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Desk Hoteling: What It Is and Why It’s Essential for the Modern Workplace

As hybrid work models continue to gain prevalence, employees become less physically centralized than ever before. This massive shift requires companies to change how they operate, resulting in the need for hybrid work tools that enable teams to manage office space, as well as collaborate and communicate efficiently.

In this article, we’ve listed 21 hybrid work tools that can help you embrace and manage different aspects of hybrid work, grouped into 6 categories:

  • Desk and meeting room bookings (office capacity management)
  • Collaboration and communication
  • Document management
  • Video conferencing and whiteboards
  • Human capital management
  • Employee learning applications

Let’s dive in.

#1 Desk and Meeting Room Bookings (Office Capacity Management)

Most companies that work in a hybrid way don’t assign desks to people permanently.

Instead, they let employees use a free desk when they arrive at the office (hot desking), or reserve one beforehand (hoteling). Desk hoteling is typically the better option for employees since they don’t have to worry about coming to work and finding there are no available desks. Plus, the act of booking a desk allows employees to see who else will be in the office.

On the other hand, companies also benefit from having a tool that helps them manage their new hybrid workplace.

For example, such a tool can help them enforce social distancing and capacity regulations by making some desks or even entire areas unavailable. They can also help companies distribute health surveys and policies.

More advanced hybrid companies even embrace office neighborhoods β€” a way of organizing the workplace so that people who need to collaborate or who have similar workspace needs, sit together in one area.

Our hybrid workplace management platform β€” OfficeRnD Hybrid β€” can help you do all of these things and more. Here’s how OfficeRnD Hybrid can help you enable and manage hybrid work in 3 steps:

1. Build a visual floorplan of the office, so that team members can see available desks and meeting rooms.

Office floorplan

2. Let employees see who will be in the office during the week and books desks and meeting rooms (via web or mobile apps or directly through MS Teams, Outlook, or Google Calendar).

Desk booking OfficeRnD Hybrid

3. Monitor, analyze, and optimize space utilization with the help of workspace analytics and much more.

If you want to learn more, check out the official OfficeRnD Hybrid page, or book a demo with our team.

#2 Collaboration and Communication

One of the key challenges for hybrid work environments is effective communication.

Hybrid and remote work both limit face-to-face communication with colleagues. That’s why companies should make a conscious effort to implement teamwork procedures and get the right communication tools for their workplace.

Team collaboration tools can also be used to help companies and employees track the progress of common projects, regardless of their physical location.

Here are a few examples of communication and collaboration tools:

  • Microsoft Teams & Outlook β€” a classic combination of chat, video conferencing, and email.
  • Trello β€” a simple but powerful project management tool, which lets team members track progress, check-in and share feedback, and organize their work.
  • Asana β€” a tool for organizing work, assigning tasks, tracking progress, and automatic routine tasks.

#3 Document Management

To support hybrid and remote workers, organizations need tools to store and share electronic files rather than relying solely on paper-based systems.

File sharing tools allow teams to store and transfer files in bulk, with their pricing usually being based on how much data you keep in them. These applications remove the transfer process from emails or instant messaging tools, which reduces the distracting flood of notifications. Plus, in some cases, teams need to share documents in formats or sizes that may not be supported by email or chat applications.

Here are a few examples:

  • Google Drive β€” one of the most popular file storage and sharing choices for both individuals and businesses.
  • Box β€” a tool that simplifies the way organizations work, with a focus on security, collaboration, teamwork, and workflows.
  • Citrix ShareFile β€” ShareFile is a file sharing and real-time collaboration tool that lets you store and share large files with bank-level data encryption.

One important aspect of these tools is the potential for integrations with your collaboration stack so that employees can track, manage, and connect to projects. For example, if you use Slack for communication, you can integrate Google Drive to share and access files from your Slack workspaces.

In general, integrations are key for reducing app overload and keeping context switching to a minimum.

#4 Video Conferencing and Whiteboards

The use of video conferencing tools grew exponentially during the pandemic, as they’re paramount in supporting hybrid and remote work environments. A few popular examples:

These types of video conferencing tools have primarily enabled remote team meetings, virtual retreats, webinars since the pandemic started. However, the overload of video calls resulted in the mass spread of so-called β€œZoom fatigue” β€” a feeling of tiredness, anxiousness, and even burnout induced by the overuse of video conferencing tech.

That’s why we’re also including online whiteboard apps as an alternative way to collaborate with colleagues.

These apps help teams with real-time or asynchronous brainstorming and collaboration. Sharing ideas and drawing on a board together is much less monotonous than merely listening to everyone talk, so whiteboards are a great way to switch up your routine and keep things fresh.

Two of the most popular online whiteboard tools are Miro and FigJam.

#5 Human Capital Management

Human capital management software is critical for hybrid work environments as it’s at the core of talent acquisition, workforce management, and service delivery.

These tools usually include an applicant tracking system that helps both job applicants and hiring managers as well as some type of payroll solution. Since hybrid and remote companies can hire talent from across the country (or from different countries and time zones), using such systems today is pretty much a must.

Also, these systems allow companies to share information with their teams about policies or any crucial information relating to the organization. They can also provide a location-independent way to introduce new hybrid and remote employees to the company culture and its values.

Some popular human capital management (HCM) systems include:

  • Oracle Fusion Human Capital Management β€” an all-in-one HCM system for enterprises to manage the employee experience, β€œfrom hire to retire”.
  • BambooHR β€” an HR software solution that helps small and mid-sized companies collect and organize employee data and use it to improve hiring, onboarding, culture-building, and more.
  • iSolved β€” another robust HCM system with features for talent acquisition, payroll, workforce management, and more.

#6 Employee Training and Coaching

Today, organizations are operating exceedingly complex products and tech stacks, so the learning curve for new employees can be high. That’s why businesses need to invest in systems that encourage and support learning in the office and away from it.

Creating a consistent, engaging, and high-quality training experience for all your employees, no matter where they work from can result in faster onboarding and much better results down the road.

Learning management systems (LMSs) and learning experience platforms β€” like TalentLMS, LearnUpon, and Adobe Captive Prime β€” can help you create and facilitate trainings anytime, anywhere, and on any device, as well as track course completions.

There are also specialized learning platforms for sales and other customer-facing teams like Brainshark or Mindtickle.

Building a Hybrid Workspace With OfficeRnD Hybrid

As we’ve said before, we believe the future of work is hybrid. The hybrid workforce can enjoy more flexibility and autonomy, as well as improved work-life balance and well-being.

However, that doesn’t mean that going hybrid is easy. As you can see, there are lots of factors and hybrid work tools to consider when it comes to enabling and managing the whole process.

A natural place to start is your workplace. Most companies start by enabling hot desking or desk hoteling so employees get used to sharing desks and working in a more flexible environment. On that note, you can use OfficeRnD Hybrid to create a floorplan of your office and let employees easily book desks and meeting rooms.

For additional information on hybrid work, check out our articles on:

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