How a hot desk booking system can help the gradual return to work

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2020 is destined to go down as one of the most remarkable years in history – and thanks to the continuing epidemic, it’s looking increasingly likely that 2021 may be more of the same.

Many Western governments are once again suggesting that where possible workers work from home, and it’s believed these measures could last up to six months.

But many still need to turn up at the workplace, for collaboration, for meetings and for personal development. So for the time being, companies and workers are soldiering on with a tentative return to work.

Flexibility is key

With the world of work changing so quickly it pays to be flexible. For those unavoidable trips to the office a hot desk booking system is key to ensure the safe transition of your staff back to the workplace.

The best hot desk booking systems are configured so your employees can book a desk ahead of time – a booking style more accurately called hoteling. Even better, these solutions are now fully integrated with zero touch access in mind so staff can rest easy in the knowledge that they are in a safe space once they get to work.

Good for you – good for your staff

Staff wellness is now driving how real estate leaders maintain and configure their workspace.

Where once it was enough for people to turn up to work after a sweaty commute on a packed train, then quickly clear any debris left by the previous desk occupant, sanitization is now a more serious affair.

A hot desk software solution needs to be able to accommodate additional times for cleaning between occupiers. Integration with other technology such as desk panels helps to communicate when desks are clean and available – another reassurance for staff.

Real estate leaders can play their part by enforcing the social distancing of desks as well creating a cleaner environment.

Keeping it clean

You can maximize available space and create a safe environment by using a hot desk booking system with floorplan integration with social distancing of desks pre-configured – available as part of a mobile app. It also offers your staff an easy booking process.

Look for other innovations – such as reverse hoteling – that help with maximizing the space available for social distancing.

The desire for collaboration

The hot desk booking system is critical in fostering collaboration. However, the nature of that collaboration is changing – the lines between the real world and the virtual world are blurring with hybrid meetings becoming the norm. It’s even possible that post-Covid there may never be a return to the traditional style of boardroom meeting – so best to be prepared now.

While office occupancy is at record low levels, organizations are increasingly relying on collaboration technology such as Zoom, Skype and Teams to deliver a hybrid meeting experience with some staff taking part at head office and others joining from home.

This throws up challenges such as agenda management, managing different time zones, organizing catering and car parking for head office participants and simply making sure that everyone is notified of any changes.

Integration between meeting room, hot desks and video conferencing systems is critical to deliver the best meeting experience regardless of participant location.

This integration – including Outlook – ensures all the admin of organising the meeting is taken care of, agendas are sent out on time, resources are managed. All the participants need to do is log in at the appropriate time either through an app or an enabled panel.

Watch out for further innovations – such as forthcoming voice activation of Teams-enabled panels – that offer the safest in-room experience.

What does the future hold?

The pandemic has taught everyone to expect the unexpected. We are cautiously optimistic that things can only get better, but it may be a marathon rather than a sprint. Technologists and real estate leaders will continue to need to act swiftly in response to the changing situation.

Technology can support you on this journey. Check out some of our recent content showing how you can get involved with agile working and the broader return to work strategy.