Basic desk booking is not enough for the return to work

Until 2020, the future of office hoteling seemed all but certain. A strategy in between reservation-less “free addressing” and dedicated desk or office space per employee, office hoteling was typically the domain of the largest global firms with highly mobile workforces that need to keep a close eye on the business impact of their real estate.

As the COVID-19 pandemic evolved, it became clear that the hoteling model office space would change, creating entirely new challenges for workplace strategy. How does an organisation maximise the capacity of their spaces to accommodate social distancing guidelines without investing in more square footage? How do you maintain confidence that your spaces are clean and safe while giving employees the peace of mind that they will have a sanitary space ready for them when they arrive?

Reconfiguring the office can be costly and time-consuming and could quickly fall short as plans change. Manually removing chairs or applying signage works but does not scale beyond a small space or give reassurance that spaces are not being used if they should not be. Office hoteling is a technology approach to reconfiguring the office that offers fast implementation and agility against changing demands. Simple desk booking will fall short of today’s demands. Instead, the hoteling workplace requires more robust solutions.

EMS is Accruent’s desk, room, and resource scheduling solution that supports numerous use cases, including desk booking or hoteling office space. EMS goes beyond simple desk booking with:

Anytime Access to Desk Booking

Booking a desk from the lobby kiosk or by roaming the office floor creates an opportunity for unsafe conditions, uncertainty and inefficiency for employees. EMS offers access to room and desk booking from anywhere with points of access, including the EMS Web Application, the EMS Direct Spaces mobile app, Microsoft Outlook and Google Workspace.

Accruent - Blog Post - Hoteling for a Safer Office

Booking in advance provides the peace of mind that a safe space will be ready and waiting, but last-minute reservations happen. EMS offers safer no-touch options, like desk signs with built-in badge scanning, that integrate directly with EMS to keep availability and usage data up-to-date and accurate. For a lower cost and quicker implementation, EMS can even supply a simple QR code to pair with each desk or room so that employees can book via a mobile phone and keep wandering the office to a minimum.

Granular Control of Access and Availability

Accruent - Blog Post - Hoteling for a Safer Office

With EMS, you can organise the office by creating desk groupings. A group could be limited to a specific work shift, team or department, meaning they can only book a desk in their prescribed area on their prescribed date. EMS accomplishes this through robust, configurable business rules that guarantee a safe space is available for those that need it, exactly when they need it.

EMS booking forms are highly configurable, enabling you to remind people of policies and procedures and collect any relevant information from the very beginning. Custom fields can be included to query users of their equipment needs, visitors, personal travel history, etc.

Optimised and Efficient Cleaning Processes

Accruent - Blog Post - Hoteling for a Safer Office

Next to social distancing, cleaning and sanitisation has been a primary concern for those creating return to work plans. There are two sides to this challenge: employees need to know what is clean and safe, while cleaning staff need to know what needs attention.

EMS provides built-in reports that can be pulled hourly, daily or weekly to inform custodial staff of which spaces need attention. This data can keep costly sanitisation services streamlined without sacrificing safety or relying on manual record keeping. Even more advanced workplaces can integrate desk signs from EMS partners like Embrava (pictured here), giving on-the-spot awareness of desk status and using badge scans for booking, releasing and marking as “clean.”

Self-Service, Actionable Utilisation Reporting

EMS comes with pre-built, ready-to-run reports that provide instant access to data on how and when spaces were or will be used and by whom. A sample of available reports includes:

  • Transition Report – note occupants’ previous and next desk booking
  • Occupancy Report – know the number and percentage of desks occupied over time
  • Utilisation Reporting – identify over- and under-utilisation of desks office-wide

Accruent - Blog Post - Hoteling for a Safer Office

In addition to the 130+ pre-built and automatable reports, custom queries are available to ensure you can access the exact data you need to inform your specific workplace strategy and help you understand your office environment.

Real-Time Notifications for Users and Admins

Notification from EMS is invaluable for keeping employees, administrators and service providers informed and aligned. In a time where policies and practices can change rapidly, communication is critical for safe and effective operations. Notifications can be used to:

  • Notify relevant individuals if an employee reports themselves as higher risk when submitting a booking request
  • Notify employees of their bookings and require confirmation to avoid wasted space
  • Relay policies and policy changes in booking confirmations and reminders
  • Notify custodial department of hourly/nightly/daily spaces needing cleaning

Accruent - Blog Post - Hoteling for a Safer Office

Request a Demo to see how EMS delivers the configurability and depth of functionality to support the office hoteling workplace.