You’ve circled the company wagons and made the decision to introduce desk hoteling stations as part of your return-to-work strategy. For the uninitiated, hoteling desks or hoteling stations refer to a method of supporting unassigned seating in an agile work environment.
Perhaps you’ve begun adjusting your office to adhere to public health guidelines, decided to stagger work shifts and reduce capacity. Maybe you crunched the numbers and realized you can save on real estate costs — your second biggest overhead expense as a company — by redesigning your floor plans and implementing desk hoteling.
Or maybe you've decided to take a new approach and offer employees the flexibility of choosing if, and when, they come into the office.
Whatever is driving your plans for more flexible desk arrangements, you recognize that the business case for space sharing is significant. You’re ready to embark on the new normal.
Now, you just need to ensure a successful transition. Here are some tips on exactly how to navigate the switch to desk hoteling.
Desk hoteling is a space-sharing practice that enables employees to reserve their workstations, much like booking a hotel room. It's similar to hot desking, where employees can choose available spaces when they arrive, but with a formal desk reservation system.
Even prior to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, many employers were shifting to flexible seating arrangements to improve collaboration and provide significant cost savings benefits. Desk hoteling makes this easier to accomplish.
Now, with health and safety at the forefront of everyone's minds, companies are looking for innovative ways to create a safer, more productive work environment. In addition to physically distanced work areas, de-densifying the office, and enacting stricter cleaning protocols, hoteling desks offer a safe solution for returning to the office. And while some employees will remain at home, a recent Gensler report indicates that most employees want to return to the office at least part of the time.
To address both of those factors, your office configuration and workspace assignments will need to be adjustable and flexible. Desk hoteling can solve these challenges. Plus, technology has made the practice of desk hoteling even easier to manage. Desk hoteling software gives employees instant visibility into available spaces so they can reserve them any time.
Expect some skepticism from employees, especially if they have been part of an open office or workplace that used hot desking before. Some employees will be reluctant to give up their window seat or their cozy corner. Others just want to know whether their space will be clean, where they can store their belongings, and how they'll be able to find their colleagues.
Fortunately, hoteling desks are a much better alternative to the traditional methods people dislike. Here are five tips for addressing employees' concerns when you switch to desk hoteling.
If you have a strong business case for why and how desk hoteling will benefit your company, help your employees understand that vision. When you have loyal, engaged employees who see how this switch is going to help you achieve your company's goals, they’re more likely to jump on board without second-guessing your motives.
Introduce the switch to hoteling desks as part of a more comprehensive company goal — such as reducing the risk of coronavirus, increasing productivity and collaboration, or enabling flextime. Employees who believe in the company and recognize desk hoteling as a way to strengthen it will adapt more easily to the changes.
Even when faced with a strong business case, there are always some who will be resistant to change, or who simply don't want to share desks. Your second effort will be to demonstrate why this change will build and strengthen not only the company but the individuals who make up the company. In other words, demonstrate what's in it for them when you switch to desk hoteling.
The key? Invite them to be part of the process. When teams and individuals provide input into the redesign of the way they work, they develop insight into the needs, the trade-offs, and the benefits. They feel accountable to make it the best and to make hoteling desks work.
With desk hoteling software, employees have the ability to find and reserve their workstation on demand. Having a choice in their space helps them feel empowered, which is important during such turbulent times. And since your workplace leaders will be able to designate which hoteling desks and spaces are safely distanced and can be reserved, employees will be reassured that you are protecting their health and well-being.
There’s a reason this is one of the very first tips: Cloud document storage is absolutely essential for desk hoteling to be effective, because it allows employees to work anywhere they have an internet connection. Whether it’s at hoteling desks within your office, at home, or on the road, the flexibility of cloud storage also mitigates the loss of data and ensures everyone has the most up-to-date version of documents like office policies and procedures, client proposals, training documents, statements of work, and contracts.
With visibility into which hoteling desks are being reserved, it will be easier to clean and disinfect spaces before they can be used again.
Providing an attractive desktop — including artwork, plants, and other features that bring an element of beauty and fun — will help employees enjoy their surroundings. It will also keep people from claiming “their territory” by lining their own knickknacks on their favorite desk.
A mobile file cabinet is a great way to introduce mobility and versatility into a desk-sharing environment. Hoteling desks with mobile storage can benefit work environments because a great workspace is not only defined by style, but also by function.
Having a mobile file cabinet serve as a team storage unit will increase efficiency and foster the habit of returning files to team storage so they’re accessible to all. Also, shared libraries of reference materials have the benefit of reducing duplication and preventing personal silos of information.
The benefits that Wi-Fi technology has to offer are endless. However, here are a few leading reasons to implement the best Wi-Fi solution possible when deploying a desk hoteling model.
First, it offers global accessibility. You can connect to a network anywhere in the world with a Wi-Fi-enabled device, allowing for widespread coverage. This is crucial for staying connected. It also makes communication easier.
Another big benefit of Wi-Fi and cloud-based software solutions is their cost-effectiveness and ease of implementation. Cloud-based solutions typically require minimal upfront investment and cost very little to maintain and update.
Plan to invest in desk reservation software when you make the switch to desk hoteling. The option to reserve desks in advance has single-handedly revived the concept of hot-desking, which felt like a frustrating game of musical chairs each morning.
For your employees who are more effective when they know they can secure a specific, quiet spot by a window in order to meet a deadline, and employees who need a large conference room for collaborating safely, you need to have a system in place where they can reserve a certain hoteling desk or room for an hour, half day, or even the entire day.
Identify someone who can serve as a desk hoteling coordinator and monitor this system, making sure everyone is following protocol and that desks and other areas are being reserved and used appropriately.
You can manage conference room scheduling in a similar way. Using conference room digital signage, you can show employees which rooms are available, limit room capacity, and allow them to reserve the space that best supports their needs.
Desk hoteling supports a flexible workplace today's employees have come to expect.
However, the move to hoteling desks must be supported by your employees. With a shared vision and the technology to support it — including desk hoteling solutions and conference booking software — you can make this new workplace strategy work for everyone.