Picture this: It’s a rainy Monday morning, you made your way to the office, and now you’re searching for Fran from finance, because you need to discuss your budget, and asking for money always works better in person. She’s not seated with the rest of the finance team, but maybe she has booked a desk in the silent section. She’s not there either. You ask if she’s called in sick today. She hasn’t. You write her a text. She doesn’t answer. You write her another text. She still doesn’t answer. After 20 minutes, she gets back to you with a “working from home, what do you need?”
In the days before lock downs, remote work, and hybrid offices, locating your colleagues was as simple as going to their desk, but in a time where remote work, hybrid workplaces, and reduced-size offices, hot desking and free seating becomes more common, it’s no longer that simple.
It’s not just about knowing which desk your colleague has chosen; you also need a good way of finding out when they are working from the office and when they will work from home.
After all, there’s no point in commuting to the office on a Monday morning, because you need facetime with Fran from Finance, only to find out she will be working from home.
Working in an office is indeed a team sport, and while tools like Zoom, MS Teams and Skype can help bring coworkers together over great distances, a recent survey* into what employees missed most about going to the office revealed that 45% missed in-person collaboration, while 73% missed socializing in person.
Working from the home office has its benefits, but not everything can be handled efficiently via conference calls. Because of this, you may need to be in the office some days, while you work from home on others, and that’s where hot desking comes in.
Hot desking is an office practice where desks are used by different employees at different times throughout the day. The typical aim of hot desking is to maximize efficiency and reduce the cost of running an office. With companies searching for a balance between remote work and having employees work from the office, the practice of hot desking and the transformation to a hybrid work model is becoming more widespread.
If you want to facilitate in-person collaboration you need to provide a way for employees to locate each other, both throughout the day, but also from week to week, so everyone can plan their week according to the availability of their colleagues.
Simply having your employees communicate where they work from through MS Teams or in shared spreadsheets will often lead to miscommunication, and make finding each other more work than it should be, and that’s where hot desk booking software such as Workspace comes in.
When planning your week, there’s bound to be tasks which rely on one or more of your colleagues. It may be because you need to carry out a project together, or because you anticipate certain issues, which requires assistance.
To make the process of planning your week around the availability of your colleagues easier, you and everyone in your office needs to update your availability ahead of time.
Freely choosing when you work from the office and when you work from home, means you need to make sure your colleagues know ahead of time, where you are working from, so you don’t end up wasting time trying to locate each other.
Finding out who’s working from where isn’t the only challenge when it comes to navigating the hybrid workplace. With cost-reduction strategies such as reduced-size offices, the days where each section of an office was dedicated to a specific team is gone. With hot desk booking and hybrid workplaces you are more likely to have different areas dedicated to different things.
The upside of this is that you will always have access to the environment you need to carry out the specific task at hand. Need time to focus on a report? Silent area it is. Need to brainstorm a big project with a bunch of colleagues? Collaboration lounge here we come! Need to make 100 cold calls with no interruptions? Teleconferencing area to the rescue.
The downside of this, is that you may not know where your colleagues are seated simply from a desk number – which will be especially true if you work in a big building with colleagues spread across multiple floors.
However, the answer to these problems comes with the functions of a good hot desk booking software – dynamic floor maps tailored to your office, means employees will be able to see not only where in the office they are booking a desk, but also which of their colleagues have booked nearby desks.
In this series of articles, we are covering the challenges of converting your workplace to a hybrid work format and how to solve them. In the next installment of the series, we’ll look at how to make sure you get the most out of your hot desk strategy.