What are your plans for the hybrid workplace? In the aftermath of the pandemic, most companies are expecting to introduce some kind of hybrid working policy that will allow staff to work remotely a couple days per week while coming into the office the rest of the time. This approach has many benefits, but it also introduces new challenges – especially when it comes to the way you organize an office space.
If large numbers of staff are only going to be in your physical offices two or three days per week, hot desking is a good solution. It means:
- People can come to the office when they want and find seating
- Since some of the workforce will be at home, you can have fewer desks and spread them out for the purposes of social distancing
- You avoid ‘dead’ space when staff have permanent desks that they are only using two or three days per week
However, people will want to know that their hot desks have been sanitized and that they’re in a suitable part of the office. Automation in hot desk management can help you achieve this.
The problem with traditional hot desking
In the traditional approach to hot desking, employees simply turn up at the office and sit at any desk that is currently available. Before the pandemic, this was a reasonable approach. However, it is no longer appropriate:
- People don’t feel safe: 73% of employees expect greater social distancing in the post-pandemic workplace. If coworkers can simply hot desk wherever they want, many staff will feel concerned about health risks.
- Staff feel frustrated: One recent survey found that 29% of people had struggled to find an available desk when their companies had hot desking policies
- Desks in the wrong place: Choosing a hot desk when you arrive at the office means that you could end up having to sit in the wrong working environment. For instance, trying to do focus work in a noisy part of the office is very difficult.
To overcome these issues, many companies are turning to automation in hot desk management.
What is automation in hot desk management?
Automated hot desk management involves the use of software to provide desk booking systems, as well as collecting occupancy and usage data. You can purchase desk booking software, but it is also perfectly easy to design your own.
The benefits of automation in hot desk management:
- Lets people book hot desks in advance
By providing people with a tool to book a short-term desk, they can reserve their space in the office in advance. This means that they know they will have a place to be productive where it’s socially distanced and in a location they would like to be seated. This also saves them time on arrival at the office since they won’t have to walk around looking for a seat. Another benefit is that if a desk is reserved, staff can be confident it will be sanitized before each use.
- Tracks and manages workspace availability
By using automation in hot desk management, you can track data about how office space is being used. This information can be very valuable, especially as you continue to develop your hybrid working strategy. It tells you how frequently people are coming into the office and where the preferred sitting areas are. This can inform your hybrid working policies and decisions about how much floor space you actually need.
- Lets teams coordinate for collaboration
One drawback of traditional hot desking is that it is difficult for teams who need to collaborate to find spaces close to one another. However, with desk reservation systems, the team coordinator can select a group of desks which are situated close to one another a few days in advance. That ensures their team will be able to collaborate easily.
Example: What automation in hot desk management looks like
Ashish is a draughtsman at an architect’s practice. His company has implemented a hybrid working policy that allows him to work from home two days per week then hot desk in the office for the other days. Tomorrow he will be at the office, and he knows that he wants to be seated near one of his coworkers because they have a building façade project they are working together that requires collaboration.
He opens up Teams and chats with his colleague to decide where they will sit tomorrow. He then opens his company’s desk booking app in Microsoft 365 and selects two desks side by side. He sends a reservation request and the automated desk management system holds the spaces for him. As a result, no one else can reserve those two desks, and Ashish knows he will have the space he and his coworker need to collaborate.
Automation in desk booking with Nintex
Nintex allows you to build an easy-to-use and effective desk booking service right within your company intranet. Using Nintex Forms, you can design a solution for automation in hot desk management that is completely customized to your company and the layout of your offices. It takes just minutes to build the automated workflow and you can begin offering your teams an effective hot desk management system while also tracking useful data about office occupancy.
To see how Nintex can help you start automating hot desk management today, request a demo!