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Want your people back in the workplace? Hot desks may be the key to your success

The data in this blog post looks at workplace entries from 11/1/2020-8/31/2021.

The pandemic has altered how we work. We see this change in the type of working model employees want. 71% of employees say they want a hybrid work model. They expect a workplace experience that can flex if they need it to—one that lets them book a desk or meeting room on the fly. Our platform data from the past year has made clear that, if given the tools to work flexibly, employees will take advantage of them. 

In fact, Envoy’s Desks data shows that employees have booked more than one million hot desks since May 2021. We’ve also learned that certain workplace platform features can help drive in-person collaboration and connection. Case in point: the majority of employees (61%) will accept an invite from a coworker to join them in the workplace. In this post, we’ll explore these findings and others that have come out of our latest analysis of Envoy’s platform data. Read on for details.

24% of desk bookings are made during the check-in process

Being able to book a hot desk at a moment’s notice gives employees the ability to work flexibly. For example, if someone makes a last-minute decision to go into the workplace, they can reserve their favorite spot on-site without any hassle. 

But what happens when companies couple the desk booking and workplace check-in process? According to our analysis of Desks platform data, not only does this save employees time and additional steps—it significantly increases the number of desk bookings.

By the end of August 2021, more than a third of companies using hot-desking (36%) required their employees to check into the workplace in order to reserve a desk. As a result, we’ve seen a sharp increase in desk bookings with check-ins. In June 2021, 4% of desk bookings were made with check-ins. That number grew to 24% by the end of August 2021. 

Beyond boosting desk bookings, coupling the desk reservation and the workplace check-in process ensures every employee has a space where they can work comfortably. It also helps workplace teams prepare their space and ensure employees remain a safe distance away from each other while on-site.

Since hot desks are designed to be flexible, if an employee changes their mind about coming on-site, they can free their desk up for others. This helps workplace teams maximize the use of available desks, and gives them a more accurate view of their site capacity. 

Hot desks drive workplace collaboration

From May to August 2021, the number of companies actively using Desks grew by more than 70%. What’s even more impressive is that the number of active employees—those with one or more desk bookings—nearly tripled.

Some employers are concerned that a hybrid workplace could reduce collaboration between employees. With different people coming on-site on a given day, knowing who’ll be in the workplace and when is important. Not only can employees choose a spot in the workplace before they even arrive, they can also see when their teammates plan to sit. Empowering employees to book a desk near their teammates enables valuable in-person collaboration to take place—which has been lacking for people who are fully remote.

But what happens when an employee needs to collaborate with someone who isn’t planning to be on-site? In cases like this, it’s helpful for the employee to invite a co-worker to join them in the workplace to work together in real life. This ensures people get face-time with their colleagues and encourages more employees back to the workplace.

The graph above shows the number of invites sent each month since June 2021. You can also see the percentage of invites that led to someone coming into the workplace—61% in June, July, and August 2021.

Ready to bring people back to the workplace? Our findings show that nearly a quarter of desk bookings are made when employees check into the workplace. If you want people to come back, make sure they can easily book a safe and comfortable space on-site. Don’t stop there, though. Empower your people to invite their co-workers to join them in the workplace. Three out of five employees accept invites to collaborate on-site. This shows us that people want to be in the workplace—they may just need a little nudge from their work friends first.

What to learn more about hot desk trends? Read our blog post, Hot desks are heating up as people head back to the workplace.