Desk booking systems are on the rise as organizations figure out how to be smart about their workspace. Leaders are looking for ways to provide the best on-site experience for folks as they encourage them to choose the office over home–at least for part of the week.
In a world of hybrid working, offering a desk booking system that employees can use easily and learn to love is important. In this post, we’ll be exploring:
- What is a desk booking system?
- Why you need a desk booking system
- 7 essential features to look out for in a great desk booking system
- How to use a desk booking system in your office
What is a desk booking system?
A desk booking system is a flexible tool that allows employees to reserve different types of workspaces in the office, such as standing desks or dual monitor desks, as and when they need it. Choosing the right desk booking system for your business will depend on what flexible seating model your organization has chosen to go with. There are two types of models your desk booking system can support:
- Hot desking: A short-term, on-demand way of reserving a desk on the day.
- Office hoteling: Longer-term reservations for employees to book a desk for a set period of time.
A desk booking system supports a hybrid workplace. As people come and go on flexible work schedules, there’s no guaranteed capacity for your office to support. A desk booking system enables you to provide enough desks to your people as they come and go to the workplace–hassle free.
Why you need a desk booking system
A desk booking system works for organizations of all shapes and sizes. It should provide peace of mind for your employees as they come on-site. After all, the last thing you want is for folks to feel uncertain about whether they’ve got the right spot for them to be productive on-site. Otherwise they could have just stayed at home. A desk booking system can help:
- Give you insight into how your workplace is used. Are collaboration spaces booked out while individual desks sit vacant? Or do more people book desks with certain amenities (like dual screens) more than others? Getting a clearer picture of how your workstations are used helps you meet the needs of your employees longer-term.
- Reduce real estate costs by eliminating wasted space. A desk booking system allows you to see how your office space is used and unlocks ways for you to optimize it instead of wasting space. For example, if you’re finding that less than 50% of desks are being booked throughout the week, you might swap out desks for a different space or consider downsizing the office to save on cost.
- Support collaboration and employee experience. Desk booking systems make collaboration between coworkers and teams easier. Sitting next to the right people, in the right space, allows you to be your most productive and engaged self at work. Switching up who you sit next to also allows you to meet new people, hear new perspectives, and learn new things.
- Drive productivity. A desk booking system gives people peace of mind that they’ve reserved a space that allows them to do their job optimally–whether that’s collaborating with coworkers or getting into the zone. The more folks feel comfortable booking and sitting at a desk that suits their needs, the more productive and engaged they’ll be in their role.
- Promote a safe workplace. A desk booking system allows people to choose desks that they feel most comfortable working from, whether that’s closer or further away from coworkers.
7 essential features to look out for in a great desk booking system
Understanding the benefits of a desk booking system will help you know whether it’s the right choice for your business. The next step is understanding what makes a great desk booking system. Here’s 7 essential features you should look for when choosing the best desk booking system for your business:
1. Mobile app
Booking your desk should be pain-free. And what’s easier than using your phone to reserve your desk? With a mobile desk reservation app, your employees can quickly use their phones to search for available desks and book one, all in less than 30 seconds. Flexible and responsive, desk reservation apps are especially useful for companies embracing a hybrid work model.
2. Desk amenities
Having different desk amenities in your office allows employees to filter, find, and book the perfect desk they need for the day. This includes different tools and setups, such as dual monitors, standings desks, and ergonomic chairs. Remember, folks work in different ways and therefore have different needs in the office. It’s important to cater for everyone if you want to have a thriving workplace.
Having a desk booking system that maps out the different types of workspaces available in your office will help people find and reserve the right spot for them.
If you want your desk booking system to encourage team building, then consider neighborhoods as a key feature. Neighborhoods are designated areas for specific teams or functions to collaborate together while in the workplace. This can help drive productivity and enjoyment as folks get to sit near teammates and collaborate together.
Hot tip: This feature can also be used to create designated quiet zones too.
4. Auto release
When you choose a desk booking system, look for a built-in feature that can respond to no-shows. That means setting a grace period and auto-releasing the desk when the user hasn’t checked in so someone else can book it. That way, people looking to come on-site have an accurate view of who is in and how many desks are available.
5. Workplace maps
With a desk booking app that displays a map of all available desks for the day, your employees can easily find a new desk that suits their needs—directly from the map. They also won’t have to fight over spaces they want to work from (bonus). Having an interactive workplace map provides a real-time view, including historical data, about the layout and use of your workplace. It’ll also help with collaboration, teams, and new hires who are still figuring out who’s who.
6. Ease of use
Make sure your desk booking system is easy to use. Implementing technology can be annoying at the best of times, especially training people across hybrid and remote settings. Ensure your desk booking system is easy to use and people can work it out
Your desk booking system needs to seamlessly integrate with the rest of your technology. If it doesn’t, it becomes clunky, unreliable, and a pain to use.
Choose a desk booking solution that has the right integrations available with the rest of your technology. Common pairings include Microsoft Teams, Google, Okta, and Slack. With the right integrations, employees can book their desk easily, get prompts of their reservation, get lunch connected with their desk, and more.
How to use a desk booking system in your office
Now you know what a desk booking system is and the key features you should look out for when choosing the best one. But how does a desk booking solution actually work? Here’s a step-by-step on how it works in practice:
- Designate which desks are available. Determine which desks are available to book, permanently assigned, or unavailable. Assign amenities to desks so employees can find and book their perfect desk for the day.
- Employees book a desk. Using a mobile app, employees book a desk for the day or in advance right from their phone (or laptop if they keep it old-school). They can choose where they sit, depending on what they need to get done and who they need to work with during the day.
- Automatically sit teammates near each other. If neighborhoods are a key feature that will work well for your organization, then automatically seating teammates together can be a great way to drive collaboration.
- Get smart about your space. Use data to get an accurate view of who and how many people plan to work on-site each day. That way, you can right-size your layout to support your team and minimize wasted space.
When folks know they have a workstation reserved that will provide the optimal environment they need to be productive and happy in the workplace, they are far likelier to choose to be on-site.