Flex office : create a better employee experience with desk booking
As more and more companies are transforming to a hybrid work model, flexible seating arrangements are becoming the norm and desks are no longer being assigned to specific people.
In a model that allows employees to work at least 2 days per week from home, the occupancy in the office will be on average only 60%. With that in mind, most companies are reducing the number of desks and there are not enough desks for everyone anymore.
To manage occupancy and ensure that not everybody goes to the office at the same time (leaving people without a desk), most companies use a reservation tool for employees to secure their spot in the office.
Should employees book a desk, a space or just a day at the office?
This is a question that we have asked ourselves many times at Ciao. And we will probably ask ourselves this again, as hybrid work will evolve and the workplace along with it.
And the answer is “it depends”.
Every company is different and has a different culture. You need to find what makes the most sense for helping people collaborate, create social ties and enjoy a great workplace experience.
However user research has shown that there are big advantages to letting people book their own desks. These are the 3 main reasons:
1. Reduce people’s stress
Not letting people book the desk of their choice undeniably creates stress. They will fear not to find a desk they like or where they are comfortable working.
We’ve heard stories of clients that moved to a flex-office model without using a reservation tool and, as a consequence, some employees were going to the office at 6 am to make sure they could pick the desk they liked! Just imagine... This sounds like a horrible workplace experience!
It is similar to taking a plane. Being stuck in the middle of the row isn’t the most appealing spot. Wouldn’t you prefer to book your seat on the plane? I certainly do!
We are even willing to pay a premium for picking the seat we like most. I personally like to take a seat in front on the right window side of the plane to take a nice picture of Barcelona on the descent to the airport.
For the office it is the same, by having a specific desk reserved. Employees don’t need to worry about being the first one in the office to enjoy a desk they like. You can drop the kids at school or run that early errand in the morning without worrying about which desk will still be available in the office.
2. Ensure people can sit together
As the office is becoming a social and collaboration hub, the main purpose of the physical office is to meet and collaborate with your team face-to-face. So it is even better if the whole team can sit next to each other.
In a way, space booking could be enough to let people sit together if the areas are not too big. And maybe by asking nicely some of your colleagues to exchange seats you could end up seating next to your team.
However that still could create some conflict, where you don’t manage to all sit together easily. If it is not always easy to find your favourite seat just for you, it becomes even harder to find 10 suitable desks, next to each other, if you haven’t booked them in advance.
Doesn’t that remind you when seats were not assigned at the movie theater? We all got a ticket for the same movie session, but what a headache to be able to all sit together in the same row! Waiting in line way before the doors open and rushing to get those 5 seats next to each other!
Not the kind of experience you would like to reproduce at the workplace. By booking your desk in advance on an interactive floorplan, there is no need to negotiate or change seating arrangements once in the office.
With advanced reservation tools, you can restrict or give priority to some teams to have access to certain areas in the office, so your teams still seat together if they go to the office, but the space is available for last minute booking if they don’t come.
3. Get a desk with the right equipment
In many companies, not all employees have the same laptop or need the same equipment to work productively. You might require a different docking station, power cable, or connector to the screen. Some have a Mac and need a USB-C connector, meanwhile, others are still on this old VGA screen connector (really?!).
But there is also a matter of comfort preference. Some will not be able to work if they don’t have 2 screens, others don’t care.
So making sure everyone finds a desk that fits their requirements to be productive and comfortable is as important as just finding a desk in the first place.
Most of our clients add the details of the equipment available for each desk in our application, so employees can easily pick the one that best fits their work needs.
Finding what creates the best experience for the employees
For those reasons, we have decided to offer the possibility of booking a desk to go to the office, specially in a flex-office setup. It reduces stress levels when going to the office and allows for a more productive day by having the right equipment and sitting next to the people you need to interact with the most.
Plus, there must be a reason why planes, trains and movie theaters have introduced assigned seating and even the possibility to pick and change your seat beforehand. I know it definitely makes me happier when I can pick my seat! So why wouldn't it be the same for a desk?
The workplace experience should be pleasant for employees to decide to go to work at the office and finding the right place to work is essential to creating a great experience.
However, every organization and office is different and there might be some situations where it makes more sense to just book a space. The good news is that you can still do it with Ciao, you have a choice. Whatever you decide, we strongly advise to at least have some kind of reservation tool to go to the office and ditch Excel, you would be missing so many possibilities.
Book a demo to see how we created a super intuitive desk booking experience for your employees.