Hoteling is a simple way to bring oversight and order to flexible workspaces. It can prevent logjams and overlap, and the wasted time and productivity that come with them. A desk reservation system set up the right way is also a boon to employees. It affords them more control of their work habits and practices, and gives them the personal space they need to feel safe and comfortable—a timely benefit considering the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Here’s a quick dive into five of the top strategies for companies to maximize hoteling in the workplace. Lay the groundwork for these before shifting to a reservation system. Or, if you already rely on office hoteling, use these tips to refine your existing system.

Diversify booking options

The convenience of flexible workspaces is that they’re open and available when employees need them. For hotel desks, availability is governed by reservations. If employees can’t book a hotel desk, they can’t use it. Companies should diversify booking options and methods to maintain broad—yet controlled—accessibility to workstations. Examples include:

  • Email reservations via an automated system or administrative booking process
  • Messaging apps with real-time access to desk availability and booking options
  • Portal booking on a company’s intranet site or through a workplace mobile app
  • Live booking at a kiosk or touchscreen located at the hotel desk

Make it simple for employees to see available space and book through many channels. On the flipside, have a system in place that can organize and process bookings from various inputs.

Centralize workstation management

Companies should centralize their reservation management systems. Without a clear-cut funnel for booking requests and desk management, the hoteling system begins to break down. Automated efficiency comes via an integrated workplace management system (IWMS). Serraview and SpaceIQ offer real-time desk booking and oversight capabilities that make workstation management easy.

  • How many desks are available right now?
  • How are requests processed and reservations made?
  • What confirmation standards are in place?
  • How can employees change or cancel their reservations?

Workstation management software automates everything from reservation requests/changes to utilization metric measurements so facilities managers can better shape their hoteling systems.

Track occupancy and utilization metrics

How do you know if your hoteling system is efficient? Like all workplace development initiatives, hoteling benefits from key performance indicators (KPIs). Occupancy and utilization metrics shed light on how well you’re managing hotel desks, as well as measure demand.

Hotel desks occupied 100% of the time each week indicates a need for more workspaces, while a 15% usage rate offers opportunities to use space for other options. Other factors like the length of a booking, types of employees who book space, and the physical location of popular/unpopular bookings all contribute to hoteling best practices. The more you know, the more you can improve.

Tracking hotel desk utilization also supports contact tracing for COVID-19. In the event of a confirmed case, facilities managers can pull the hotel desk log for recently used workspaces to begin the contact tracing process and notify employees who booked and used desks. An IWMS is key to collecting, pulling, aggregating, and analyzing usage data.

Define and enforce space parameters

Part of maximizing hoteling is acclimating employees to the practice. Teach them how to book space and illustrate the benefits; then set expectations for how, when, and why hotel desks are convenient. As employees acclimate to hoteling, their confidence will grow.

Start with rules, expectations, and general hoteling parameters. Establish and explain the following concepts to employees before introducing a desk reservation system:

  • The parameters of desk booking (how long, where, how, when, why)
  • Hotel desking etiquette and reasonable expectations for use
  • Best practices for rebooking, changing reservations, or cancelling
  • How to handle conflict or get answers to questions about hoteling

Think of this as an education primer. People are much more willing to try something when they understand it. Educate employees on hoteling before urging them to adopt it and the prospect of reserved desking won’t seem so complicated or uncertain.

Offer diverse and ample space

Space diversity is one of the hallmarks of flexible space and broad office utilization. Not everyone needs the same type of workspace, and different types of work necessitate different types of work areas. Hoteling allows you to provide booking opportunities for different types of space to increase adoption and stay true to the concept of a flexible workspace.

Some employees may prefer a blank-slate desk where they can open their laptop and spread out to work. Others may prefer a standing desk near a window. Some may need a room with A/V capabilities. Hoteling can even extend to conference rooms and other gathering spaces. Any space that supports reservations becomes part of the hoteling ecosystem. Make sure your ecosystem is rife with diverse workspaces.

Make hoteling more effective

Combined, these tips culminate in a workplace hoteling system that’s user-friendly, easy to manage, and creates a gateway to better workplace utilization. Hoteling isn’t just a solution to office adaptation during the COVID-19 era—it’s a smart way to create certainty for your workforce in how, when, and where they work.

Keep reading: Office Hoteling Best Practices

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Jonathan writes about asset management, maintenance software, and SaaS solutions in his role as a digital content creator at Eptura. He covers trends across industries, including fleet, manufacturing, healthcare, and hospitality, with a focus on delivering thought leadership with actionable insights. Earlier in his career, he wrote textbooks, edited NPC dialogue for video games, and taught English as a foreign language. He hold a master's degree in journalism.