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In today’s hybrid world, a desk booking app is considered an essential return-to-work technology.
A desk booking app is a hands-free way for people to book a desk from their phones. You can use it in your workplace to help employees find and reserve an available seat in advance or in the moment. It arms people with information — the status and location of desks — and a sense of agency over their workday by providing them with the knowledge and tools needed to manage their experience. With a desk booking app, your employees can view a variety of workspace options and pick the one that aligns nicely with their personal preferences — which can have a positive impact on their creativity, focus, and productivity.
A desk booking app solves several workplace management challenges in today’s challenging era, as well. First, it allows employees to choose where to work so they can collaborate with their colleagues at a safe distance. Because they’re using their phone for desk booking, it’s as sanitary as any touchless technology. And because end-users are actively using the tool, there’s more data collected by your desk reservation system that workplace leaders can easily use to monitor space utilization, make adjustments as needed, and stay on top of their important tasks like keeping shared workspaces clean.
Here’s a closer look at why a desk booking app is more important than ever and how to find the best one.
In short, it’s what your employees will expect when they return to work. After the pandemic hit, a 2020 Gensler survey found 52% of employees surveyed said they expected to see a greater distance between workspaces. Some workplaces accomplished this by reconfiguring their office designs and others pushed reopening plans back or allowed a limited number of employees in their space at any given time.
With the end of the pandemic in sight, buildings are reopening their doors and people are looking forward to socializing and engaging in person again. But according to the most recent US Workplace Survey conducted by Gensler in Winter 2021, over one-third of workers surveyed believed their company had not yet prepared the work environment to support a hybrid model.
In the future, more companies are expected to implement flexible workplace strategies like desk hoteling or hot desk booking to allow employees to choose where they sit on days they come into the office.
However, not all hybrid seating strategies are equal in employees’ eyes. Some say they want their employer to eliminate hot desking entirely. Why? Hot desking is a less formal version of desk booking, allowing employees to grab any desk on a first-come, first-served basis. With hot-desking systems, it can be more difficult to find an available workspace. It’s also nearly impossible to see which desks have been used and when they were last cleaned. With a desk booking app, you can support desk hoteling, hot desking’s more attractive cousin with better hygiene.
Desk booking offers many advantages for both your employees and your leadership team. If you’re encountering resistance to the idea, here are a few quick reasons to say “yes” to desk booking with an app.
Here are a few key benefits of desk booking:
Long before the pandemic, employees have been asking for more flexibility to choose when, where, and how they work. That’s more true today than ever before. In a recent survey by The Adecco Group, 77% of employees expressed this sentiment about returning to work.
A Gallup poll conducted prior to the pandemic even found 37% of employees would be willing to leave their current job to work in a more flexible office environment.
Employees can use a desk booking app to reserve any space from home, before even coming into the office. Or, if they forget to plan ahead, they can book it on their commute to work or do so upon arrival. This gives them the freedom to work remotely a few days a week and come to the office when they it makes sense — for instance, they might want to use the office to find desks near their team so they can work on a big project with their colleagues, or maybe they just want a break from their noisy household and need to find a quiet place to work where they won’t be interrupted.
Having real-time data on which desks are being used at any given time and the ability to see trends over time makes it easier for your executive team to plan for future real estate needs. The ability to analyze insights from their desk booking data also allows leaders to adjust their space to better support occupants in a day and age characterized by fluctuating office utilization.
From a management perspective, one of the biggest benefits of desk booking is the ability to reduce real estate costs. Desk booking increases the ratio of employees to desks, allowing you to accommodate more people with fewer dedicated workspaces. In CBRE’s 2020 Global Occupier Sentiment Survey, 73% of senior real estate executives said flexible office space will be a part of their long-term real estate strategy.
Desk booking frees up office resources. When Sun Microsystems deployed desk hoteling at their office in Santa Clara, California, they learned that at least half of their employees were working off-site or at home the majority of the time. The workplace leadership soon figured out that roughly half of their dedicated desks could be made available to the rest of the staff and visiting employees.
Using desk booking software that includes a desk booking app also makes it easier for employees to find what they need without feeling like they’re bothering someone else.
Assigned desks can become magnets for clutter. Employees tend to use them as a place to keep a pile of jackets, blankets, snacks, and other personal items, which makes it harder to keep these spaces clean. A desk booking system democratizes your workspaces and gives employees more incentive to keep them clean because they could potentially use any desk.
If your workplace is new to desk hoteling or you’re switching from hot desking to a more formal desk reservation system, you want to make sure you choose the right technology. The best desk booking apps are easy to use, yet robust enough to give you data that helps you plan ahead.
Here are four key features to look for.
Look for a desk booking app that allows employees to easily find available workspaces on a map of your floor plan and reserve them in seconds. The reservation should appear on the Outlook, Microsoft 365, or Google calendars they already use.
The average employee has three meetings during a typical day. In addition to needing a quiet place to work, they also need access to an available room. Many workplaces use meeting room scheduling displays, but if an employee is planning out their day or their week from home, it’s easier to use the same app to book everything. That’s why a space booking system that’s both a desk booking app and conference room scheduling app is an ideal solution for modern organizations.
A workspace may appear to be reserved in your desk reservation system, but in reality, it’s sitting empty. While enabling check-in can significantly reduce these “ghost” reservations, sensors offer the most up-to-date information on which spaces are actually being used. This also gives you the most accurate space utilization data when it’s time to clean or sanitize them.
The desk booking app you choose should be backed by a robust software system that gives you valuable insights into which spaces are booked most often, the average length of booking time, and which days of the week have the highest demand for desks. This helps your executive team plan ahead.
Hybrid employees who had access to the right tools had the highest levels of productivity and engagement, according to one study. With a desk booking app, employees have access to the information they need and are able to take action when they’re ready. Teem’s employee desk booking app, for instance, lets users:
Giving your employees an easy option for room and desk booking is an important part of facilitating a smooth transition back to the workplace. And with Teem’s mobile desk booking app, you can also send important announcements to keep your workforce informed of any changes or notifications.
With the Teem mobile app, employees can easily book desks in a few simple steps:
Plus, if an employee does not check in after a certain period of time, the desk or room will become available again. With a hybrid workforce, you can expect schedules to fluctuate and change on a dime — so this feature is really helpful for freeing up space when people forget to cancel their reservations. That way, the space is free for others to use — no harm, no foul.
It can be challenging to evaluate workplace tech and find the solution that’s right for your organization. Our Ultimate Workplace Technology Buyer’s Guide makes it easier. Download it here.
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