Up until the pandemic, the office was the place where we spent most of our time.
Earlier, employers were not so much concerned about the comfort of their employees. For a very long period, employees were crammed into offices in what came to be known as the cubicle firm. The History of Office Design adopted the philosophy ‘stack them highly; sell them cheap’.
Thankfully, we have moved away from this depressive office model and are presently enjoying the golden period for office design where new, more flexible ways of working, including that which requires desk booking, are becoming increasingly popular.
You may think that setting up a desk booking system in your office may be a mammoth task; one that needs the entire workplace to be overhauled. However, the process to implement a desk booking system like ecobook in your office is very easy.
These are the things you need to do:
Upload the Office Layout
To make the best use of ecobook, get your floor plan layouts in JPEG or PNG format. If you do not have an image of the layout, you can still create a simple rough layout using Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) format.
If you are using images from programs such as AutoCAD, then remove unnecessary details such as pillars, dimensions and labels so that you only have the bare essentials to display, like desks and meeting rooms.
Use the upload feature to upload your layout and assign them to a location such as a building and level. The next step is to create the desks and mark them on the layout. This is done using a simple point-and-click.
It is visually conducive to see the office layout with desk locations.
Set policies on the desks such as:
- Lead time for booking of desks – This allows you to indicate if staff can book the desk immediately or can only book in advance like 3 hours or 2 days in advance.
- Daily Booking windows – This allows you to limit the timing that is allowed for bookings such as from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm.
- Yearly Booking Windows – This allows how far into the future staff can book a specific desk such as for 12 months.
- Booking on weekends and public holidays – This indicates if staff is allowed to access the system on weekends or public holidays.
- Desks that need approvals – This allows staff to indicate desks that require authorization. So, when someone books these desks, it will require approval by some specific set of people who have oversight over these desks.
Implementing desk booking becomes easier if you assign rights. Not all your staff will have the same set of permissions. Perhaps you would like to segregate desks based on floors, departments or specific cross-functional teams.
Plan the grouping before creating the groups. You can create groups easily from the administration panel and assign users to them. Each group can have permission to either view or book the desks. There are primarily 4 combinations:
1. Hidden desks – desks that cannot be seen by these groups of users even if they are available.
2. View-Only desks – these are desks that can only be viewed.
3. Bookable desks – these are desks that can be viewed and reserved.
4. Managed desks – these are desks that can be reserved with approval.
Some desks may be permanently occupied by a certain group of users. These can be booked long-term or blocked. Doing so prevents staff from being able to book these desks.
Implement Desk Device Hardware
Desk-based devices are hardware products that allow users to check in at their desks upon their arrival and check out when they leave. While this can also be done using the web-based interface, a display panel provides convenience and clear visibility into which spaces are available when entering the office space.
The device sports a LED display that indicates availability in green colour and occupancy in red. Setting up the software component is quite simple. You just have to register each device with a unique identifier.
However, mounting and placing them on the desk can be a more complex task with the need for USB-based power and the availability of Wi-Fi. Once set up, the devices can be locked in with tamper-proof brackets and screws.
Implement Lobby Display
Lobby display touchscreen kiosks allow the staff to view the entire floor plan and check for the availability of seats right in the lobby or reception area. With a simple tap and check-in process, the desk can be reserved immediately.
The lobby kiosk is easy to implement with the same consistent interface that you would get with the web-based interface. However, to access the lobby interface, authentication will be required. This can be achieved using a PIN or a tap of your staff access card.
Selecting Staff Authentication Methods
If you want your staff to use the desk device or the lobby display unit, then it is important to have a seamless authentication mechanism.
Employees usually carry a staff card. The staff card information can be imported into the system using the administration panel on the web. Alternatively, staff can be issued a PIN to help them key in and reserve the desks. The PIN is unique to the staff and a new one can be requested if needed. Alternatively, employee ID or printer PIN or mobile phone number can also be used as the PIN.
Desk booking setup in your office is not difficult with a tool like ecobook. While setting up the hardware could take slightly longer with the planning and preparation for office cabling, etc., a software-based setup can get your office up and running in no time.
So, what are you waiting for?
Embrace tomorrow’s technology today and provide your mobile employees with the flexibility that they crave.