This blog breaks down the benefits of a desk booking system, what you need to think about when choosing yours, and if your business uses Slack, how to set one up right now within the Slack app!
Benefits of a Desk Booking System
Employees prefer to know where they’re sitting. Whether it’s a hot desk arrangement or a seating plan, letting others know who’s in and when is a great incentive to encourage employees into the office.
Here are some of the other benefits of using a desk booking system, especially for hybrid workspaces:
Keep Track of Desk Usage and Occupancy Levels
The overall function of a desk booking system is to simply help keep track of desk availability and who is occupying certain desks.
In just a few clicks, those running an office can receive data insights on desk usage, view who’s booked in on any given day, or, for hot desks, find out which spaces are most popular.
Keeping track of desk usage enables businesses to find out who’s booking in and when, and to stay on top of any safeguarding as more employees return to the office.
Improve Space Utilization
There are two sides to space utilization:
Where are people sat when they are in the office?
How much of your office space is actually being used?
The former is particularly important if you have a variety of workstations available. Maybe you have sofas, standing desks, and monitors.
Finding out where people are booking in the most can help with decision-making when it comes to improving your office space and encouraging employees in.
The latter concerns offices which remain at reduced capacity after the pandemic. Where you may have previously had 80 people in your office on any given day, the option to work from home may mean this number is significantly reduced.
In both cases, understanding the space you occupy and how employees use it is a cost-effective way to manage your hybrid workplace.
Data on how people are using the office, including the most popular attendance days, individual attendance increasing or decreasing, and the frequency of office bookings, are all vital for understanding how office attendance impacts your business.
Trends help to understand when and why employees are coming into the office, and provide office managers with the opportunity to ask questions about work culture if attendance drops off.
Help Transition to a Hybrid Workspace Model
A desk booking system is most effective when businesses are divided between the office and home.
If teams can see who’s in and when, they can arrange meetings and social events based on high attendance rates. Businesses embracing a hybrid workplace will find organizing their space much easier with transparency over attendance.
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10 Questions to Ask When Choosing Your Desk Booking System
So, you’ve decided a desk booking system is your answer to organizing your office space or increasing employee attendance. Here are 10 things to consider when choosing the right tool for your organization.
1. How Many Employees Will Need to Reserve a Desk?
The first factor you need to consider is the size of your business. If you have a small business, you may not need all the features that a larger system offers.
Desk booking systems often have a range of plans available depending on your capacity needs.
If you run a hybrid business, it’s possible that not all of your employees will need to book in. In this case, finding a desk booking system that offers plans on a person-by-person basis may be your best option.
If you’re an office-first hybrid model, you’ll likely want a more comprehensive system than a remote-first hybrid model. Similarly, if you work in a hot desking office space or a coworking space, your priority may be visibility over who’s in, rather than which desks people are occupying.
3. What is your budget?
Desk booking systems can range in price from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars.
You will want to choose a system that is within your budget and offers the features you need. Understanding what you may or may not be willing to compromise when it comes to price versus features is an important part of the decision-making process.
4. What are the must-have features of your desk booking system?
As mentioned above, some desk booking systems will simply offer desk booking and visibility over those going in, while others will offer more advanced features, such as deep data insights or meeting room bookings.
If you’re already paying for other tools, it could be worth considering a more comprehensive desk booking system with a wider range of features all in one place.
5. What is the compatibility of the desk booking system with your existing software?
Make sure the system you choose is compatible with the software you use in your business.
This includes communication tools such as Slack, through to integrations with your calendar tool. Ideally, your desk booking system will cut out the work in the middle and work with tools you’re already using.
6. Does the desk booking system offer customer support?
As with any piece of software, customer support is critical to ensuring your needs are being met and questions are being answered.
Your desk booking system should have a customer support process in place that requires minimal effort on the part of the customer – nobody has the time to sit on the phone for three hours in the middle of the work day.
7. Do you need extra security with your desk booking system?
Consider your business needs when it comes to security.
For some, data encryption may not be needed, but for others, it’s worth considering the extent of the security features needed to ensure the security of employees.
8. How easy is the desk booking system to use?
Adapting a new workplace tool takes time and effort, especially when you’re asking a team to also learn how to use it.
Employees simply won’t use a desk booking system that’s hard to book into. Whichever tool you choose, it should be as easy as possible to book in, see who else is in, and use any extra features.
9. What is the scalability of the desk booking system?
If you’re a growing business, you’ll need to add new users and potentially expand into other features. Whether it's adding extra desks more easily, creating new office spaces or using additional features such as room booking and data analysis, having capacity to expand is important.
Choose a system that can adapt to these needs and changes alongside your business.
10. Does the desk booking system have reviews from real users?
Finally, you need to find out who is actually using (and enjoying) the desk booking system.
While many businesses will have testimonials or case studies on their website, it’s worth doing some research into how real people view the product. Read reviews from other businesses to see what they think about the system before you make a purchase
How to Set Up Desk Booking in Slack
If your business uses Slack to communicate, Officely is an in-Slack desk booking tool that is ready to go within minutes.
There’s no credit card required, and you can create separate offices, Neighborhoods of desks for various teams, and even book into meeting rooms, all within the Slack app.