Open floor plans and office hoteling can offer great benefits, like increased collaboration and lower real estate expenses, but the switch must be done in a way that is right for your organization and your employees.
Open floor plans and office hoteling — or desk booking — can offer great benefits, like increased collaboration and lower real estate expenses, but the switch must be done in a way that is right for your organization and for every employee.
After determining whether office hoteling is right for your company, it is important to ensure that your implementation plan accounts for a variety of factors.
Whether your goal is to reduce your real estate footprint, increase space between workstations or simply have a more flexible workforce — you still need to empower your workers to both seek out quiet, productive spaces as well as connect and collaborate.
It is important to keep in mind that the same office changes that make a hoteling initiative successful also support a mobile workforce. This mobility has become a significant benefit necessary for attracting and retaining top talent. But mobility does not just mean working from home – it also means finding the right technology at a reserved desk when you sit down or being able to seamlessly connect to video conferencing software if your team is out of the office.
To help ensure that your new office strategy serves the needs of your employees and their expectations for a more flexible workplace, we have compiled seven best practices for you to follow:
1. Create a Variety of Spaces
When it comes to effective workspaces, there is no single best setup, even when considering the needs of just one individual. Take the marketer who, over the course of one day, might brainstorm with other team members about new initiatives, work with another department on external events, and require alone time to create new material.
For the many employees whose roles require this level of flexibility, the ability to choose from a mixture of spaces will enable them to be their most productive. These spaces can range from cozy seating areas to socially active hotspots to long working tables.
The best office design accommodates these variations in working styles and goals.
2. Allow for Personalization
Glance around your current office building and you will probably see a number of ways employees have marked their “territory.” We like to display photos, arrange our belongings and, in general, have some control over our working environment. Not surprisingly, one of the most common criticisms of office hoteling is that it often does not allow for personalized spaces.
Planning for sufficient personal storage can help mitigate this, as can providing a balance of diverse spaces that allow for a variety of personalities. The proof is in the numbers. At a recent Accruent forum, David Watts, Managing Director of CCD Design & Ergonomics, presented a study that showed the enriched office—one in which employees can personalize their working environment—led to a 15% productivity gain.
3. Employ a Robust Reservation Software
Imagine showing up to work each morning not knowing where you will be stationed for the day, or even being certain that there will be space available for you.
This is one of the features of hot-desking, a quasi-form of hoteling where desks are available on a first come, first-served basis. The uncertainty can be stressful for some employees and the system can also be counter-productive, like when teams need to collaborate on a project but cannot find space to accommodate an entire group.
- Locate and reserve spaces based on user permissions
- Select from favorites or filter by room availability, type, and location
- View details, photos, floor maps and any resources tied to each space
4. Enable Notifications for Missed Check-Ins
EMS reservation software can remove the pain of uncertainty that sometimes goes along with flexible workspaces, but it also has the potential to be abused. Rather than risk needing a work space that is not available, employees often book places “just in case” and make long-term reservations that may not actually be necessary.
When you set up hoteling that enforces simple check-in and check-out processes, you can identify no-shows and open space back up to someone who will actually use it. Furthermore, this also helps ensure accurate utilization metrics.
5. Make Savvy Use of Utilization Reports
Underutilized space is costly, and eliminating misused space is one of the primary drivers of the global move to office hoteling.
Consider the experience of RAND Corporation, which saw a 40% increase in average occupancy when it remodeled its new workspace according to their blog post "What Happens When RAND Rethinks Its Workspace". In order to reap these types of financial benefits, however, you need visibility into how your workspaces are being used.
By capturing and analyzing utilization information, you can make data-driven decisions that lead to increased space utilization, reduced square footage per employee and the elimination of wasted space.
6. Keep Workspaces Healthy
As employees move from place to place throughout your building, they bring a lot of unwanted bits with them—namely, germs. Office hoteling increases the chances of spreading disease as individuals more frequently share desk spaces, docking stations, phones and more.
Because of this risk, it is more important than ever to make sure your workspaces are as sanitary as possible, such as making antiseptic wipes widely available, reminding workers about the basics of good hygiene and investing in regular deep-cleaning services.
Good hygiene is just the start, however, as there is a whole school of thought around how a solid foundational design can help keep a workplace healthy. As you design your space for office hoteling, be sure to consider other features such as standing desks, increased natural light and exposure to fresh air.
7. Get Employees Involved BEFORE You Switch
Change is difficult, even when the people involved truly believe that the end result will be for the best in the long run. If your employees are not on board with proposed modifications, the process promises to be a lot more difficult, if not a downright failure. Here are some basic steps to implementing a data driven approach:
- When making the switch to office hoteling, involve as many of those affected as possible, right from the start.
- Work to gather opinions and input from a small, representative group of employees who will be most affected by the change.
- Create a pilot project so that you can learn from your mistakes before they affect your entire organization.
- Have a change management strategy in place to combat any potential issues and to establish a strong foundation.
Mobilize Your Workforce with Hoteling
Successful office hoteling is more than just creating open spaces for improved collaboration or imposing hot-desking for decreased real estate costs. It is a comprehensive strategy for the modern workplace, and must be done thoughtfully and systematically.
Learn more about how Accruent's EMS space management software can help you support flexible, activity-based workspaces.