Fixed seating, private offices, assigned workstations, and cubicles filled with personal items are quickly becoming as obsolete as a 5-day-a-week commute. With the world of work becoming more flexible than ever, flexible workstations – otherwise known as hotdesking and hoteling – are part of the new normal.
Hotdesking allows employees to choose where they sit and work for the day at an office on a first-come-first-served basis. Hoteling, on the other hand, works a little differently. Rather than choosing a seat when employees arrive at the office, hoteling lets employees reserve a workstation through software — just like you would a hotel room. (You can learn more about the differences between hotdesking and hoteling in this article).
Hotdesking and hoteling aren’t just a pandemic trend – these workplace changes are good for business. Here are the top benefits of desk hoteling and hotdesking for employees and your company.
Desk hoteling and hotdesking benefits both your employees and your business
Increases productivity and engagement
Desk clutter is a massive productivity killer. While employees might enjoy having a space they consider their own, desk hoteling and hotdesking can increase productivity and engagement through promoting a cleaner workspace.
Journal of Consumer Research shows a 87% increase in productivity and improved focus with neater desks. With a new desk each day, employees won’t have time to clutter it with trinkets, post-it notes, and snacks. Hotdesking means they’re likely to be tidier and more organized to keep the desk ready for the next person the following day. With desk hoteling contributing to workstations remaining cleaner for longer, productivity will be on the rise in your business.
Improves collaboration with teammates
The fixed workstation method is great for building relationships and can create strong bonds with the people you sit near. But this increase in conviviality comes with a few downsides. For one, you run the risk of employees shutting themselves off to other departments. Employees with different working styles – for example, people who like quiet focus work vs. those that like to interact – may be forced to sit next to each other, semi-permanently.
Hotdesking and hoteling improve company culture and allows all your employees to collaborate and interact. As employees change their spot every day, they’re exposed to a different desk-neighbors. Employees can also choose to sit by people who share a similar working style – leading to a better workplace environment. This intermingling provides valuable opportunities for conversations that employees may not have benefited from with fixed workstations.
It means marketing can talk to development; sales can talk to design — conversations that can lead to better work and outcomes. With software for desk hoteling, you can even control the seating arrangement or provide designated spaces for different work styles.
Supports flexibility and mobility
Hotdesking and desk hoteling can work for any business. For larger companies with multiple office locations, flexible desking gives employees greater mobility in where they work. If they don’t want to be tied down to a particular city, they don’t need to be. There’s no need to make special arrangements to visit other company offices.
It removes the hesitance of not knowing where an employee might sit the next day. It shouldn’t just stretch to employees either. Leadership and management should get involved too and enjoy a cohesive experience across offices and build relationships with their employees — ones they wouldn’t always sit with.
Employees want this flexibility, too. Adecco, a global HR and recruiting firm, has revealed that 77% of professionals want greater flexibility in where and how they work. And businesses are listening. The number of employers in the US now offering flexible working options is 40% higher than it was five years ago, according to Global Workplace Analytics.
With hotdesking and hoteling, you don’t need your traditional bank of desks for employees to use. Hoteling is good for business because you can give employees the chance to work where they do their best work. For example, you might have standing desks in certain areas of the office, bean bags to use in the breakout area, and so on.
If an employee feels more productive working from home on any given day, there isn’t the same concern about leaving an empty, unused desk in the office.
If your business has remote workers, contractors, or consultants, adopting flexible desking gives them a home base when they need to come to the office without the awkwardness of sitting at another employee’s desk.
By utilizing software to book a workstation each day, these types of employees can easily arrive and integrate with the team. It also helps unify full time in-office workers with contractors or teleworkers so they can feel involved with the wider team.
Helps ensure office safety
On the surface, hotdesking can seem like bad practice when employees want to distance themselves further from people. However, that isn’t an issue, especially with desk hoteling. As employees will need to book their workstation for the day, they can see what is and isn’t occupied and choose accordingly. This may be especially important for employees with underlying health concerns , giving them the option to choose how close (or far away) they want to sit from others. Software like Worksphere allows you to block certain desks of areas to enforce distancing guildelines.
Empty desks at the end of each day devoid of knick-knacks and personal items also means that it is easier to ensure desks are clean and sanitized. Viruses like the flu can linger on surfaces for up to 24 hours, infecting employees and reducing productivity.
Attracts more employees and increases retention rates
Working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic was great for some but not for all. Many employees prefer to work from home some days, while others need a quiet space outside of their home environment to be productive. Employees and potential candidates are looking for flexible work. In fact, a Gallup survey revealed 37% of employees claimed they’d leave their existing traditional office to join somewhere offering a flexible office environment.
Hybrid work allows you to offer options to your workforce – work from home, from the office, or both. This can help with hiring and employee retention, reducing recruitment and turnover costs to the company.
Lowers real estate and facilities costs
How does hotdesking and hoteling save money? It’s simple — it reduces the number of desks you need while still providing office space. With flexible workspaces, you can increase the ratio of employees to office workstations. With real estate costs estimated at $10k per employee, per year in most major metropolitan areas, even a 20% reduction can save a mid-sized company hundreds of thousands a year. More people utilizing less space also means additional savings in reduced utilities or facilities overhead costs as well.
Stuck in a long-term lease with too much space? Workplace management software that tracks office usage can still help to inform future real estate decisions.
Reduces your environmental footprint
With improved density in your office you reduce the amount of energy that’s expended heating, cooling, and lighting the building. Reducing the number of days your employees are commuting also has a positive impact on your company’s carbon footprint.
In addition to the cost savings above, switching to flexible or shared desks is also the green choice.
Avoids workplace disruption
Many businesses faced disruption at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic; going from regular office one day to being forced to work from home the next. Many businesses found themselves unprepared as their teams had to move into flexible work at short notice. Promoting a flexible model at all times increases resiliency – employees are already ready to work flexibly at a moments notice.
Use space utilization analytics to aid decision-making
To make the growth decisions mentioned in the previous point, you need the means to help you analyze the data. Guesstimating how many people are using your workspace on a regular basis at peak times is surprisingly challenging. With the space utilization analytics of desk hoteling software, you can collect and use valuable occupancy and utilization data.
This data will let you:
- Monitor facility usage
- Monitor trends
- Make informed decisions regarding resource optimization, re-organizing spaces, amending how existing workstations and planning for future expansions.
Without this you can waste a lot of potential money and resources.