Office 365 just keeps adding value every time I go exploring for new features and this time I’ve started using the Holiday and Time off requests app template found in PowerApps. PowerApps are programs you can build and modify yourself to create awesome workflows which can be published to other users within Office 365.
As with anything customisable and based on a template there is a little bit of work to get it operational but below is my verified and fully working step by step easy to follow guide!
First ensure all of your users have a Business Premium License assigned to them.
1. When an employee submits a vacation request it needs to be approved or denied by that employees manager. The app uses the manager attribute stored in each user account in Office 365. By default this field is blank so you first have to set the manager for each employee in your business.
Log into the Exchange admin center.
Go to recipients then mailboxes.
2. For each user double click the account then click on organization and set the manager attribute. This should be set to the employees manager who will be the person who accepts or denies vacation requests.
3. Now lets start building out the app. Log into the PowerApps Portal here: https://web.powerapps.com
Click on Create.
Locate the ‘Leave Request’ template and click ‘Make this app’.
4. The app will ask for permission to your account, just click Allow here.
5. Before browsing the app click ‘Make my own app’ before it disappears from view. This will set the app up so that it stores actual data rather than use its own demo data in the app.
6. The app will now ask you where do you want to store the database. For us lets choose ‘OneDrive for Business’. This will actually create an excel file in your OneDrive. This file will later be shared with other users so the app will work when other users run it. Full instructions will follow.
7. The app will reauthorise access to your services, just click Allow here.
8. Ok first thing we need to do is modify the number of vacation and sick days allowed in your organisation. We need to do this because when a user first logs in the app will use these values to set their accounts up.
Select the ‘OnStart’ function as shown and scroll to the bottom of the code and change the default number of vacation and sick days allowed. The template also allows for jury duty and bereavement which can be updated.
9. When you create the app it puts a data.xlsx Excel file into your OneDrive. This is the apps database file and where it stores all requests and responses.
10. We need to grant access to any employee who will be using the app.
Click on the three dot menu and click Details.
11. Click on ‘Manage Access’
12. Add your employees, set to ‘Can edit’ and untick the ‘Notify People’ checkbox and click ‘Grant Access’.
13. Now you are ready to save the app.
From the App editor
Click Save as
Click The Cloud
Select a name for your application.
Click Save in the bottom right corner.
14. Next click on ‘Share this app’.
15. Next add the employees to the list so they can access the application. They will be sent an email with a link to the app.
16. Each user will receive an email with a link to open the app. Users can save the site to their favorites for quick access.
17. When a user logs in for the first time they must grant access to their services for the app to work.
18. Now at the main page employees can click ‘Login as an employee’. Here they can request vacation days.
19. From the main menu you can see the options on the left hand side. Employees can view their leave requests, see how many holiday days they have left and view company holidays.
In ‘My Leave Requests’ employees can ‘Create Request’.
20. Employees can set the type of leave they are taking, Set the number of days and give the leave a name. Employees can also see who the request will be submitted to.
21. Once a leave request has been submitted employees will see it in their leave request list along with its current status. Here we can see the request is in a Pending state.
22. Clicking on ‘My Leave Balance’ from the left menu employees can see how many days they have remaining.
23. Lets switch to Peters manager Ian. Ian receives an email saying that Peter has requested some holiday.
24. The manager can login using the ‘Login as a manager’ button on the app home screen.
25. Managers can see all leave requests and approve or decline them.
26. Clicking on Approve gives the manager a screen where they can send an email to the employee, or they can just click ‘Done’ to finish approving the request.
27. The employee now receives an email saying their leave has been approved.
Power apps are a great way to add extra functionality to your Office 365 system. There are a vast array of template applications to choose from to improve functionality, productivity and workflow tasks in your business.