How to Create a Desk Booking Strategy

Becky Chariton
Becky Chariton
Published on 
11.1.2022

Employees in a hybrid office at their booked desks

We can all agree – hybrid work is here to stay. People are enjoying flexibility and they’re being more productive because of it.

Despite this new transition to hybrid work, JLL’s Future of Work survey found that 72% of business decision makers believe the physical office remains a central part of doing business. While working from home offers the benefit of flexibility and focus, the office still has a significant purpose and can offer something people can’t get anywhere else - collaboration and social connection.

If the workplace is changing, that means it’s time to level up and adapt to the new needs of hybrid employees. A majority of the same business decision makers have planned or are planning to make all office spaces open and collaborative, and we found that 87% of study respondents have fully or partially implemented room and desk reservation tools to help support their hybrid teams in the office. 

When you implement flexible seating, you need a system to manage desk bookings, assigned seats, and work-week coordination. Using a desk booking system not only helps you oversee resources and policies, it gives people even more flexibility and choice about where and how they work. If you want to set up a desk booking policy in your office, here’s the ultimate guide to help you get started or help you improve what you already have.

Data from Robin + Verdantix's report.

Types of Desk Booking Strategies 

Assigned desks are less of the standard and more of an exception, so you need an effective way for people to decipher which desks are available each day. The best way to do that is with a desk booking strategy.

The two most well known and effective strategies are hot desking and desk hoteling. While both allow people to book desks day to day, there are some differences you should be aware of.

  • Hot Desking: Hot desking is the concept of having flexible, individual workspaces within the physical office that are available as needed. If employees come and go from the office, multiple people might use the same workspace in a single day. 
  • Desk Hoteling: Similarly to hot desking, desk hoteling allows people to book individual workspaces when they’re in the office. However, with desk hoteling people can book desks and workspaces in advance and for longer periods of time.

Both approaches are a great way to provide your teams with flexibility and choice. Whichever strategy you choose, you’ll need to support it with the right tools, technology, and processes. 

Tweet from Robin powered about desk hoteling

Your desk booking strategy is an important component of your hybrid office planning and will impact the fluidity of your workplace experience. By creating a strong policy and tactically sharing it with your team you can set yourself up for success and enable productivity in your office.

Here are 4 ways to build a successful desk booking strategy your teams will actually follow.

4 Tips for Building a Desk Booking Strategy

1. The Data Doesn’t Lie

The easiest way to create a desk booking strategy that works is to ask your teams what they need. Employee surveys, qualitative research, and space utilization data can inform how many desks you need, and how many employees can safely and comfortably come into the office on any given day. 

Eliminate friction by ensuring you have enough space, desks, and equipment. Once your strategy is in place, you can use tools like workplace analytics to make adjustments and continue to support your teams while they grow.

2. Simplify Visibility & Choice

Imagine walking into the office and seeing that every desk is occupied. You wasted time commuting in and you’re losing time finding a space to work. It’s frustrating, confusing, and may deter you from coming in again.

Prevent situations like this from happening with desk booking tools and software. The best desk booking tools allow people to:

  • See who will be in the office when
  • Choose a desk with the right technology
  • Discover what’s going on in the office each day

The easier it is for people to interact with the office and book desks, the more likely they are to come in.

3. Communicate Rules & Expectations

Desk booking is new for everyone in the office, including your employees. It’s crucial you set expectations and clearly communicate them to ensure your teams know what they’re doing and how to do it. Some new rules may include:

  • Keep desks clean and wipe down your space when you’re done
  • Cancel your desk if you aren’t going to use it
  • Remove all personal items at the end of your day

Consider adding a step by step guide to your handbook, offering training, and even sharing some desk booking etiquette with your teams. Set your teams up for success by building out resources for them to use.

4. Listen and Learn: Collecting Feedback

Who knows what your teams need better than they do? Hybrid work is all about trusting your teams know what’s best for them, and that also goes for the office.

Once you implement a desk booking strategy you should consistently ask your teams for feedback. You most likely won’t get this 100% right the first time and there’s always room for improvement.

You won’t know what you can do better unless you ask. Lean on your teams to guide you, continue to listen to feedback, and don’t be afraid to make changes along the way.

Enable Desk Booking with Workplace Technology

Building a desk booking strategy is only half of the equation. Once you have the rules in place you still need tools to help you put it all into place. Enter: Robin.

Robin’s suite of hybrid tools not only helps you implement your desk booking strategy, it can help you support it. Our user-friendly app and scannable QR stickers make it easy for your teams to check into desks and for you to gain insight into office usage.

Your vibrant hybrid workplace is just around the corner. Want to learn more? Book a demo today.