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As companies return to offices, Autodesk TLV toys with new apps for employee safety

As companies return to offices, Autodesk TLV toys with new apps for employee safety

During its annual ‘Bazinga’ hackathon, Autodesk TLV employees developed a slew of apps centered around improving collaboration

James Spiro | 11:41  07.02.2021

Autodesk, which in 2009 established an R&D center in Israel, dedicates one week of the year for its Israel-based employees to take part in a Hackathon to foster growth and innovation. The week, which usually takes place in the last week of the calendar year, saw this year a variety of apps dedicated to employee safety and collaboration in the era of Covid-19.

The first app, Table 41, was developed by one of its 150 employees to help book and reserve social-distanced desks in the office. Described as the ‘WeWork’ of hotdesking, the service allows people to check up on the availability of office chairs and make sure they reserve space that is safely at a distance from other employees. The second app WorkSpot, pegged as the ‘Airbnb’ of workspaces, helps employees organize outdoor spaces as remote office locations, such as parks, beaches, or forests.
Autodesk TLV Autodesk TLV's Tom Winter. Photo: Autodesk Autodesk TLV

Tom Winter, Autodesk TLV’s Site Manager credits the company’s ‘startup environment’ to being the backbone of a larger and more stable organization. Autodesk, which was founded in 1982, is a Fortune 500 company with 12,000 employees across three major industries: multimedia, manufacturing, and construction. “Today, when you attract talent they’re not just looking for technology, and they’re not just looking for nice offices and what you have in the kitchen,” he told CTech. “It’s more about what culture you build.”

In total, 2020’s ‘Bazinga’ Hackathon had 27 projects and 22 teams that worked on anything they wanted. On top of the annual event, Autodesk also dedicates one day each month to personal development. Employees can choose if they want to learn something new or keep on working on projects. “If they have a passion to pursue a project not necessarily related to writing code right now, so if they want to meet-up or give to the community… They have passions to learn and we give them tools, whether it’s public speaking or how to deliver messages and storytelling.”

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According to Winter, Autodesk TLV focuses on the soft skills and the professional skills of each employee to help them foster creativity and innovation. The employees that then build their products, such as Table 41 and WorkSpot, can decide what the future holds for their passion projects outside of work. “When we invest in our folks in TLV, whether we can promote them to the next position or they have the tools to do more work, that’s fine… As long as they develop themselves professionally or personally, with any skill they think can help them for the next job,” he said.

Autodesk was founded in 1982 and makes software products and services for architecture, engineering, construction, media, and entertainment industries. In 2009, it opened its Tel Aviv-based R&D hub to develop the future of technology in 2D and 3D design, as well as web, mobile, and cloud computing platforms.

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