How CBRE Spain quickly built a Twilio-powered multichannel communication system to empower a safe return to work

Browser with code terminal cursor

1 day

to build a working prototype

User group network

800 employees

using the system

Following the outbreak of COVID-19, businesses have made considerable changes to the way they operate. CBRE Spain, the world’s largest commercial real estate services firm, set an ambitious goal to be one of the first companies in Spain to return to the workplace in the aftermath of the lifting of COVID-related restrictions.

When the team at CBRE Spain started to plan for the new normal, they looked to Twilio to help build an innovative ‘return to the workplace.’

As Alberto Hernández Seco, Head of Digital and Technology Spain at CBRE puts it, “We wanted to demonstrate that we're going back to the office, and we think that the office is a safe space.”

CBRE office in Spain

A well-designed solution to a multifaceted communication and workflow challenge

A safe return to the workplace would require a lot of agility and advance organisation and coordination. Said Seco: “We wanted people returning to the office to be able to book space in advance, and to be able to trust in a safe solution for returning to work.”

Due to the social distancing measures in place, CBRE Spain’s office capacity was reduced to 33 percent. Providing for the safe return of employees with a considerable reduction in the space available required a complex flow of information across different communication channels. Any solution would have to involve automation for the purposes of scale and in order to meet demand, and yet be easy to use and administer by office managers and returning employees alike.

Seco and his team found themselves in the difficult situation of having no more than two working days to design, build, and demonstrate an easy-to-use, multichannel solution with complex design requirements and trust at its core. Relishing and rising to the challenge, Seco built a functioning prototype in less than 24 hours with Twilio Studio.

Safety station in a CBRE office

The safe return-to-work system involves:

  • Using Twilio Programmable Voice to enable people returning to the office to book a desk space over the phone. Those booking space could do so with a Twilio-powered Interactive Voice Response (IVR) enabling different options.
  • Following the selection, Twilio Programmable Messaging enabled the system to send an SMS confirming more information to complete the desk reservation and meet the employee’s needs.
  • Lastly, the system utilizes Twilio SendGrid Email API to send a personalised email with first name, surname, and national identity number, authorising an approved return to the office. This would be signed by the company in case proof was required for transit or similar.

Back to work, safely: scaling the platform for more employees

The Twilio-powered multichannel solution allows employees in Madrid and Barcelona to safely return to the workplace. Very quickly after implementation, CBRE Spain was able to scale to as many as 800 employees using the system to safely book space and easily communicate their safety needs.

Says Seco: “Twilio really enabled us to respond quickly to a very fluid and challenging situation incorporating all the necessary legal requirements, and COVID regulations as they evolved.”

For CBRE Spain, building for the new normal has meant a safe return to the workplace and a return for the business to its “back to the future” campaign.

Floor decal in CBRE office

“Twilio really enabled us to respond quickly to a very fluid and challenging situation incorporating all the necessary legal requirements, and COVID regulations as they evolved.”

Alberto Hernández Seco Head Of Digital And Technology (Spain)

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