Many companies have adopted hot desking and desk booking solutions to solve hybrid work challenges, and more are aiming to follow suit.
Microsoft implemented advanced desk reservation systems and technology tools to streamline desk booking and optimize workspace utilization. The company recently stated:
“At Microsoft, we value and support flexibility as part of our hybrid workplace where every employee can do their best work by working the way they work best. A hybrid workplace is a mix of workstyles across work sites, work location and work hours.”
Meta has also been gearing up for a “new workplace experience” to welcome its workforce, which is expected to return to the office three days a week. The company’s hybrid work strategy requires workers to share desks and book workspaces in advance.
The reactions to the “new workplace experience” are mixed. Hot desking in a hybrid environment can be frustrating without the right resources. From providing employees the ability to reserve a dedicated workspace to ensuring the right equipment and amenities are available, successful hot desking goes hand in hand with the right desk booking software.
Rolling out a desk booking system takes minutes, but making sure it’s fully embraced by employees and adopted into the workplace requires careful planning.
Who Typically Owns the Implementation Process?
The need to implement desk booking software often (but not always) begins with a company transitioning to hybrid work and realizing they have “more people than desks.” The HR department realizes there’s a problem when employees are frustrated, unengaged, and stressed due to a system that isn’t working.
HR searches for solutions by auditing their company’s employees’ needs. After they’ve gathered adequate information from their audits, they typically hand off the procurement process to the IT department responsible for space management software selection. The HR, IT, and Facilities teams may work together to determine how they will set up hot desking in the physical office.
Here are 3 steps to help you get started with implementing desk booking software:
1. Collect Data & Buy-In From Key Stakeholders
Start off by auditing your employees’ needs—gathering information from everyone from executives and managers to individual contributors—to learn more about how a desk booking solution can help. Needs will range from:
- Helping employees feel more comfortable or productive when on-site to
- Improving workspace utilization and efficiency to
- Aligning with the organization’s overall hybrid workplace strategy.
After collecting the data, getting buy-in from other key stakeholders (like the CHRO and/or the CIO) is a good idea to show the positive impact this solution could have across the organization.
For instance, to get IT on board, make sure the desk booking software fits into the organization as a whole, including:
- Integration with existing systems and infrastructure (office management software, calendars, collaboration tools, access control systems, etc.).
- Customization and configuration offered to meet the organization’s unique requirements.
- How user-friendly and easy it is for employees to book a desk or other spaces.
Finally, evaluate the physical office’s suitability for hot desking. Consider factors like layout, furniture, and technology infrastructure to ensure that the workspace is designed to support hot desking efficiently, with adequate power outlets, internet connectivity, and storage options. Consider questions like:
- How many desks do you need?
- Will you set up office neighborhoods?
- Do your teams or departments need specific workstations, amenities, or equipment?
- Should you employ automation rules to decide how and when people can book spaces?
Once you have all the data and stakeholder buy-in, you're ready to find a desk booking solution that fits your organization's needs.
2. Create Hot Desking Policies
Once you’ve selected a desk booking app, the next step is to set up specific policies to ensure all employees have access to a clean and well-equipped space for them to work productively.
We suggest creating the following policies for a positive employee experience with desk booking:
Fair and Equal Bookings
Develop a clear and comprehensive user policy that outlines the rules, procedures, and expectations for employees when reserving desks or spaces. The purpose of this policy is to mitigate problems such as:
- Limited availability due to high demand: When a limited number of desks are available, employees may find themselves without a workspace, affecting their ability to collaborate, concentrate, or access necessary resources.
- Competitive booking: Certain desks or spaces may be favored due to their location, amenities, or proximity to colleagues. That can lead to employees rushing to book the same spaces, resulting in inequitable distribution and a disadvantage to some.
- Last-minute cancellations: When an employee cancels their booking, there may not be sufficient time for others to rebook the space, resulting in unused resources and frustration for those unable to secure a desk.
Maintaining Cleanliness and Organization
Provide clear guidelines for desk cleanliness and etiquette, such as clearing personal items at the end of the day, keeping shared areas tidy, and using designated storage areas.
Cleaning requirements for shared spaces may include:
- Regular Cleaning: Implement a cleaning schedule for shared spaces, including desks, meeting rooms, and common areas. Determine the frequency based on the number of users and the level of foot traffic.
- Sanitization Supplies: Provide supplies such as disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizers, and tissues in easily accessible locations throughout the shared spaces. Establish guidelines for disinfecting shared equipment before and after use.
- Clear Desk Policy: Encourage employees to maintain a “clear desk” policy where personal belongings are stored away when not in use. This facilitates easier cleaning. Organizations may use lockers or cubbies to store personal belongings.
Reporting Damages and Issues
Amenities and equipment are bound to incur damages or break down with constant use. Ensure you have clear and effective policies for reporting these issues to avoid delays in the fix.
An effective policy for reporting damages and issues may include:
- Reporting Channels: Set up a clear reporting system for employees to report any damages or issues they encounter, including a dedicated channel for urgent matters. This can be through an online form, an email address, or a centralized reporting platform.
- Detailed Descriptions: Encourage employees to provide detailed descriptions of the problem or damage, including the location, the issue, and any relevant information. Allow employees to attach photos or videos to provide visual evidence.
- Timely Responses: Ensure a designated team or individual is responsible for promptly reviewing and responding to reported issues. Set clear expectations regarding response times.
3. Provide Ample Time to Communicate and Train
Before you formally roll out the new desk booking system, make sure you let employees know about the upcoming changes early. This gives you time to explain the benefits and address employees’ concerns or questions. Continue the conversation by providing a two-way communication channel where employees can ask questions and give feedback.
Additionally, consider giving employees a few weeks before implementation to try out the desk booking software and provide training to familiarize them with the new system. For instance, organizations can provide a training guide and Loom videos to guide employees through basic booking procedures.
Adapting Desk Booking Software to Meet Hybrid Work Goals
Desk booking software makes hybrid work easier, but how it fits into your company will vary. Continuously monitor the hot desking implementation to see what’s working and what’s not, and make necessary system adjustments and improvements so that the implementation meets your organization’s goals.
Measure the success of hot desking by establishing metrics, such as employee satisfaction, productivity levels, and space utilization. Using desk booking software that provides insights and analytics on the usage of your space can be invaluable in this case. For instance, knowing which spaces are popular and which are underutilized can help you shape your booking policy and re-evaluate space usage. By regularly evaluating these metrics to assess the impact of hot desking on your organization, you can make data-driven decisions that continuously improve your employees’ hybrid work experiences.
If you’re ready to start scheduling and booking desks and rooms, create your free Skedda account today.