The 6 Factors to Consider When Choosing Desk Booking Software
Employees have spoken – and in droves, they’ve shouted their support for the hybrid working model. In fact, 62% of employees have stated their preference to work some of their time in-office and the remainder of it remotely. This trend suggests offices aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, as employees rely on a dedicated communal workspace for socialization, resources, collaboration, and a separation of work from their homes.
Still, the pandemic has shone 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. However, employees are still eager to get into the office. Only now, they might not want a dedicated desk waiting for them when they arrive.
These situations are where desk booking software comes into play. Since hybrid working is commonplace for many of us, desk booking software is a crucial inclusion in a company’s suite of HR and people ops technology. These tools allow 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 surging 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.
Considerations for a Great Desk Booking Software
1. Easy Configurability
When you invest in a desk booking software, you should be rewarded with a tool that is completely customizable to fit the makeup of your office. That’s why easy configuration tops the list of the most important desk booking software factors.
As an admin of this software, you should have the ability to upload the exact makeup of your business’s 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.
This clarity usually comes in the form of “neighborhoods,” or designated 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% and reduce the likelihood of “toxic” coworkers spreading their mindsets to their peers in proximity. Thus, employees sitting with those with whom they get along and work alongside – and having the ability to select those seats themselves – can noticeably impact efficiency and employee retention.
Finally, it’s worth noting that 23% of employees still prefer an arrangement where they can work in the office full-time. To accommodate these employees’ needs, consider a desk booking software that allows certain desks to be designated as permanent, non-hotelable desks reserved for employees who need a dedicated place in their workspace.
Desk booking software is one of the many tools that people ops teams rely on in their hybrid workplace. Other integrated workplace management system (IWMS) tools, such as room scheduling and visitor management software, play crucial roles in keeping the office well-managed through technology.
Each of these SaaS tools can be provided by different technology vendors, but this approach runs the risk of a choppier user experience. It’s a much simpler process when all of these tools work in tandem with each other, which is why comprehensiveness is on this list. Desk booking software should come from the same vendor as the rest of the IWMS software used for your office – and if your existing software doesn’t have a desk booking feature, it might be time to shop around for one that does.
Combining these modules of workplace software under one roof means staff spends less time switching between tools or trying to connect the dots between different software. Plus, it produces useful analytics and reporting for people managers to learn more about employees’ office working preferences – but more on that one later.
3. Useful Integrations
Desk booking software is one of many tools that employees rely on to do their best work – and as any tech-savvy worker would know, it’s better when these systems integrate with each other whenever possible.
In particular, desk booking software might integrate with the following technology types:
- Calendar tools like Google Calendar
- Chat/Communication platforms, like Slack or Teams
- Security/Access control solution, like Brivo, Kisi, or Okta
These integrations make it easier for employees to know where they (and their team members) are sitting, when they’re planning on entering the office, and to confirm their identity when they do decide to work on-site.
4. Design & UX
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 quickly prove to be a poor decision if it goes unused by employees.
Specifically, employees should be able to navigate the desk booking app on desktop and on mobile with limited instructions – particularly for mobile, as some employees may book their desks for the day on-the-go.
Other capabilities to look for might include easy wayfinding within the 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. This usability means fewer questions for your HR and people managers 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. Find a 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, you initially designated a smaller neighborhood in your office to HR and a larger one for marketing. This decision means not all HR team members get to sit together. Upon reviewing your data, you may decide to switch this decision and re-designate your neighborhoods based on employees’ preferences.
Finally, don’t forget to consider the value and return on investment you’re projected to receive from your choice software. 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. If your business is quickly scaling, for example, you might have the need (and funds) for additional features that wouldn’t apply to your business when it was just getting started.
A well-valued desk booking software can be purchased for less than $3 per desk. In return, employees have the ability and comfort to come into the office on days that work for them – sitting in the seats where they’re most productive. Admins and people ops also benefit from the assurance that desk booking software is feature-rich, user-friendly, and generates the metrics that matter to their teams.
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.