During the pandemic, a lot of organizations were forced into remote, but as restrictions are eased it is time for those same organizations to decide how they want the future of work to be. Is it going to be 100% remote, hybrid work, or completely in the office?

No matter which version your organization ends up choosing, the way we work is going to change. Even if you are a firm believer that 100% in-office is the only way forward, concepts like activity-based work will still present changes to the way you work and new challenges that need to be solved.

In this article, we’ll help you solve 5 key challenges that modern workplaces will face, whether they are hybrid, remote or fully in-office.


1. Flexible seating and reduced-sized offices can turn the workplace into a game of musical chairs

Do you remember musical chairs back when you were a kid? The stressful situation of dancing around a circle of chairs, knowing that you might be left without a place to sit when the music stopped?

How would you feel if you had to do that today, but instead of either winning or losing a fun game, the prize was to have a place to carry out your work for the day?

The ability to reduce real estate expenses is often brought up as one of the biggest benefits of hybrid work and for good reason. But if you reduce your office size, there are two things you need to take care of first.

  1. You need data on how much you can reduce your office size by (and I’ll get back to this one later),

  2. And you need to make sure employees don’t commute to the office in vain.

Both obstacles can be solved by finding a good solution to handle desk booking and remote work scheduling.

2. Not knowing which employees are working from home and who’s in the office can lead to a lot of wasted time

One of the biggest challenges when it comes to hybrid work is collaboration. Not because remote or hybrid collaboration is more difficult than in-person collaboration, but because employees need to spend extra time figuring out if meetings and other projects will take place in person, or if they’re going on in the office.

Whatever tool you choose to solve your scheduling needs, should be able to provide employees with an easy overview of who is working from where, and if they are in the office – where they are working from. 

This could be in the form of a compiled list of employees or teams, showing exactly who’s present in the office, who’s remote, and who’s taking time off, or it could be a map of your premises detailing which employee is seated where. 

3. Assuming the availability of our colleagues can lead to a lot of awkward situations

Just because you’re not in the office, doesn’t necessarily mean you are working from home – and this is one of the most common misconceptions of hybrid workplaces.

We get so used to colleagues not being in the office but still being available, that we tend to forget, that there are plenty of reasons for not being in the office, while at the same time not being available; vacation, sickness, visiting clients or partners etc.

This is why we need to take desk booking solutions in a new direction. Successful hybrid strategies aren’t desk-centric, and the tools we use to enable those strategies shouldn’t be desk centric either.


4. Designing our offices without the ability to adapt will leave us restricted in how our workplace can evolve

When implementing hybrid work, many organizations tend to do a complete redesign of their office space, to accommodate their new hybrid workstyle. They may even reduce their office size to really lean into hybrid work.

But designing offices too rigidly is one of the biggest mistakes I see organizations make, as doing so means your workplaces won’t be able to evolve as employees’ hybrid preferences change. 

Even if you implement hybrid work with mandated office days, you’ll see fluctuations in both how often employees are in the office (it’s more in the summer and less in the winter), and you’ll see changes in how employees use the office.

In periods when you are starting a lot of new projects, you may see a greater need for meeting rooms and in other phases of work you may need more desks.

If adapting your office layout to the needs of your employees is to be part of your strategy, you’ll need a way for employees to easily get an overview of the office layout, so they can easily find their way around (and find each other) when the layout changes.


5. Facility services and managers need data

Most of the benefits of going hybrid require some form of data if you need to reap the benefits.

Want to reduce your office size? You need to know what the highest number of employees using your office is.

Want to scale facility services to match the number of employees? You need a detailed overview of how many employees are going to be using your office on each specific day.


Choosing the right tool for desk booking and scheduling

There are several tools out there which can help employees book desks and schedule where they work from each week.

But no matter which you choose, there’s one thing you should focus on before everything else; it needs to be easy to use. When it comes to planning, the human error tends to be one of the biggest challenges, and the more difficult your chosen scheduling solution is to use, the bigger the chance is that employees won’t bother using it.

And this isn’t just about overcoming a weekly scheduling session for every employee. Plans change, and when they do, it shouldn’t be a bother for employees to update their schedule to match.

This is why scheduling hybrid work in a shared calendar or using a spreadsheet is rarely the right option.

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