Remote Desking is the Solution for a Hybrid Workforce

A great way to utilize your office floor plan

This post is part of a series aimed to help Office Managers, EAs, Admins and anyone whose job it is to focus on employee experience at their virtual/hybrid office.

Photo by Nastuh Abootalebi on Unsplash

At the moment, everyone is trying to figure out how best to utilize their office space — whether that means severing a lease, redoing the floor plan, or moving to fully remote. And while there are so many decisions between what you are working with and what you should do next, one of the things that has been working really well while we enter this new frontier of hybrid/remote work life is: Hotel Desking.

For those that don’t know, Hotel Desking is when employees book a desk before coming into the office and the need for ownership over a specific desk ceases to exist. There are amazing companies popping up left and right to make Hotel Desking software simple and easy for offices to implement as the need for flexibility in the workplace is becoming increasingly obvious.

Use Hotel Desking If You Have:

  1. A Hybrid work force/remote first: If the people who are at the office is always fluctuating, having easy to book on demand desks will be ideal and give the employee some control. It will allow people to sit near someone they want to sit next to and also allow them to choose the environment around them. “I want to be near the window!” “I hate the glare on my screen, I need to be in the dark corner” etc.
  2. Multiple Offices: Multiple offices can mean people are traveling between the different locations. To be accommodating to those that are visiting, having a system in place for them to sit will make them feel at home and welcome. It can also help you streamline the experience between offices.
  3. A Downsized Office: Some companies may be using the opportunity to downsize their office space as less people at their company may even be living near that offices HQ following the pandemic. If that is the case, Hotel Desking will allow for high flexibility of pop ins, without physical ownership of desks that are unused.

Employees may ask, Where should I keep my personal effects? This might be a great time to introduce a locker or cubby situation.

When Hotel Desking isn’t a Necessity

A Permanent work force: Hotel Desking isn’t necessary if your company has decided to have people come back full time (5 days a week). If that is the case it is important for people to feel like they don’t need to reset their desk every time they leave for the day. People will want to have a permanent work set up since they are there all the time.

The Goldilocks Solution to it All

Hotel Desking is great even if you don’t fit into the above buckets. You don’t have to choose one or the other. Instead you can say, let’s do both! In that scenario, have part of the office contain hotel desks and the other part host full time employees.

This would accommodate both employees that are there regularly and those that like to pop in here and there as needed. Knowing when people are visiting will help your team ensure the proper resources are available.

How to make hotel desking work (the logistics of it)

Action items that take your office from owned to hotel style desks

  1. Set up each desk in a uniform way, for predictability of offerings.
  2. But also have variations on offerings at certain desks (single vs double monitor, Apple vs PC, chair type etc.) And this can be part of the drop down in your hotel desking software. That way an employee can choose which desk set up is right for their needs and can book accordingly.
  3. Research different hotel desking software companies (there are so many now!) and get a tutorial and see what might work for your exact needs.

Extra Benefits of Hotel Desking

  1. Analytics and budget saving: Using a software in which people book desks before they enter the office will help your facilities team have true analytics about the comings and going and the office usage. This can help you plan events, amenities and of course food and snacks — thus ensuring office supply and food ordering is never over purchased.
  2. Team Bonding: Proximity to other employees is key to getting to know them, especially if you find that you rarely work with them at all. Studies find that the further you are away from someone in a given space, the more likely you will not communicate with them. Someone sitting 50 feet away from you is less likely to get to know you on a personal level than someone sitting at a desk 6 feet away from you.
    Knowing that information and having control over which desks are actually available to sit at will keep employees to a certain area of the office and therefore increase the likelihood of those people getting to know each other. If you leave the office space up to chance (aka based on which employees are there that day — which would be highly variable if you are hybrid/remote first), you will see that there will be physical gaps in space that is under utilized, thus pushing people farther apart from one another. Hotel Desking will help you reclaim this small measure of culture building.
    This technique of forcing people to be closer together is commonly used in restaurants and bars in which an establishment wants people to bump into each other (meet cute!) thus creating a more social and fun environment. And while hotel desking doesn’t mean the office will somehow become super noisy, it is a forcing function to create relationship in the office especially coming off of a very isolating year.
  3. Team Flexibility: This is a great situation when you have a team that works remote but has decided to travel into the office for a team event or collaboration week. Instead of having to try and find free desks that day and that are dispersed throughout the office. They can log on to the Hotel Desking software ahead of time and choose a cluster of desks that are near each other.

Hope you found this helpful! Share with anyone you know that takes care of facilities in the workplace, it will help them think through what might be best as we enter a new frontier of work ❤

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