There’s no doubt that the Covid-19 pandemic sparked a major shift in the way we work, with many companies moving to remote-first models for their office-based staff. Hybrid working is emerging as the best model that meets both employer and employee needs, with 68% of workers thinking the ability to work both from home and on-site is the perfect work model. With hybrid working on the rise, hot-desking and room booking have become increasingly popular as a means for flexible return to the office for employees. Let’s take a look at how hot-desking and room booking can help you ace your return to the office.
What is hot-desking and room booking?
Hot-desking and room booking are terms often used interchangeably as they both allow employees to choose their workspace.
Room booking usually refers to the reservation of a specific room or meeting space, while hot-desking can be used to describe any type of flexible working arrangement in which employees do not have a dedicated desk.
How can hot-desking and room booking help the return to the office?
A Future Forum survey found in early 2022 that 78% of workers wanted flexibility in their work location. Similarly, a report found that workers in the UK, Canada, and Australia would prefer to work remotely rather than have an assigned desk if given a choice.
Clearly, hot-desking and room booking are becoming more popular worldwide.
We know that employees are interested, but what about businesses? Let’s take a look at the benefits these systems offer organizations returning to the office.
Encourage return to the office
While WFH has been paramount to business operations over the last few years,there is no denying the benefits of having your team back in the office. But understandably, employees may be reluctant.
Hot desking and room booking offer a flexible and safe way for employees to return to the workplace. Employees can choose any available desk, and you can make certain desks unavailable at the click of a button to comply with any social distancing requirements, helping reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19.
Better use of space
Hot-desking and room booking also help enable a better use of space. With more people working remotely, there is often less demand for dedicated workspaces. Everyone turning up expecting dedicated workspaces in the past has led to overcrowding, a lack of privacy and clutter.
By making better use of space, businesses can better manage available space to create a workspace that is energizing and motivating for employees and encourages more collaboration when there is in-person time.
Hot-desking and room booking apps can save employers money by having smaller offices – or no office at all. Long gone are the days of filling expensive office space. Let’s face it – when was the last time you saw everyone in your business working in the office at the same time?
With more businesses adapting hybrid models than ever, less staff are in at any one time. By implementing a hot desk policy, businesses can downsize their office space to fit their daily needs, instead of the number of employees they have on the books.
How to implement a room and desk booking policy
For many employers, using room and hot-desking software makes this process easier to manage since employees can return to the office for a few days per week in a safe and controlled way.
Introducing hot-desking and room booking into your workplace can appear to be a daunting task, but with the right planning and execution, it can be a smooth transition – but only if it’s done right.
1. Have the necessary technology in place
Employees will need access to their work files and email from any location. Adjust your company’s policies regarding technology and remote work.
Introduce a scheduling system so employees can book all the resources they need such as desk, rooms and amenities before they get to the office. They can also opt to sit next to employees or in neighborhoods that have the facilities they require, or the teams they want to work with.
Apps work well for booking on the move, especially when they integrate naturally into exciting workflows. For instance an Outlook plug-in if your employees already schedule their time there.
2. Make sure the office is ready for hot-desking
Desks should be in an open-plan layout and there should be a larger variety of meeting and collaboration spaces available. You’ll also need to ensure that there are enough desks and meeting spaces available for employees choosing to work on any given day. This can be done by enabling employees to reserve workspaces or meeting rooms in advance.
3. Inform your employees
Make sure that employees are aware of your hot-desking or room booking policy and understand how it works. You may also need to give indication/training to employees on how to use the new system, but many or intuitive so can download and go. This includes how to reserve a desk or meeting room, and how to indicate you are working remotely if needed.
4. Eliminate any policies that are no longer relevant
These might include outdated policies that require employees to be at their desks from Monday to Friday.
Great hot-desking and room booking software
To help ensure that a planned return to the office, or the introduction of hybrid working, is a success you need great hot-desking and meeting room booking software.