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Hot Desk Booking System: Microsoft Bookings in Office 365

booking desk, hot desking in Office 365
Chuck Leddy
Published on

When technology tools aren’t connected or designed with integration in mind, friction and user frustration ensue. Like kids at a playground, tech tools should communicate with, and play well with, each other. All of us use technology tools all the time – at home, at work, and everywhere else – often to connect with other people. We justifiably expect our workplace tech tools to connect with each other in order to enhance employee experience

Let me give a recent example. My local gym has some great treadmills that display your heart rate during workouts, a feature that helps me understand how hard I’m working and enables me to adjust my effort. The problem is, I have to hold onto metal handrails in front of the treadmill display in order to get my heart rate reading. Like many people, I pump my arms when I’m walking fast or jogging, so keeping my hands on a handrail is far from ideal.

I talked to the gym’s front desk person, and she said I could buy a chest strap heart rate monitor (about $100, depending on the brand), pair it to my iPhone by downloading a compatible fitness app, and then wear the chest strap while having the phone app open in front of me on the treadmill – one heart rate display sitting on top of another.

I wanted to simply pump my arms on the treadmill and get a heart rate reading – but was being told to invest loads of money and time into an array of hardware, fitness apps, and connectivity “solutions.” In the end, I decided to keep my hands on the treadmill’s heart rate monitor, and not pump my arms. Was this solution good for my natural jogging (or fast walking) mechanics? No. Was it determined by friction around the design, integration, and connection of technology tools? Yep.

An effective office needs to support interconnectivity between tools.

What is Office 365?

Office 365, released back in 2017, is Microsoft’s popular cloud-based collaboration and productivity platform that includes tools such as Microsoft Teams, MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneDrive, and more. Microsoft 365 is the most widely-used collaboration and productivity platform in today's workplace, with over 345 million paid users globally. Even more impressively, over a billion people globally use at least one component of Office 365. 

Since Microsoft365 is such a widely-used and increasingly popular platform in today’s workplace, it’s vital that other workplace tools integrate with it. If you need to toggle between tools and/or platforms, remembering pass codes and learning various, non-compatible functions, that manual process not only wastes time but also creates frustrating and friction-filled experiences that disrupt productivity. 

Office 365, Meet Robin

Robin’s space booking software integrates seamlessly with Microsoft Office 365, so Robin users can easily book space while using Outlook or other tools within the Microsoft 365 eco-system. 

It’s easy for Office 365 users to conveniently utilize Robin's desk booking system to book multiple desks and conference rooms from directly within Office 365 applications (i.e., no toggling needed). For example, Robin’s room scheduling software opens from Microsoft Outlook and syncs events from your calendar to the Robin dashboard, room displays, and mobile app, relying on your native Microsoft Outlook calendar’s rules to recognize conflict – so there’s no friction here, just seamless integration.

Tool users can perform the functions they want, with the collaborative tools they use every day (Office 365 and Robin) in order to drive team productivity. Administrators, for their part,  get workplace resource analytics and seamless support for better organizational decision-making around the allocation of workplace resources. That’s a win for users, administrators, workplace resource leaders, and people’s productivity.

Robin seamlessly integrates with the Microsoft suite of tools, enabling teams to book a desk right from Outlook.

How Does Hot Desking Benefit Offices?

Hot desking helps solve multiple problems brought about by hybrid work and its related scheduling uncertainties. It's little wonder that hot desking work has become such a widespread solution for modern workplaces, with nearly 90% of organizations having fully or partially implemented room and desk booking software to accommodate approaches like hot desking and streamlined meeting room management.

Why has hot desking become so widely adopted?

1. It Makes Office Space Utilization More Efficient

At its simplest, hot desking means that desks aren’t assigned to specific individuals but are instead available and bookable by any worker who might come into the office. If your office occupancy on Fridays is 14% and it’s 31% on Wednesdays, it makes little sense, from a space management prespective, to give 100% of your people a booked desk Monday through Friday. You’d just be wasting your resources and heating (mostly) empty office space.

2. It Supports Hybrid Work

Setting up hot desking in advance, and providing people with a digital workspace booking system that offers them full, real-time visibility into what desks and services are available, is a key component of supporting hybrid work’s scheduling flexibility. User-friendly interfaces for booking and automated notifications/communication make the booking solution even more people-friendly and frictionless, therefore driving widespread adoption and tool utilization within a hybrid workforce.

Give people the access to the desks they want so they can do their best work.

3. It Enables Scheduling and Working Flexibility

Visibility into where other people are located can promote collaboration and connection – you can easily find Jill from accounting when you have a quick billing question or can locate your lunch-buddy Hassan. You can schedule your Microsoft bookings according to when the people you most want to see are in the office, maybe even booking a desk next to them or a location within close access on any given day.

How to Book Hot Desks in Office 365 with Robin

Let’s get into some nuts and bolts of an integrated hot desk booking system. It’s easy and intuitive to make desk bookings and meeting room bookings using the Robin add-on to Office 365. The add-on is easy to install and simple to open from MS Outlook – and it fully integrates hot desk booking system office 365 and workspace bookings with your shared Outlook calendar. The integration helps your people book space in the Microsoft 365 tools they already use, and avoid booking mishaps that bedevil non-integrated desk booking systems such as double bookings.

You can find full details about booking desks and the meeting room space from Outlook with the Robin add-on. Let’s look at how to book a desk:

1. From your Microsoft Outlook calendar, click New Event. This opens the Robin add-in. 

2. If you just booked a meeting, Robin will suggest a desk for that same day (based on desk availability). Or you can select a different date using the calendar module.

3. Click Book a desk at the top of the add-in.  If you happen to have a desk reservation already for that day, you'll see a "view my desk." 

4. You have two options:

    A: Book: Select this option to confirm and reserve the suggested desk. 

    B: Find Another: This will open your office map in the Robin web dashboard for more desk booking options. 

How to make edits to a booking:

1. Click Cancel to immediately cancel the reservation directly from the add-in.

2. Click Edit to be redirected to the Robin dashboard to make changes to your booking.

Don't make anyone guess where they're gonna sit for the day, give them a solution for booking desks.

Benefits of Tool Integration for Employees & Employers

When widely-used workplace technologies like MS Office 365 and Robin are integrated, people save significant time and effort. Nobody has to manually toggle back and forth between platforms, which leads to errors and lost productivity, not to mention frustrating and hair-pulling employee experiences. 

Workplace automation fueled by tool integration is a “force multiplier” that also helps workplace leaders gain visibility into how their resources (i.e., office spaces and equipment) are being used in real-time so they can make informed decisions and course correct when needed.

Data from integrated tools helps leaders make better decisions around their floor plan, number of available desks, equipment and other resources. Leaders can regularly review and thus improve space utilization approaches, allocate staff member desks where they’re needed most, and generate reporting that they can show to senior leadership to justify decisions and budgets.

Tools That Don’t Connect, Don’t Work

The 17th Century English poet John Donne famously wrote that “no man is an island, entire of itself.” That imperative to connect is also true of technology tools. They must speak to and work with one another in order to benefit users.

Tool silos are productivity killers.

For high-performing hybrid teams, the right resources are critical.

Having to go back and forth between your Office 365 tools, such as Outlook, and your desk booking tool (such as Robin) is a timely and friction-filled customer experience that’s also a bad employee experience. Robin knows that tool integration is foundational for the present and future of workplace technology, which is why we prioritize it.

This writer looks forward to the day when he can both pump his arms on the treadmill and see a reading of his heart rate: I might buy the HR chest strap, though I wish I didn’t have to. Users of MS Office 365 and Robin, on the other hand, can do two things at once from the same tool.

Want to learn more about Robin's integrations? Check out what tools you can connect with Robin.

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