Hybrid work remains at the top of the conversation about how work is changing, and how priorities are shifting. It is establishing itself as the new standard and redefining how flexible work will look in the future.
A hybrid model is almost always accompanied by answering the question of how to organize desk sharing (hot desking or hoteling). With only some employees showing up some of the time, the need to reconsider office space organization arises naturally.
Setting up desk sharing requires careful planning and implementation. Companies need to analyze their existing work culture, assess employee readiness and buy-in, determine how to reorganize shared office space, and more. Put simply, prior to suggesting concrete policies, companies need to consider if and how to organize desk sharing.
In this blog post, we will focus on what companies need to address when introducing desk sharing as part of their switch to a hybrid work model, and how technology plays an important part in that process.
Desk sharing has many pros and cons, so it’s good for companies to take these into account when exploring whether to introduce it or not. If you’ve already come to the conclusion that you want desk sharing in your company, the next step is to set the foundation that will make it work.
This involves reaching out to employees and analyzing their responses, as well as other practical considerations about the office environment. Balancing all of these out over time will result in your particular implementation of desk sharing, tailored to your company’s and employees’ needs.
Here are the main things you will need to consider when moving in the direction of a desk-sharing arrangement.
Before you introduce desk sharing, you need to survey your employees and define the specific work styles and habits at your company. Desk sharing will likely disrupt them in some way, so it’s good to know what you can expect.
At this stage, it’s important to collect detailed and precise data about the work styles, office design, desk occupancy, and preferences of each team or department.
Maybe the marketing department spends twice as much time in the office as the dev team or vice versa. Whatever the case, you need to how often each team works in the office currently.
This data will determine how you redesign the office space, later on, taking into account the needs and preferences of employees more likely to come to the office.
Naturally, community is the biggest reason why we go to work at an office (otherwise coworking spaces wouldn’t exist). If community and collaboration are important parts of your company culture, your desk-sharing arrangement will need to reflect this to provide people with the ability to connect, despite the alternative office space setup.
Apart from surveying attitudes at a distance, it’s really useful to directly involve your employees in the conversation. Giving them a voice about how to use the office on their terms will make it much easier to organize desk sharing and create a pleasant work environment.
To start with, you can familiarize your teams with the concept of desk sharing, and how it fits into the hybrid working model. You can speak about its benefits as well as about the impact it will have on current day-to-day routines.
You can also ask them to share how they feel about making such a change, and what possible concerns or ideas they may have about it. Asking for feedback is likely to raise questions that you had not thought of, so you only stand to benefit from it.
Unless your company has a total of 5 employees, organizing shared workspaces and resources via a spreadsheet can be extremely difficult and time-consuming. Adopting dedicated desk sharing technology will make both the transition to hybrid work as well as its ongoing management a smooth ride.
For example, a good hybrid workplace management system or free desk reservation system will make desk and meeting room booking very easy. With it, you could also manage other aspects of the workplace like parking spots or leisure zones. Finally, such a system should come with both mobile and web apps that allow employees to book the resources they need, engage with company policies, and even manage events.
Implementing a hybrid workplace management system can seem impossible, as no one wants to adopt a new app just to come to work. That’s why we made OfficeRnD’s Hybrid easy to integrate with technologies like Microsoft Teams, Slack, Google Calendar, and more. These integrations allow you to manage desk sharing (and your entire hybrid workplace) in your current tech stack.
There is no one-size-fits-all way to organize shared spaces. Obviously, certain people need to keep their personal desks and private offices – unless you want your receptionists, administrators, or HR professionals to be located in a different work area every day. That said, it may also be useful to consider some form of “ownership” for those employees that find desk sharing too disruptive to their routine.
For example, HubSpot ensures dedicated desks for employees who come to their offices 3 or more times a week. (Another great practice from HubSpot — they help their remote and hybrid employees be more productive when working from home by supporting their home office setup.)
Guaranteeing that employees will be able to secure a desk in a certain area or department is one way of making room for people’s habits without sacrificing the point of desk sharing. Alternatively, you can install lockers or some other form of storage that enables people to store their personal items and retrieve them easily, without having to carry them from and to work all the time.
Another form of “ownership” is the way in which people like to set up their desk space. The more options you can provide in terms of adjustable desks, chairs, monitors, or even lightning, the easier it will be for everyone to feel “at home” at any desk. Here, too, you can solicit feedback to determine what’s important for employees so that you can meet their needs as much as possible.
The last step in your journey to organize desk sharing is to create a desk sharing policy. This policy must reflect the decisions you’ve taken about desk sharing going forward.
Your policy needn’t be a heavy or long document – instead, it must be able to answer the main questions concerning desk organization. You can start out by defining the scope of the arrangement – does desk sharing apply to everyone or only for certain teams? Are there exceptions and in what cases do they apply? As you get more advanced, you can create entire office neighborhoods, but for now, a simple document will do.
The document must also specify the responsibilities that team members will have. This can include items such as how to care for the desks and space and how desks can be used – on a “first come, first served” basis, a rotational principle, reservations via a desk booking system, or something else altogether.
In addition, the policy must also include the specific commitment and responsibilities that the company will assume toward employees. Details such as the exact number of desks that will be available, how desks will be booked, sanitization and other anti-COVID measures, as well as whether storage will be available – all of this must be included here. It’s good to also specify who will be responsible for implementing the policy and who people can contact in case a problem arises.
Finally, consider setting a few etiquette rules for desk sharing. These will help everyone be on the same page when coming to the office and working on shared desks.
In short, creating a desk sharing policy will help you ground the arrangement in specific terms and provide employees with clarity.
Shifting to a desk sharing setup may seem complicated at first. At the same time, it offers a host of benefits to companies that do it the right way. From productivity increases and reduced costs to greater employee satisfaction and flexibility – all of that can be achieved with a well-designed desk sharing policy.
Luckily, you don’t need to do it all by yourself. OfficeRnD Hybrid can help you implement desk sharing in a smooth and stable way. Our hybrid workplace management solution offers an extensive suite of features (like visual floorplans, desk and meeting room bookings, space management, and more) to help you manage every aspect of the process with ease.
Want to learn more? Book your live demo today and let us show you how easy managing desk sharing can be!
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