It is safe to say that flexible working has become as common as the coffee break. In 2022, around 4.3 million employees in the United Kingdom had employment contracts that allowed for flexible working hours, making it the most common working practice this year. But flexible working has its operational challenges, not least in the shape of desk and meeting space allocation for when staff are in the office. Here we are taking a look at how those challenges can be overcome, courtesy of smart desk booking solutions.
Hybrid working, activity based working, hot desking, desk sharing, flexible working. Terms that just a few years ago wouldn’t have even been in our vocabulary now roll naturally off the tongue.
The way we work has changed immeasurably, and it has become very clear that the provision of a flexible workspace is now playing a pivotal role in attracting and retaining great talent, as well as enhancing motivation and well-being in the workplace.
But with flexible working comes a host of administrative burdens and added operational costs.
Flexible working and space allocation – a headache waiting to happen?
The process of finding and allocating available desks, meeting spaces and conference rooms can become a real juggling act, and the bigger the office, the more challenging it becomes. And when personal preferences, special requests and last minute changes come into play, things get even more convoluted.
All of this has the potential to slice into valuable time and resources, impacting on efficiency and productivity, and ultimately affecting customer service. Which is ironic, as the whole point of making the switch to flexible working was supposed to enhance all of these things, rather than have the opposite effect.
The good news, however, is that there is a solution, and that comes in the shape of an automated meeting space and desk booking system.
These systems are designed to streamline space allocation, making life so much easier for admin staff, as well as happier and far less frustrating for the employees who need to book suitable space.
Overcoming the challenges of space allocation in the flexible workspace
Urgent requests, last minute changes. Special requirements, such as quiet areas; lively, collaborative space, or needing to be seated with colleagues. Everyone has different needs and preferences, and even these can change from one day to the next. And when multiple staff are looking to secure space to meet or work, it can cause all sorts of headaches for those tasked with allocating and managing it.
An automated meeting room and desk booking system shows admin staff – in real time – what’s free, the features offered by the available spaces, and whether they’ve been recently cleaned and sanitised, stocked with refreshments and prepared for use.
Users themselves can download a desk booking app to their personal smart device, so they can make their own bookings on the system, freeing up even more administrative time. It’s also possible for users to locate friends and colleagues they want to work or meet with, as well as store desk and meeting space preferences to streamline and speed up future bookings.
As a bonus for facilities managers, the smart meeting room and office desk booking system will issue an alert when a space needs cleaning, sanitising and restocking with refreshments ready for the next user. It can also provide digital access passes for the building, or for specific spaces within it. So the whole process is automated.
Even better, a smart desk booking system empowers operational personnel with valuable intel, allowing them to identify and transform frequently unused spaces into something a little more worthwhile, such as breakout zones. It’s also possible to identify the type of space that’s more in demand, so that it can be increased where possible.
So, benefits for all.
How does a smart desk booking system work?
Smart meeting space and desk booking solutions are powered by Internet of Things (IoT) technology.
Using the likes of motion detectors, image-based smart sensors and hot-desking device docking stations, meeting space and desk availability is fed into a central system. This system then allows suitable free spaces and seats to be identified by admin staff, or users themselves, and booked in real time. Last minute changes can be made easily, and forward planning becomes a breeze.
A smart office desk booking system is capable of organising hundreds of booking requests in just a few swipes or clicks. Whether it’s managed by admin staff or user-controlled, there really are so many benefits for the entire organisation.
How Smart Spaces is streamlining flexible working
Smart Spaces is a cloud-based, Internet of Things driven platform incorporating powerful smart meeting room and desk booking solutions in the form of a dedicated module.
The Smart Spaces Desk Booking System features an intuitive, user-friendly dashboard built around an interactive office plan with a desk selector. Hundreds of bookings can be managed from a single hub in just a few swipes or clicks.
The desk booking module can be personalised and branded for individual organisations, and is available as an iOS, Android or desktop app. It allows preferences to be saved, and past bookings to be repeated.
The Smart Spaces desk booking system also makes it possible for users to locate colleagues, so they can book space close by for collaborative and team work tasks. Group bookings can also be made, and the desk booking app can run alongside other Smart Spaces modules, including food ordering and access control.
There is also a separate Meeting Room Booking System which again allows direct control via mobile app or desktop. The real time calendar view shows available rooms, the features they offer, and their cleaning status.
Outlook calendar integration, multi-functional search filters and pre-meeting food ordering all feature across both the desk booking app and the meeting room booking system.
To discover how Smart Spaces could help streamline flexible working within your organisation by automating your meeting and desk booking system, you are welcome to get in touch or request a demo.