Challenges of the hybrid workplace #1: Desk booking

The hybrid workplace gives employees a level of flexibility they’ve become accustomed to and eases the return to the office, but the transition to hybrid still has its challenges.


For decades punch cards were used to let employers monitor when their employees were working, but in the days of remote working and hybrid workplaces, finding out where employees are working from is far more important.

Whether it’s for facilitating collaboration or because you are converting to a reduced-size office, every modern company needs a way to find out whether their employees are working from home or from the office.

Some companies choose to have designated work-from-home days, but that solution significantly reduces the flexibility that the hybrid workplace has to offer. So, what are the options?
In a series of articles, we’ll explore the challenges of the hybrid workplace, and in this first instalment, we’ll look at how desk booking can ease the challenges employees face when mixing remote and in-office work, but first, we’ll look at some of the benefits employers have to gain from converting to a hybrid workplace.



Seizing the benefits of hybrid workplaces

As an employer one of the major benefits of converting your workplace to hybrid, is the opportunity to reduce your office size. Plain and simple.

Instead of having one assigned desk for each employee, you can choose to have your office space seat only 70% of your employees at any one time, significantly reducing the cost of running an office.

But the benefits provided by hybrid working isn’t limited to cutting cost. Surveys show that employees who enjoy a higher level of flexibility in where they work experience reduced stress levels and increased productivity.*

However, a hybrid workplace does leave every single employee with one major challenge; how do they make sure there’s a desk available for them when they arrive?


No one wants to play musical chairs for their office desk



While many people use their morning commute to prepare for a busy day, getting their thoughts in order, there are few things worse than going through the morning commute, only to realize you have to go back home the moment you arrive – no matter the reason.

With hybrid workplaces, hot desking and reduced-size offices becoming commonplace, getting a desk in the office can quickly turn into a game of musical chairs, especially if you don’t have a good way of handling things like desk booking.


Desk booking software is essential in the hybrid workplace



Having to register your availability in shared spreadsheets or by messaging your team manager every Friday will quickly become cumbersome, unreliable, and almost as annoying as showing up in the office only to realize that there’s no available desk.

It doesn’t matter if the primary purpose is letting your colleagues know whether you will be working from home or in the office, or if it’s making sure there’s a desk available when you show up in the office, having a simple and reliable desk booking software is an integral part of working in a hybrid format.

One thing you need to consider before choosing a desk booking software, however, is what it needs to be able to do. This will both depend on the needs of the company and the employees.


What do employees need from their desk booking software?

What you should look for when you browse for desk booking software will depend on the size of your company, how you’ve chosen to implement hybrid working, and the makeup of the employees, which is why it’s always a good idea to listen to your colleagues, before deciding. That said, there are several features which will benefit employees of all levels, no matter how the company is structured:

  • A way to book desks quickly and easily
  • The ability to easily find out who and how many employees will be in the office on which days
  • A desk check-in procedure to enable a real time overview of who’s in the office

A way to book desks quickly and easily

If you need to manually select date, time and desk for every single booking, the process is in danger of becoming both too complicated for what you are trying to achieve, and too repetitive.

Because of this, finding a desk booking software which includes one-click booking of a favorite or most recently booked desk can ease the process by a large margin.


The ability to find out who’s in the office and when

A great amount of flexibility requires a great amount of foresight. Planning when you will be in the office and when you will work from home becomes a lot easier when you know where key team members are located.

Because of this, you not only need to be able to see which desks are available, you also need a way to find out who’s occupying which and when.


A real-time overview of who’s in the office

With reduced-size offices, there’s of course always the chance that every desk is booked before you get around to booking yourself. If one of the colleagues who booked a desk calls in sick, or decides to work from home for other reasons, their desk will remain unused.

Therefore, desk check-in procedures can be a valuable way to maximize desk usage in your office. That way, employees who suddenly need a desk in the middle of the day, or who didn’t get a chance to book one in the first place, can get a real time overview of which desks aren’t occupied because a colleague called in sick, or chose to work from home despite their having booked a desk.


Up next: Collaboration in a time of hybrid workplaces

We are currently running a series of articles on the challenges of converting to a hybrid work format and how to solve them. In the next instalment of the series, we’ll look at how to facilitate meetings and accommodate in-person collaboration in the hybrid workplace.



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