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Dibs for the Office: A New Way to Coordinate Flexible Space without Calendars

Flexible Space
The Robin Team
Published on

Does your office have space that's hard to define?

The fabled breakout space

As teams grow, they add rooms like breakout spaces or call rooms to the mix. They might not have "walls" in the traditional sense, but are perfect for last minute brainstorm sessions. Unlike the standard conference room, they are built for flexibility and don't need formal calendars for scheduling.

"We have this odd area up front everyone's always fighting over. Can you do anything about that?"

Unfortunately for the teams we heard from, claiming these areas is a game of guess and check. Unless you're willing to post a passive aggressive note in advance, staking claim on this kind of free space is unreliable.

Reserve office space without calendars

Over the past month you may have noticed a new button quietly appear for calendar-less spaces in Robin's web dashboard.

Dibs is a way for teams to coordinate use of calendar-free spaces, without losing flexibility.

When you dibs a room, it's reserved for the next five minutes. During that time, Robin lets others know the room isn't available by displaying your reservation across the apps for all to see. If you have the Rooms app running on a nearby tablet, you'll see something like this:

Dibs on Robin Rooms scheduler

Once called, you can claim dibs by either checking in using the Rooms app or (if the room has presence enabled) just physically showing up. Once you've arrived, the room will switch to "In Use" for as long as you're there.

The Rules of the Office

Like most things originating from elementary school recess, Dibs has rules:

  1. The space must not have a calendar paired
  2. The space must be empty (i.e. no active presence)
  3. You can only dibs one space at a time
  4. You can only dibs the same space once every 30 minutes. Even if you betray the trust of your colleagues cancel.

"Is five minutes enough time?!" Yes. We believe in you.

Aside from being a nice round number, the five minute limit seemed to be the right amount of time for early testers to scurry from lobby (or desk) to their claimed room. We ran speed trials. We tested humans like lab rats. The only ones who thought five minutes was too short also liked stopping to do other things along the way.

We'll let you be the judge. Dibs is live on web and tablet versions of Robin today. Android and iOS support will be up in the next couple weeks, pending app store approval. We believe there's a lot more left to do with this idea of wrangling unscheduled space, and we'd love to hear how your team uses it in early days.

featured report

The Office Space Report 2023