Products are built to tackle problems and support people in their day-to-day lives. This includes at work, at home, and everywhere in between. Products are there to serve a particular function. Features, on the other hand, make each product unique to you or your organization. For example, more than 1.6 billion people own an iPhone. The iPhone is a product, meant to connect people together. But within each iPhone is a whole suite of features that make each phone unique to its owner. The same theory applies for smart space solutions. There are plenty of solutions out there that help with a variety of workspace problems–but you want to find the one that has the exact features you need for your specific problem. Let’s do a deep dive into different features for desk booking, room booking, analytics, and more, so you know what you need to optimize your own space.
Space optimizing features of your room reservation system
If you are a party of two looking for space for a 1:1 discussion, then meeting room etiquette says you shouldn’t book one of the only meeting rooms that can host 10 people. However, when meeting rooms are booked, canceled, and rescheduled on a daily basis, it can become difficult and time-consuming to keep searching for a room that accommodates the right number of attendees. With smart space solutions, this manual task is automated for you. For example, if you accidentally booked that 10 person room for your 1:1, the room resizer feature will automatically prompt you to book you a smaller room for your needs. This then gives other teams and groups the ability to still use the large room if they need it, and no space has been wasted in the process.
In today’s hybrid world, people have more flexibility to come onsite or choose to work from home. That inevitably results in some folks booking rooms in advance and then forgetting to cancel them. It can be frustrating for employees who can’t book a meeting room even though they see empty ones, otherwise known as “ghost rooms.” With an auto-release feature, folks have a set period of time to check-into a meeting before the room automatically releases. This might be five minutes before the meeting start-time and five meetings after the meeting start-time, giving people ten minutes in total to check-in. If no one checks in, that room is freed up for others to use.
Recurring meeting clean-up
We’ve all had that recurring meeting in our calendars that inevitably begins to trail off after multiple cancellations and busy schedules. With a recurring room clean up feature, you can ensure that rooms tied to recurring meetings are automatically removed from the calendar event after attendees miss check-in multiple times.
Plans change, which means meeting rooms will change too. With a room rescheduler feature, you can reschedule your meeting room and be automatically assigned a different room if the original one is no longer available. It will also take into account how many people are invited to the meeting to ensure you have the right size room for your needs.
Color-coded display screens
Having an iPad or tablet outside each meeting room makes it easy to know if a room is sitting empty, occupied, or pending check-in. Folks can quickly assess available meeting rooms by looking at the colors. For example, if a room is free then the tablet will be green. If it’s pending check-in, it’ll show yellow. If it’s occupied, it’ll be red. For folks who want to book a meeting room on the fly, looking at screens outside helps prevent any awkward interruptions or accidentally stealing a reserved room.
Space optimizing features of your desk booking system
This feature enables you to utilize your desks more effectively by automatically releasing desks that an employee no longer needs. For example, if you book a desk in the office but decide not to go in, then the auto-release feature will free up your desk if you haven’t checked in by a set time. This allows you to optimize your space by offering the desk to someone else onsite.
Default desk assignment
Having to go through the same process again and again to book a desk is annoying. That’s why a smart desk feature that remembers the last desk location you booked is helpful and plays a huge role in making your employees’ lives easier when coming onsite. Default desk assignments are pretty simple. It remembers the desk you booked previously and assigns you the same spot if it’s free the next time you book. If you want to change it, it’s easy to do so on an app.
Desk booking by-the-hour
Booking desks by the hour gives you and your employees even more flexibility. If your organization offers flexible working hours, you might find that some folks prefer to start early and leave in the afternoon. Others may plan their day around school drop-off and pick-up. Being able to book a desk by the hour helps admins save space and get a more granular picture of people’s desk needs.
Giving employees the option to book multiple days in advance helps them plan their hybrid week ahead, and helps you know how your space is being used for longer periods of time. For example, those who visit the office three days a week can book a specific or different desk for the week ahead, rather than on a daily basis.
Everyone has favorites, whether it’s a cookie or a coworker. With a favorites feature, your employees can mark certain coworkers or teams as favorites so they can easily see what days they are coming in and they can plan to be there as well. Folks can see where their favorites are sitting and are able to reserve a desk near them to collaborate in person.
Neighborhoods is a feature that allows you to designate sections of your office, or office floors, to specific teams or groups based on capacity. This feature allows you to seat teams or cohorts together, while being mindful of the available space per team.
Interactive maps help you and your employees navigate your office with ease. It helps folks be productive by offering a birds-eye view of everything in your workplace, from rooms, desks, people, and deliveries.
With interactive maps, your employees can look on the map to understand who’s booked a desk on a certain day and where their desk is located. They might choose to book a desk near certain people, or choose to sit away from people to focus. (After all, 33% of people chose chatty coworkers as the biggest deal breaker in returning to the office.) Folks can also see if others have checked-in yet, or whether the desk is still reserved by seeing their status. When someone checks into the office, they will have a green dot next to their picture–much like Instagram or Slack. That makes it easy to know if folks are in the building yet or not.
Real-time meeting room and desk availability
Using interactive maps, your employees can see where each meeting room and desk is located in the office. They can also see if each room and desk is free or not via a status dot, which shows green when available and red when booked. So if you’re feeling focused at your desk but need to hop into a room quickly, simply looking on your map for availability is much easier than walking around. Folks can also book or switch to different desks using interactive maps. Much like coworkers, available desks will show up as green and you can choose your desk based on things like availability, neighborhoods, or next to your work bestie.
Other office areas
Printer room. IT and tech support. Delivery area. Depending on the size of your office, it can sometimes be tricky to find out where these places are. Using interactive maps, you can quickly locate it by zooming out and seeing different rooms around your office. Easy peasy.
What’s the use of smart space solutions, automation, and a ton of fantastic features if you can’t access the valuable insight you need to make informed decisions about your workspace?The most accurate way of optimizing your space is understanding how folks use it. To do that, you must track usage metrics. Space analytics help you spot preferences and trends in how your employees work. They’re also key to justifying investments in space changes and workplace design. Analytics can help you answers questions like:
- Where do my employees like to work in the workplace?
- How many desks are used on average and how spaced out are they?
- What is the office’s average capacity on a weekly basis?
- How many people are booking meeting rooms?
- How many people are canceling meeting rooms or not showing up?
But data alone isn’t the answer. You also need ways to translate it and understand it. Smart and insightful charts help you do this and answer your most pressing questions about your space For example, when it comes to analyzing your room usage, smart analytics gives you answers to questions like:
- Which amenities and room sizes are being booked more frequently than others?
- Which rooms have the highest no-show rates?
- Do certain departments prefer different rooms to others?
- How many minutes has the room space saver feature given us back?
- How much excess capacity was in a room?
The smartest space solutions integrate with your other workplace tools, and allows employees to reserve spaces in the tools where they already spend their time, like Slack and Google Calendar. Ensuring your smart space solutions can integrate easily within your tech stack is crucial. Integrations are important. For example, when implementing a room booking system, you’ll want to ensure it can talk to your calendar and visitor management system. That way, you know how many people attending a meeting are onsite versus at home. –Getting a handle on feature needs doesn’t need to be overwhelming. When baked into your workplace operation, both you and your employees can depend on features to make your lives easier and your office operations more seamless.