As businesses look for ways to be more agile and productive, the hybrid mode of work and flexible workspaces are becoming more and more common. Desk booking systems are being adopted more often to cater for the hybrid office. In this article we would like to highlight 4 benefits of using a desk booking system for the hybrid office.
What we denote as a flexible office space is an environment where employees can work in a variety of settings like say, a co-working space, hot desks or an open plan office.
A flexible office space allows businesses to scale up or down as necessary and has become the buzzword these days. But the concept of flexible workspaces did not develop overnight.
A Brief History of The Office
Credits: Office Photos
The history of office design suggests that the early open-plan offices which became popular in the early 20th century followed the principles of ‘Taylorism’, an office space design methodology created by engineer Frank Taylor that laid the foundation for open-plan office history.
At the time, open-plan offices resembled crammed, factory-like grids that managers could observe from their private offices.
After World War 2, the office space was reinvented through ‘Bürolandschaft’, a German word for ‘office landscape’ that celebrated egalitarianism, ‘human-ness’ and collaboration. Taylor’s factory-like grid gave way to irregular, geometric pathways and potted plants and curved screens were used as dividers.
Next came the Action Office designed by American inventor Robert Propst, which was a “flexible combination” of tables, desks and walls, designed to set workers free.
Propst accidentally created the cubicle to cater to the rising demand for cheaper furniture that took up less space.
The Modern Workforce
As technology developed with the invention of laptops, employees became more mobile and ushered in a golden period for office design where new, more flexible ways of working came into existence.
As mobility became the trend, office design embraced ‘hot desking’ where staff weren’t allocated space, but rather picked an available space to work from.
Presently, we are surrounded by the latest technology enabling us to work effectively from nearly anywhere. As a result, businesses are looking at hi-tech workplace solutions that have the potential to cut costs yet improve employee productivity.
A McKinsey survey noted that more than 50% of respondents are optimizing their real-estate portfolios or have already done so. At the top of their list is flexible desk arrangements.
As an employer or manager, you know that desks are where your employees do most of the work. In most offices, desks comprise almost 60%-70% of the occupied area. But the question is, are these desks always occupied by your employees?
According to a report by Inc., as much as 40% of an office’s dedicated desk space is unused on a given day.
Desks are often permanently assigned to a specific staff without really knowing how frequently it is being occupied. For example, a field support engineer or sales executive is assigned a seat but hardly ever occupies it. That specific desk remains vacant most of the time while it is still being paid for.
Every square foot of a working space demands a rental payment, the cost of maintaining utilities & services and other implicit expenses. Optimizing the efficient use of desks can save time and money while improving the employee experience.
Consider this case: A company has 50 employees. They had rented two floors of office space with each floor having 25 desks.
With the end of the pandemic in sight, the company wanted to call back employees to the office by introducing a Hybrid mode of work, where a certain number of employees will be working remotely on a given day and the rest of the employees will work from office during the same time. And while the former will come to office, the latter will work remotely.
The company came to us to optimize the use of desks. After we installed the ecobook software, they were able to manage with just one floor and 25 desks for their 50 employees. Also, employees saved time while collaborating with each other as all of them were on the same floor.
With the arrival of the hybrid office, the first step to improving space usage is to start controlling desk usage. This can be done with a “Desk Booking System.”
Desk Booking System: What is it?
A desk booking system is basically a space-scheduling tool that helps you or your employees book and share workspaces (read desks) in a hybrid office. You can not only book the desks but also track who is using them and for how long.
Why should you invest in a Desk Booking System?
By using desk booking, you can ensure that employees have the desks they need when they need them and that the desk is used efficiently.
Here are 4 benefits of using a desk booking system in the office to better manage desk utilization and maximize the office space investment:
1. Better Utilization of Office Space
The desk booking system allows for better utilization of the office. How? Simple!
- Ask your employees to reserve desks before coming to work and check in upon their arrival. This will help you to accurately determine the usage and occupancy of the space. When combined with an occupancy sensor, you can even capture real-time data on the usage of these spaces.
Say, for example, employee A has reserved a desk for himself at the office. Sensors will detect if employee A is occupying the desk for the time he/she has booked it and if yes, then for how long. If employee A is occupying the desk for 8 hours, three days a week, the company can encourage another employee to use the same desk for the remaining two days of the week.
- Your employees can find and locate desks near their colleagues with whom they need to collaborate on a project. This enables them to make informed decisions about where to book desks rather than occupy one desk and then sit in another location to work with a colleague.
- Implement policies such as checking in and out of desks to record actual usage time. If your sales personnel are mostly in the field and only come to the office for short periods, then they can reserve desks for the duration of their stay in the office.
- You can release desks that are reserved but not occupied so that they can be used by someone else.
2. Insights into Analytics
You will be able to understand employee behaviour a lot better with data derived from desk booking solutions. Get access to information such as:
- Utilization rates and patterns that help determine the demand and supply of desks vis a vis employees.
- Occupancy rates that help determine how efficiently the space is being used.
- No Shows and auto-cancellation reports that provide valuable insights into the level of space abuse.
3. Ability to Plan Ahead
If you get insights into how your employees are using the desks, you can plan ahead to optimize the usage of office space. You can easily enforce:
- Booking limits such as lead times and advance booking window periods that prevent users from booking way in advance and then forgetting about the need for the space.
- Control over the days of the week or times of the day when desks are available. This allows for scheduled cleaning and/or sanitization.
- Zoning and planning desk allocation to different departments, projects, or groups based on demand.
- Tighter security through access rights permissions and visibility levels that help keep track of employee movement to prevent unnecessary intermingling and exposure, especially during these pandemic times.
4. Cost Savings
From a business perspective, desk booking allows you to reduce real estate costs by increasing the ratio of employees to desks. It equips you with the information to answer questions like:
- How much space capacity is needed for future growth?
- Is there a possibility of improving utilization by readjusting seating?
- What is the impact of moving to a hybrid workplace?
Desk booking systems have become a necessity for companies that need to maximize their space investment while helping employees to be more productive at work.
Going for desk booking may seem like a very daunting task. But it is not. Implementing desk booking is easy using ecobook.
Whether you are a listed company, a large multi-national or a small business, ecobook helps you to manage your desk bookings with ease and simplicity.