6 Factors to Consider When Choosing Desk Booking Software
After nearly two years of working either fully remotely or part-remote, part-in office, it's clear that employees support the hybrid workplace model.
In fact, 80% of tech workers say that they prefer hybrid work over a fully remote or full-time onsite schedule.
This trend suggests offices aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. Employees rely on a dedicated communal workspace for socialization, resources, collaboration, and a separation of work from their homes.
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Still, the pandemic shined a light on a reality of work: Many employees can complete the core tasks of their jobs from anywhere, so long as they have a laptop and internet connection. Employees are still eager to get into the office—but they might not want or need a dedicated desk waiting for them when they arrive.
Using desk booking to bridge the gap
This is where desk booking comes into play.
Since hybrid work has become commonplace, desk booking software is a crucial inclusion in a company’s suite of HR and People Operations technology. A desk booking tool allows employees to select a desk before coming into the office, so they can better plan their remote and on-site days in a way that complements their personal lives and their teams’ in-office availability.
Desk booking software is growing in popularity, but before making a purchase, you should start your search by considering the things you’ll need in your platform.
To get you started, here are six of the most important factors to consider when selecting a desk booking software.
What to look for when choosing desk booking software
1. Ease of setup
When you invest in a desk booking software, the goal is to end up with a tool that is completely customizable to fit your day to day office needs. That’s why easy configuration tops the list of the most important things to look for in a desk booking tool.
Floor plan uploading
As an admin, you should have the ability to upload your exact floor plan—regardless of how many floors or buildings your company occupies.
Employees who book a desk should be able to easily look at the layout within the software and understand exactly where the desk is that they’re booking—whether they’ve been in the office for years or are just making their first trip into it.
And, it should be easy to upload a new, adjusted floor plan and make changes without having to contact customer support.
Ability to designate neighborhoods
A desk booking tool should make it easier for your team to come into the office—it shouldn't add a layer of confusion.
This clarity usually comes in the form of designated “neighborhoods,” or sections of the office where specific teams or departments sit together, which is more important than you may think.
Optimized seat selection has been found to increase productivity by 15 percent, and lets employees sit where they'll get their best work done. So, making it clear who is sitting where and allowing employees to sit with the team members they regularly work with (and offering them the ability to select those seats themselves) can impact overall morale and boost productivity.
Option for designated desks
Finally, it’s worth noting that some of your team will likely still prefer an arrangement where they can work in the office full-time. Or, you might have leadership or administrative team members who need to be in the office at some point every day.
To accommodate these situations, consider a desk booking software that allows certain desks to be designated as permanent, "non-bookable" desks reserved for employees who need a dedicated workspace.
Desk booking software is one of the many tools that HR and People Ops teams rely on in their hybrid workplace. But, it's not the only tool you'll need to make a hybrid office run smoothly.
Other HR and People Ops tools, such as conference room scheduling, performance management, and visitor management software are essential when it comes to increasing both overall productivity and employee happiness at work.
Of course, it's possible to set up each of these different tools through different vendors. But, this provides a disjointed user experience—both for everyone at your company who is simply using the tools, and for administrators who are also in charge of setup, data analysis, and employee satisfaction.
When all your HR and People Ops tools work in tandem with each other, it's easier to manage and creates a better experience for everyone in your office. So, if you are choosing desk booking software, consider one that offers some of the other product functionality that your office also needs.
Combining multiple types of workplace software under one roof means staff spends less time switching between tools or trying to connect the dots between different software products. Plus, it produces useful analytics and reporting for People Ops managers to learn more about employees’ office working preferences—but more on that one later.
Related content: Tips for Spring Cleaning Your HR Tech Stack
3. Useful integrations
As we mentioned earlier, desk booking software should make it easier for your employees to come into work and be productive—not add a layer of hassle.
So, it's ideal to use a desk booking tool that integrates with the other tools your employees already use.
For desk booking, this looks like finding a tool that integrates with:
- Calendar tools like Google Calendar
- Office chat or communication platforms like Slack or Teams
- Security/access control solutions like Brivo, Kisi, or Okta
These integrations make it easier to work desk booking into your day-to-day. For example, Eden's Slack integration allows employees to book desks directly via Slack—which means they don't have to visit a separate app to make a reservation.
4. Design and user experience
The best products are the ones that are intuitive for both new and existing users. In fact, 90% of users said they stopped using an app with poor usability—so investing in a desk booking software that isn’t user friendly can result in poor adoption (and wasted time and money).
Specifically, employees should be able to navigate the desk booking app on desktop and on mobile with limited instructions—particularly when it comes to mobile use, as some employees may book their desks for the day on-the-go.
Other capabilities to look for might include easy wayfinding within the desk booking platform. In other words, employees should be able to find their assigned hotel desk for the day without directions. Additionally, the desk selection process should allow employees to choose the desk that’s best for their working style; for some employees, a standing desk is non-negotiable. For others, the increased productivity that comes from dual monitors is the only reason to commute.
Intuitive design and a good user experience means fewer questions for your HR and People Ops team members, and fewer barriers for interested employees to return to the office.
Your leadership team needs insights into the behavior of your hybrid workforce, and the data to back up those insights.
So, look for a desk booking software that presents desk usage metrics in a way that doesn’t require too much digging from administrators.
For example, you might notice members of your HR team are more likely to come into the office multiple times a week, but Marketing employees might just come in once or twice. However, maybe you initially designated a smaller neighborhood in your office to HR and a larger one for marketing. As a result, not all HR team members get to sit together—while the Marketing neighborhood is full of empty desks.
Upon reviewing your data, you may decide to switch this decision and re-designate your neighborhoods based on employees’ preferences. But without access to data, it's difficult to tell exactly what is happening and make decisions based on how your office is truly being used.
Finally, don’t forget to consider the value and return on investment you’re projected to receive. Naturally, this starts with the price you pay.
The pricing for desk booking software should factor in the size and needs of your company, rather than handing down a one-size-fits-all pricing model. For example, if your business is quickly scaling, you might have the need (and funds) for additional features that wouldn’t have applied to your business when it was just getting started.
A well-priced desk booking software can be purchased for less than $3 per desk. In return, employees can come into the office on days that work for them—and they can choose to work where they’re most productive, without worrying that they'll arrive at the office and have nowhere to sit. And, admins and People Ops leads can benefit from the assurance that they're using a tool that is feature-rich, user-friendly, and generates the metrics that matter to their teams.
Eden's Desk Booking is the next step in building a people-centric, efficient hybrid office
A reliable desk booking software is one of the most crucial investments a hybrid company can make—and all of the above features need to be prioritized as you search for the best one.
If you're evaluating which desk booking tool to choose and you'd like to see if Eden is right for your team, click the demo button below to learn more.