Women Sitting In Hot Desking Area

3 Ways To Allow Desk Booking Check-ins And Their Implications

With the growth in open-seating concepts driven by the hybrid work culture, organizations struggle with optimizing desk space usage for their employees. Planning and organization of desks becomes even more critical to work than ever before in the open seating environment. It is a loss of opportunity for employees to arrive at the office and not find a desk to work. One of the ways that desk usage can be tracked, managed, and analyzed is through a desk booking system that also has a check-in feature. Here, we discuss 3 ways of checking into the desk using the desk booking checkins and their implications in terms of cost and accuracy.


Web Based/Mobile Check-in

Web Check-in Screen

In this method, employees can log into the web portal through their browser or through their mobile app and check into their desks by simply clicking the checkin button. The check-in button will automatically be enabled at a pre-defined time before the start of the reservation, allowing staff to settle down early. While this is an easy method of tracking usage, it allows the employee to check in without physically being in the office, causing confusion and false data captures especially when they are not present in the office. 

QR-Code Check-in

QR-code Scan

In this method, each desk has a unique QR-Code associated with it. The QR-Codes are generated by the desk booking checkins and can be printed out and stuck onto the desks. Staff that arrive at the office scan the QR-Code stuck onto the desk and then check into their reservation. In this case, the check-in button is only enabled when the QR-Code is scanned. This is one of the most popular methods of checking in. The fact that staff needs to come to the office to scan the QR-Code increases the odds of them using the desk. While not as expensive as the next option, this requires that the desks are properly planned, numbered and QR-Code printed. The downside is staff being able to scan a picture of the QR-Codes, which may render this method less accurate.

Tablet Check-in

Tablet Check-in

In this method, each desk has a digital tablet mounted on top of it providing an interactive method of desk booking checkins. Employees arrive at the desk and tap their staff card or enter their unique PIN to occupy that desk. The tablet also allows staff to book the desk making it even more convenient than the web or mobile app. This is by far the most accurate method of tracking desk utilization. However, it is more expensive than the rest of the methods as the tablets need to be mounted on top of each desk.

Check-in Strategy

So, given all these methods of desk booking, which one is the right one to use? And what are the implications of choosing a specific type of strategy?

Well, it depends on a few factors such as the number of desks, the level of granularity and accuracy of the data that is to be captured, the investment budget, and the office culture. 


Number of desks

The number of desks plays an important part in the choice of approach to the check-in method. A large number of desks may rule out the Tablet check-in method as there is a need to purchase tablets and mount, configure and set them up. This is a heavy upfront investment. A medium number of desks where staff rotation is high can open up the opportunity to install Tablet check-in so that desk occupancy can be more accurately captured. For a small office, a simple Web and Mobile app check-in process may suffice as it is easier to track and monitor.


Granularity & Accuracy of data

The most accurate means of capturing desk utilization is through the tablet approach. The employee needs to physically be present at the location to be able to check in. The check-in requires them to enter their PIN or scan their office card. The next level of accuracy is through a QR-Code that requires scanning at the desk. Essentially, when QR-Code is placed on each desk, it is implied that the employee needs to scan it and check-in. Ecobook can be configured to enable checking in only when the QR-Code is scanned. Finally, the least accurate will be through a web or mobile-based check-in process.


Investment Budget

The level of investment in the office plays a big part in the choice of check-in method. Tablets are the most expensive with the need to budget for not only the hardware device itself but also the cabling, mounting, configuration, and replacement in case the device fails. QR-Code is more of a one-time printing option and seems to be the most popular choice among large organizations with hundreds or thousands of desks. Finally, the web and mobile-based check-in are free with no need for any investment in QR-codes or tablets.


Office Culture

The office culture plays a very important part in the choice of the check-in option. An open office culture where people are trusted to do the right thing may not need a heavy investment in terms of gathering occupancy data. So, a web or mobile-based check-in is fine. An office culture where territory and politics play is part of the culture and where employees require explicit instructions will need more fine-grained control such as QR-Codes and Tablets. We see less and less of these types of culture as we move into the new hybrid working environment, but it still exists in older and more hierarchical organizations that are slowly making a transition to the new way of working.



While there are different methods of checking into the desk, many factors come into play such as the ease of use, the investment required, the office culture, and the level of data accuracy expected. Depending on the type of organization, there are always avenues to capture occupancy data so that proper planning of the space can be carried out.

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