Like many businesses, America’s Test Kitchen needed to adapt to a hybrid workplace model.
But, as ATK is a creative media company dealing in recipe creation, testing, and development, going completely virtual wasn’t a sustainable option.
America's Test Kitchen
Desk Booking, Visitor Management, COVID Team Safety
ATK needed an organized, flexible way to bring key personnel back to the office—without sacrificing safety or efficiency.
Deva Djaafar is the Executive Assistant and Office Operations Manager for America’s Test Kitchen. She’s been tasked with transitioning the ATK office from fully in-person, to a hybrid model that works for their unique business.
“Being an in-office company, people really were missing the camaraderie, the conversation.”
But for America’s Test Kitchen, the issue wasn’t simply that employees missed the in-office experience.
While some employees were able to perform their roles remotely, it was far more challenging for others. ATK is built around creating and testing recipes and interactive media production—job functions that are very challenging to do remotely.
“I would put the spotlight on our food photographers—it was much harder for them to work from home,” says Deva. “Not only did they have to have food deliveries brought to their house, but then they had to store, prep, and cook the food. And then they photographed the food, and did the dishes, and had to figure out what to do with the leftovers.”
“When we started thinking about how to safely bring people back to the office, that was our main focus—getting that small group of people back to the office safely.”
While it was imperative to bring certain employees back as soon as possible, giving all employees the opportunity to work from the office again was a huge priority for America’s Test Kitchen. “The employees that wanted to come back really wanted to come back,” says Deva. “How could we do this safely?”
They began reopening slowly, with the requirement that anyone who worked in the office had to be vaccinated and tested.
“We were keeping track of it in a Google Doc,” says Deva. But, this quickly became too much to handle.
“We wondered, 'How are we going to manage all of this? All the formulas in the world are not going to save us here.'”
“There was no one stop shop where it all lived,” says Deva. “It just got very, very cloudy and messy. And then we thought, ‘What if we have visitors—how are we going to check their information?’ We don't have someone sitting at the front desk all day anymore. How does this all work?”
“We're not a company of a hundred people anymore. Google Sheets weren’t going to work forever.”
America’s Test Kitchen needed a simple, comprehensive tool to track who was coming into the office, which desk they were going to use, and if they were vaccinated.
They evaluated a number of solutions, hoping to find one that was full-featured enough to meet their needs, but with enough flexibility to meet the demands of their unique business.
Since America’s Test Kitchen has 52,000 square feet of office space and a complex, unique floorplan, as well as a steady stream of both employees and guests visiting their space, they needed a customizable tool that they could manage internally. They also wanted the right combination of autonomy and support.
“There's a big range with desk hoteling software where it’s hands on or hands off, with nothing in between, and getting support is really complicated,” says Deva.
“We ended up choosing Eden. And it's been a really, really, really great decision for us."
Eden Workplace had all the features Deva was looking for, as well as the flexibility. “I love that we can be flexible and use the features that make sense for us and not use the features that don't make sense for us,” she says.
And, America’s Test Kitchen can manage Eden Workplace on their own, but still get personalized support any time they need it. “It was just a very good fit. We could manage our employees and upload our floorplan, but we also have support when we don’t know how to do something,” says Deva.
“We are so happy with Eden. It's really been a perfect partnership.”
Setting up Eden Workplace was quick and straightforward, and immediately reduced the manual workload and confusion of vaccine tracking, booking desks, and monitoring who was coming and going from the office.
“A huge selling point for us was that we were going to be able to move quickly, and implementation was so easy.”
America’s Test Kitchen had no trouble onboarding employees with Eden Workplace, and the response from the company has been overwhelmingly positive.
“Everyone says, ‘It's super easy to use. It's intuitive.’” says Deva. “It's also nice for people to see who's coming in and set themselves to work near new people. I think in general adoption has been excellent.”
Deva now has all the information she needs about visitor and employee vaccinations, desk reservations, and overall office attendance under one roof.
“We don't have to dig into four spreadsheets to see what happened last week, and what will happen this week.”
It’s also allowed America’s Test Kitchen to adapt to the ever-changing landscape of the pandemic. “Right now we require a negative rapid test to come into the office. People can upload them into Eden and I can just check them—it's so easy,” says Deva.
“I often think, ‘What if we were still using a form? How would we do this?’ It's just mind boggling to me. The timing and the fit was just really, really, really good.”
“If I had to do things the way we were doing it before, it would have been a huge time suck.”
For America’s Test Kitchen, the benefits of using Eden Workplace extend beyond hours saved and ease of use.
Having insights into how office space is used helps Deva and all of ATK’s administrative teams foster in-person collaboration safely, and bring back the office perks that employees loved before the pandemic.
“We started doing free lunch when we saw that more people were coming in on Wednesdays,” says Deva. “And so we say, ‘Please make sure you make your reservations, otherwise someone's going to be hungry!”
Deva also highlights the ways in which Eden Workplace has worked with ATK to help them get the most value out of the product, and truly understand what their needs are.
“Every time we think, ‘We could really use this kind of feature,’ it's been great because I've sent feedback and I've jumped on some calls with the Eden Workplace team to talk about what that would look like for us, or we'll email back and forth,” she says. “Growing with Eden Workplace has been such a great partnership. We are very thankful that we have been able to partner with a company that is open to ideas.”
“It's remarkable how many times we've said, ‘Thank goodness we decided to use a desk hoteling system as we started to travel down this road.'
And, thank goodness we picked Eden—because it's easy to use, but also thank goodness that we are working with a company that is scaling with us, and is interested in understanding what we need and helping us build it."