Spoiler alert! Free template download to follow.

Excel and Google Sheets have been the foundation of many operations, especially in new-born companies. That’s why when hybrid work started becoming “a thing” we turned to the good old tables in Excel for maintaining the new concept.

Although in some cases this “out of the box” solution might work, it can’t replace a fully optimized desk booking system or hot desk solution. Employees now require working platforms to manage their desk spaces, take control of their time and have the flexibility to make the most out of their work arrangements.

And that’s where the Excel booking system will probably do more harm than good.

In this article, we’ll cover all the pros and cons of an Excel hot desk booking system versus your own software tool versus a software solution such as OfficeRnD Hybrid. In case you’re for the treat, though – you can download the free hot desk booking template in Excel here.

What desk booking solutions do hybrid offices prefer? Survey results!

We held a short survey throughout our social media channels and the results are no surprise. More than 100 people gave their input about desk booking solutions in their company and around 30% of them are on the right path. They have implemented a software solution thus leveraging the advanced and user-friendly functionality of such a tool, the best decision for larger teams. However, we encourage you to take these results with a grain of salt. Here are some conclusions you might find insightful.

Related: Check out this free hybrid work schedule template in Excel.

Only 11% answered that they’re using Excel/Sheets for desk booking but we noticed that there are people from one and the same company who answered differently, so

  • People who answered “Our own software solution” (17.4%) might be using a hot desking template in Excel as well
  • There might not be one single solution for the entire company but different teams could be using different tools, thus employees from one company answered with “we don’t need such a solution”, “Excel/Sheets” and “Our own solution”
  • Teams are different and with different needs, that’s why they might not be using the same system for managing their desk space

hot desk booking survey

Factors to consider before you choose a desk booking system

When deciding how to facilitate hybrid work, there are several points to consider. These will help you select the best tool for your team and business.

Number of desks and employees

Start with deciding how many desks you want to manage in your office. There are many examples of companies that cut off their number of desks during and after the pandemic in order to lower utility costs.

However, this would be very difficult to manage through the Excel booking system, especially if you have more than 30 employees. Take in mind how your team would grow in the future and what goals you want to achieve with your hybrid work arrangement. Spreadsheets are fast to build and easy to use but not flexible enough so you might want to consider a future-proof tool for desk management.

Hybrid work policies

Put simply, hybrid work policies are the practices and schedules you want to implement when introducing hybrid work. They help you provide a smooth and easy transition, as well as set clear expectations among your employees.

We’ve covered pretty much everything you need to know about policies here. This ebook will also help you craft your own hot desking policy template to follow in your hybrid office.

When choosing whether to use a booking spreadsheet template or third-party software, keep in mind the policies your organization sets. This also includes the different roles in your team – some might have to be in the office more than others, or they might need a desk with two or more computer screens.

Defining your employee type is essential because it will show you who needs a dedicated desk (e.g. HRs, People Managers, Operations, Legal, etc.) and who can benefit from desk sharing.

Then you’ll be able to define hot desking policy with clear rules in place (e.g. no personal items left after work, specific desk for a specific role, etc.). Such policies can improve people’s productivity and attendance rate as well as enable flexible working in your company.

You can still use different tabs in Sheets to facilitate all that but the chances to get messy are quite high.

KPIs to measure success

Like everything else, hybrid work’s success should be evaluated because you can’t improve what you don’t measure.

In order to know if you’ve chosen the right tool with key features, you need to set proper KPIs to measure the success of your team. The indicators will provide necessary insights into team performance that may otherwise get missed. Try to determine which ones are the most important for your company and keep track of how they progress. For example, collaboration, office utilization and employee well-being are the ones that most businesses go with.

Platforms like OfficeRnD Hybrid equip you with a dashboard that shows all the metrics you need in order to choose the best working strategy. It also provides a booking calendar to reserve desks in advance. Plus, it’s completely embeddable and provides easy Google Workspace desk booking.

What are the options?

This table presents the pros and cons of a desk booking software vs hot desk booking template in Excel vs creating your own solution:

pros and cons of different desk booking solutions

#1 Hot desk booking template in Excel

Let’s talk about what you can do with simple Excel/Sheets. Managing hybrid work in Excel is the least expensive tool you can put into action. If we return to our short survey, the desk booking system in Excel would be perfect for a small team (under 20-30 people) who work at the same location and don’t usually book rooms for meetings.

It would work best if your team is made of 1 or 2 types of professionals (e.g. only software developers, or software engineers and product managers). It’s very easy to use and you can access it all the time. Plus, people are already familiar with it so you won’t be introducing a completely new platform.

However, someone has to own this task and be the one who answers any questions regarding it, as well as fixes it when it breaks. Is that going to be the office manager or the HR? And should this person manage the hot desking policy and hybrid work schedules as well?

In cases where your team needs to be 50% of the time in the office, managing this policy will be a huge challenge through a hot desking policy template in Excel. Forget about the KPIs because your data wouldn’t be reliable.

People could book desks and not come to the office or edit their bookings to be in line with policies they don’t even care about. This will compromise your data and it won’t be reliable for any conclusions. Just imagine booking rooms, desks, booths, and focus time through one spreadsheet. You as a manager wouldn’t know if hybrid work is actually working for you or not since you don’t have the platform to facilitate all this.

Also, it’d be very hard to determine if there’s a problem with your team’s productivity. Sheets don’t offer proper dashboards to measure intangible factors such as productivity levels and collaboration stats.

Nonetheless, we believe every team is different and what might work for somebody, might not necessarily work for the other. That’s why we created this free functional template to try for your business. You can find it here and use it without any charge.

You can also check out our free meeting room booking template in Excel.

#2 In-house software solution

Building a hybrid work software from scratch is the most extreme way to deal with the issue. It also has numerous benefits like it’s going to be created according to your taste and needs, it’s managed by your team so if something goes wrong, it can be quickly fixed, etc. However, it costs a lot.

First, you need to decide if you’d need new developers to join the team and take ownership. Second, there are the costs of hosting, building, and managing. For example, the cost of licensing a user on Microsoft PowerApps is $10 per user, per month. A large company developing a solution on Microsoft PowerApp could cost an organization of 100 users $12,000 per year.

Not to mention all the hustle and bustle around developing it, testing it, and building new features.

If you choose to go with this method, keep all that in mind.

#3 Third-party desk booking app

Once you’re ready to choose a system, there are still some points you need to consider:

  • How quickly can you get going with uploading and making your floorplans and resources bookable?
  • How easy is it to configure and set hot desking rules?
  • Can you easily customize and white-label the mobile, web, and integrated experience for your employees?
  • Can you easily connect your Microsoft Active Directory or Google Workspace Directory and sync your employees?
  • How easy is it to hit the go-live button and allow your employees to access the platform?
  • Usually, it shouldn’t take more than 14 days to do all that, so keep it in mind.

While there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, workplace technology should be flexible and adapted to your needs in order to serve your business’s goals.

OfficeRnD Hybrid will help you manage your desk space and meeting rooms, but it also brings people together in a collaborative workspace. That’s why users love us.

officernd desk booking solution

Desk and room booking via interactive floor plans

Booking a desk or a meeting room should be seamless if you plan to increase office attendance. Building an interactive floor plan of your hybrid office will enable employees to see who’s in the office in real-time and who’s reserved a desk during the week. It will empower collaboration and team attendance because people will be able to set their own schedules according to their peers and favorite colleagues. Also, our floorplan clustering functionality gives you a simple and very effective way to navigate large, complex office maps and find your perfect spot!

Seamless and secure integrations with MS teams, Outlook, Google calendar, Slack, and more

Yes, you can have a seamless desk booking in Teams.

We are big fans of the so-called “app-less experience” and we practice what we preach. So our platform is made to be enough for every activity concerning office space. Let employees book desks and meeting rooms on any device via our portal or directly through Microsoft Teams, Outlook, Google Calendar, Google Chrome or Slack.

You can also make a recurring booking to build work patterns, like reserving a desk every Monday and Thursday. This will help you implement your specific work policies and schedules.

Take a look at our MS Teams Integration:

Analyze your office utilization

Understand what are the dynamics in your workplace and how your employees work. This will help you decide what changes to do – if you need more desks or fewer of them and benefit from lower office costs. Advanced Workplace Analytics will allow you to be proactive in creating new hybrid work policies and increase your team results.

If you want to get OfficeRnD Hybrid – absolutely for free – you can do so here and take advantage of the free desk booking tool.


Why replace your Excel booking system with a desk booking app?

Modern teams need modern solutions for their hybrid work lifestyles. While Excel was serving well for a lot of operations within a company, post-pandemic times require smart solutions for hybrid teams. A desk booking system has a lot more functionalities than just a table with names, places, and times for work attendance. It enables collaboration and improves space utilization.

How to create a booking system in Excel?

Creating a desk booking system in Excel or Google Sheets is very easy but it will take you time and effort to do. That’s why we created a template that is ready to use and free of charge. You can download it here.

Elitsa Koeva
Content Marketing Specialist
Elitsa has a passion for understanding the ways in which people work and perceive the workplace. She is interested in growth mechanics and the scaling of startups, and eager to explore the possibilities of furthering this field. In her free time, she enjoys escaping the hustle of city life and connecting with nature.