Over the last year or two, businesses have gradually been shaping their long-term response to the changes within the world of work. In particular, they’re making changes to their office layouts, now that hybrid work and more flexible working models mean that it’s inefficient to keep one desk space permanently allocated to each and every employee.
Organizations have come to realize that there are plenty of upsides to moving towards a shared desk policy within the office. For starters, they can reduce the size of their real estate to match the reduced day-to-day attendance within the office, saving them on lease, utility and overhead costs. Alternatively, they can redeploy the space they’ve freed up for other, more creative uses, and develop spaces that employees appreciate and that promote productivity.
In any case, for a shared desk policy to be a success, it needs to be as easy as possible for employees to reserve and use the desks they need, when they need them. It also needs to be as transparent as possible, and be carefully planned so that the smooth operations of departments within the business are maintained. This blog explores the five most important considerations when making shared desk arrangements work.
Easy searching and booking
Employees don’t want to feel like booking a desk is a chore. If they have to go through an administration team, make requests by phone call or email, or wait hours or days for a response, then they will quickly be put off and be more likely to stick with working from home. Ideally, they should be able to use a single online platform to search through all the spaces within the office that are available at their chosen time. They can then find one with all the attributes that meet their needs, and make a reservation quickly, easily and independently.
Variety of spaces
Employees will be coming into the office for different reasons, and so will need a desk space that suits their circumstances. For example, if they need to collaborate with co-workers, then they will need a desk in an open-plan environment close to others. However, if they’re attending to get some peace and quiet, so that they can focus on a particularly tricky job, then they’ll need somewhere private like a work pod or small office. Reshaping the office environment to maximize the range of desk space types available can remove much of the compromise of office-based work for many employees.
Prioritizing by team or role
The point about collaboration is an important one, and this is where careful implementation of a desk sharing policy is so important. If desk bookings are run as a free-for-all, then it can be difficult and maybe even impossible for groups of people to book desks near each other so they can work together. At the same time, you want to maximize the flexibility of the shared desk system, so a delicate balance has to be struck. A good workspace booking software achieves this through the ability to set customizable rules, i.e. certain spaces are only allowed to be booked by certain employees or departments at certain times.
Instant visibility of bookings
When employees have booked a space, they want to be 100% certain that it will be ready and waiting for them as soon as they arrive. Nothing will frustrate employees more than finding that somebody else has stolen the space they’ve reserved, or has occupied it inadvertently. Shared desks, however, can be equipped with small information screens integrated with the booking solution, clearly displaying reservation information to anyone in the area. They can even be equipped with RFID technology that allows the employee with the reservation to ‘check in’ at the desk when their booking starts.