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Burotel: Sharing common space at CERN

The “Burotel” tool allows those without an assigned office to find a desk for a limited and defined time


Burotel desks at CERN
Burotel desks at CERN (Image: CERN)

“Burotel” is an innovative space management software tool through which colleagues without a fixed office can have a desk and office space assigned to them for a limited time and in a flexible way.

Burotel offices come in different shapes and sizes, and desks booking is easy and straightforward. Whether you need a desk in an open space or in a smaller, closed office space, the procedure is the same: visit the Burotel booking website, fill in the requested time period, check desk availability on an interactive map of CERN and book it. You will then receive confirmation from the room owner (e.g., the experimental secretariat).

The Burotel concept was presented to the Working Group on Strengthening the Support for Users at CERN, chaired by Manfred Krammer, head of the Experimental Physics (EP) department. It generated a lot of interest and the members suggested that the concept be shared with the CERN community.

The EP department has been making extensive use of the tool for years to support its large user community. This concept is in line with the CERN General Conditions Applicable to the Execution of Experiments, which state that an office space equipped with standard furniture and infrastructure should be provided to anyone involved in the fulfilment of CERN’s scientific mission.

Now, as work practices evolve, the Burotel concept is spreading to other departments at CERN. As we all know, office space is an important factor when it comes to feeling included in the workplace. The Burotel concept was developed within the EP department, initially by the ALICE and CMS experiments, to meet the challenge of appropriately welcoming the ever-growing number of CERN users. Following a collaboration with the Indico team in the IT-CDA (Collaboration, Devices and Applications) group, a reservation system based on the Indico Room Booking tool was deployed in April 2019, and the concept is now used throughout EP.

While the EP department used to be the only client of this software, the Beams (BE) department and the Occupational Health & Safety and Environmental Protection (HSE) unit have also adopted the Burotel solution to facilitate the management of their office space, and the International Relations (IR) sector is currently investigating its usage. As of today, CERN has more than 700 Burotel desks, and the EP department intends to set up more on the CERN sites.

The “Burotel” tool has recently been enhanced with new features, such as the automatic cancellation of unconfirmed desks bookings to ensure that the latter are made again available. In addition, for Burotel offices that are equipped with electronic locks, the access is automatically granted through ADaMS. This new feature was implemented with the support of the Engineering Access & Alarms (EN-AA) group.

Future integrations are currently under discussion, including an option to filter desks by suitability for people with disabilities (with support from the Diversity Office), and the automatic reporting of each Burotel user’s temporary internal address in all platforms, such as the phonebook.

A feasibility study called “Labotel” is also under way to examine whether this booking model could be extended to technical areas (laboratories, clean rooms, etc.).

Find out more about Burotel by writing to: EP-Burotel-information@cern.ch.