Employees can book a specific workspace for a day or more using desk booking software. A practice called hoteling allows workers to reserve their desks ahead of time. Other employees simply turn up at the office and claim a desk on a first-come, first-served basis; this practice is known as hot-desking. It is common for vendors to offer customers both of these options, so if you would like, you can have hot desks in one area and hotel desks in another.
In addition to the individual workspaces (desks and offices), these platforms allow companies to upload images of meeting rooms and common areas of the office. Each desk can be designated as available for advance reservations, available for hot desks, or permanently booked (for fixed spaces where the same employee will work every day).
The employees use web or mobile apps to search available desks for the day and reserve their desks beforehand, or they check in at a desk physically in the office with a QR code, RFID tag, or a touch-based display if hot-desking is used. Hoteling may be advantageous for employers as long as the pandemic continues, since it prevents overcrowding at desks since too many employees show up on any given days
Manage your workspaces your way
An employee can request a reservation either manually or automatically, after which it is approved by a manager for final approval. To ensure social distancing, some platforms allow managers to disable adjacent desks or move employees based on the need, and some platforms can automatically make such adjustments when employees make reservations.
Some desk booking platforms enable groups of desks to be assigned as “neighborhoods,” where people with similar roles can gather (such as a sales or engineering area). Employees can search for co-workers on some platforms and find out where they are sitting, allowing them to book nearby spaces for easy collaboration.
Some platforms integrate the software with hardware such as displays placed outside meeting rooms, lights on individual desks indicating availability (such as green or red lights), and even badges for facilities staff. Customer features are typically optional, and their usefulness varies depending on the company’s size. The need for such hardware is greater for a large enterprise with thousands of desks, hundreds of meeting rooms and other rooms than for a small office that can simply use QR codes for check-ins.
Companies with more than one floor of a building might also want to consider a solution that provides detailed maps to guide employees to their booked desks. For more information visit this site: cnnnewsworld
In addition to desk booking platforms , many enterprise software platforms, such as Google Workplace, Microsoft Exchange/Outlook, Jira, Slack, and Microsoft Teams, offer integration options. Before employees enter the office, some platforms offer contact tracing features and health questionnaires that ask how they feel.
Most platform software includes analytical tools that provide office managers with information about how their space is used, and many platforms also include tools for reorganizing spaces based on this information.
There is a wide range of pricing for desk booking software, depending on the features you want. There are many vendors who offer either a free trial period or a free tier with limited features so that you can test their software before you purchase it.
A few other things to consider
According to Beauvais and other sources, additional considerations should be considered by organizations when purchasing or deploying desk booking software.
Does your scheduling software support desk booking?
If a company already has a meeting room scheduling system (beyond Outlook/Exchange calendaring), they should check with the vendor to determine whether desk booking is an option. Companies can rapidly integrate desk booking into their existing software because so many vendors offer it.
Try a modular system that you can expand later if it doesn’t meet your needs.
The larger scheduling platforms often offer tools such as visitor management, facility management, and move management as well as room scheduling. When all you need is just a desk reservation, be sure to pay for that.
How important is employee health?
While specific regulations around COVID-19 vary greatly from city to city, state to state, and country to country, workers want to trust that their employer is looking out for their interests. Look for products that include health-related features either directly or via third-party integrations, if this is important to you.
Many vendors offer employees the option of filling out a health screening questionnaire at home before they come to work. An employee’s reservation is cancelled if they report symptoms of COVID, and they are denied entry into the building. Several platforms also provide sensors to ensure a safe distance between employees, contact tracing for employees who have been exposed to or diagnosed with the virus, and automatic notifications to cleaners when sanitizing is needed.
If you already have separate systems in place that offer the same functionality, you don’t need them in your desk booking platform.
Are you interested in booking other assets in the office?
Platforms sometimes offer features that let employees reserve other amenities besides desks, such as parking spaces, lockers, caterers, and other things to use in the office during the day. Beauvais says that some companies use these systems in conjunction with IT service management software or facility services, which, when a desk is reserved, trigger tickets for specific equipment or start cleaning processes.
Prepare a backup plan and beware of complexity.
Employees might not want to jump through the hoops of an overly complicated system to reserve a place in advance if it is overly complicated. It is possible for people to end up squatting in an area for which they did not make a reservation, like pre-pandemic times when impromptu meetings would be held in conference rooms already reserved. To avoid this scenario, you should conduct pilot programs, solicit feedback from employees about any software you are considering, and educate your employees about new platforms and policies.
For employees who are unaware of policies or forget to book in advance, you might also consider making some hot desks available at all times. By forcing people to leave after their commute, you create a larger problem.
Security should not be overlooked.
In light of employees’ private information, including whereabouts, it is imperative to consult the product’s published security information and ensure that it offers enterprise-grade encryption, compliance with privacy standards, and other security features such as single sign-on.
Save space by using the tools, but be careful.
During the pandemic, companies went from having full offices to practically empty spaces with only a few essential employees. However, empty spaces cost money through rent, heating, and electricity. Moving to a hybrid workplace can reduce a company’s costs if it downsizes its office space. The key is to maximize the space effectively.
IDC’s Beauvais said, “If you have fewer workspaces than you have employees, you have to have a system to handle it.” “Because the first time a vice president shows up and has nowhere to sit, you’ll be in trouble.”
Facilities management tools are particularly useful for companies to determine how far to downsize in order to maximize space-per-employee costs. A more cautious approach would be to implement desk booking in phases while keeping some desks available in case of emergency or overflow. After a few months, companies can discover patterns that will let them know if they can reduce physical space and cut costs with analytics provided by many of these platforms.