The way we work has changed. Research from CBRE shows us that one of the most important requirements employees want in their workplace today is choice and flexibility. The days of cubicles and assigned offices are far behind us. Employees now want the freedom and flexibility to choose where and how they work.
In a post-COVID world, employees will be looking for continued support of hybrid work environments, including remote capabilities, activity-based workspaces, hoteling and proper sanitization and contact tracing policies. In order to maintain a productive – and more importantly, a happy workforce – companies are going to have to adjust the way they operate their offices to become more technology-friendly and mobile-first.
A workplace reservation system can help organizations empower their hybrid workforce, comply with COVID-19 safety measures and improve their space utilization.
What is a Workplace Reservation System?
A workplace reservation system is a digital scheduling solution that allows users to book conference rooms, reserve desk spaces, book resources like A/V and any other reservable workspace or service.
Finding a Workplace Reservation System That Benefits Your Employees & Your Organization
Not all workplace reservation systems are the same. In order for your organization to get the most out of your scheduling solution, you need to ensure you're getting all the features and benefits your employees need to be successful. Beyond simply ensuring your employees can reserve spaces, you need to provide a robust solution that offers mobile capabilities, reporting and analytic, and COVID-friendly components.
Critical Features of a Workplace Reservation System
In order to provide the best benefits to your employees, your workplace reservation system should include functions such as:
- Mobile Booking Capabilities
- Push Notifications & Alerts
- Self-Service Video Conferencing
- Space Utilization & Room Reporting
- Integrations to Create a Single System of Record
Mobile Booking Capabilities
Now more than ever, your employees are mobile-first. According to Microsoft, two out of three employees use their mobile devices at work. And, according to a study from Crowd Research, email, calendar and contact management are the most popular types of mobile apps enabled on employee mobile devices at work. In order to truly be relevant and effective, your workplace reservation system needs to be accessible from employees' smartphones so that they can book rooms, release reservations, access resources, change invites, look up contacts and more.
Push Notifications & Alerts
Automated alerts and notifications for the web and mobile are essential for any workplace reservation system. Your scheduling solution should deliver automated confirmations, room and A/V instructions, change notifications, check-in requests and reminders in order to keep your employees up to date and maintain space utilization. A truly comprehensive workplace reservation system will allow for customized alerts and workflows to make your solution truly one-of-a-kind for your employees.
Self-Service Video Conferencing
A truly frictionless meeting experience starts with a booking and continues all the way through the first "Hello!" The best workplace reservation system will include self-service video conferencing integrations to allow employees to automatically assign Zoom or Microsoft Teams calls to meetings and have virtual meeting options right in your existing meeting room booking workflow. This provides a seamless hybrid and remote meeting process.
Space Utilization & Room Reporting
A workplace reservation system not only benefits the employee, but the organization as well. With robust utilization and room reporting features, your organization can get an inside look into how your real estate is being used. Knowing which spaces are most popular and when can help you decide if you need more activity-based workspaces, which rooms could be utilized differently, what spaces employees need more of and where you might be able to cut real estate costs.
Integrations to Create a Single System of Record
A truly frictionless and robust workplace reservation system will connect with your other systems in order to offer one single source of truth for all room reservation data. This single system of record provides improved visibility and departmental communications by connecting all of your resources into one platform.
Benefits of Using a Workplace Reservation System
Using a workplace reservation system will provide many benefits to your employees and your organization's ROI. Some of the major benefits of an effective scheduling solution include:
- COVID-19 Safety Compliance
- Lower Real Estate Costs
- Mobile-First Enablement
- Better Team Collaboration & Communication
- Simplified Desk Hoteling
COVID-19 Safety Compliance
A post-COVID office will look and feel different to your employees. As more and more offices start to offer in-person work options or hybrid work schedules, employees need to feel safe in these workspaces. According to a study from Envoy, 73% of people are worried about returning to a physical office, and their top concern is not knowing if or when a sick person comes into the workplace. While companies may not be able to prevent a contagious person from coming to the office, a robust workplace reservation system should offer sanitization scheduling and reporting to put employees at ease, as well as help ensure social distancing measures are followed to keep seating separated. It can also be used for contact tracing by tracking room reservations per employee.
Lower Real Estate Costs
Real estate costs worldwide are increasing, and remain one of the top expenses for organizations, right behind their human resources. In the past three decades, over 2 billion square feet of corporate office space have been added in the US, and yet estimates suggest that desks and offices are only occupied about 42% of the time on average. Organizations can use a comprehensive workplace reservation system to gain visibility into how their spaces are being used, allowing for better business decisions in the long term. These decisions can ultimately lower real estate costs if organizations are better informed about where they can reduce or need to add spaces.
More Connected Workspace Experience
Organizations are under more pressure to provide an integrated workplace experience, including adapting modern technology solutions to create a connected workspace. In a "smart" and integrated workplace, offices are more efficient and provide more data output for making informed decisions. This efficiency can help you reduce overhead costs, simplify operations and improve your workplace's flexibility and collaboration.
Better Team Collaboration & Communication
A workplace reservation system allows employees to feel empowered to work the way they want to, wherever they want to. This flexibility and customization streamline the employee work experience, allowing for better communication and collaboration across teams. With simplified meeting scheduling, employees can find and reserve appropriate spaces and get hybrid meetings started quickly, helping employees get right to work and not stuck fighting with technology.
Simplified Desk Hoteling
Desk or space hoteling allows employees to reserve unassigned seating in advance, instead of having a dedicated desk or coming into the office not knowing where they're working from that day. This concept provides employees with predictable workspaces and helps manage safety with COVID-19 guidelines by only allowing appropriately spaced and sanitized desks to be reserved. A workplace reservation system should be set up to include both desk and flex spaces with hoteling options to allow for easy, detailed scheduling of workspaces.
Desk Reservation System vs. Workplace Reservation System: What’s the Difference?
Desk reservation system, workplace reservation system, desk hoteling software, space hoteling software, hot desking system – these are just some of the phrases you’ll likely encounter when choosing space reservation software for your organization. So how do you know exactly what you should be looking for?
There’s no standard glossary across the space management industry, but most vendors tend to follow similar guidelines. Here at Accruent, these are some of the terms we use and how we use them:
- Desk reservation system. A digital scheduling solution that allows users to book desk spaces.
- Workplace reservation system. A digital scheduling solution that allows users to book conference rooms, reserve desk spaces, book resources like A/V and any other reservable workspace or service. It is generally broader than a desk reservation system, although some vendors use the terms interchangeably.
- Space reservation software. A digital scheduling solution that allows users to book conference rooms, reserve desk spaces, book resources like A/V and any other reservable space or service. It encompasses non-traditional spaces as well as traditional workspaces, like equipment at the company gym or parking spaces in the office carpark.
- Desk hoteling software. A system of non-permanently assigned seating, with designated desk areas that employees can reserve.
- Hot desking software. A quasi-form of desk hoteling where desks are available on a first come, first served basis.
- Space hoteling software. Similar to desk hoteling software, a system with designated areas (desks, study areas, stand-up spaces, etc.) that employees can reserve.
A Note on the Importance of Privacy & Data Security
If you're enabling your employees to work from anywhere, there are going to be questions of privacy and security. If an employee is connected to Wi-Fi in a public place like a coffee shop, is it safe for them to access your workplace reservation system? What about their sensitive employee data used for contact tracing? Your workplace reservation system needs to have countermeasures in place to protect your sensitive employee and proprietary data.
A truly robust workplace reservation system will take the proper steps to ensure the security of your employee data, and protect your proprietary information, no matter where your employees are working from.
EMS Provides a Robust Workplace Reservation System for Your Organization
Accruent's EMS workplace reservation system solution enables your employees to work how and where they want to, while providing important room usage data to your organization, so you can make better real estate decisions.
Schedule a demo today to see how EMS can support your post-COVID workforce.