one booking the room gets an accept mail that tells "capacity 6, available 5, persons for this request 1, remaining 5.

The result out of that is, that at the end of the day the room with capacy 6 is booked by 7 people and still accept more bookings.

 

We book the room directly out of the outlook address book. Do I have to use the Roomfinder to select the Workspace, or can I just select it out of the Outlook address book or roomlist?

 

Solution

The problem is, that repeating meetings are not recognized as a booking. So if the capacity of the room is 6 and you book the room daily by repeating meetings, the slot will not be used. So if someone else books the room with a single booking, the room replys, that all spaces are still free.

So the solution is: Only book single full day meetings. This is really annoying, because if someone uses the room every day, he/she has to book the room five times a week, one booking each day. But then it works fine. The capacity is counted correctly and if the room is full 6/6, then it is shown as full in the roomlist.

Iron Contributor

@PeterRauscher If you haven't already, report that to MS as a bug as that is far from ideal!

As a workaround, you could allow longer bookings and book the workspace for a week, instead of using recurring meetings.

Copper Contributor

Hi @The_Exchange_Team & @vrod29 , may I know if "-ProcessExternalMeetingMessages" parameter apply to workspace resource? Getting "Spaces can not be booked as attendees" error while trying to book workspace as an external user.

Co-Authors
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Last update:
‎May 11 2021 05:43 AM
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