Hybrid work is the new normal. More and more companies are realizing the benefits of flexible work arrangements: employees are happier, healthier, and just as productive. However, with some employees working from home and others in the office, how can you keep your whole team connected? Learn how software can help you implement an effective hybrid workplace strategy.
What is a hybrid workforce?
In a traditional model, all employees commute to the office each workday and have an assigned desk. The hybrid model, in contrast, balances in-office and remote work. A hybrid workforce may have a group of employees who work in the office and others who work remotely. Or, the entire workforce may split their time between working onsite and working from home.
What is hybrid work software?
Some companies shift to a hybrid work policy but still maintain each employee’s assigned office or workspace. Others, however, are realizing that they can shift their office layout. With some amount of employees working offsite each day, it’s no longer necessary for every person to have a dedicated desk. You may even be able to reduce the square footage of your office, saving on overhead costs.
Two popular options for a flexible office layout are:
- Hot desking: This seating arrangement allows employees to book a desk on demand. Because desks aren’t assigned and can be reserved by anyone, this setup maximizes the amount of open space and lets workers choose the space that best suits their needs.
- Office hoteling: This type of space management lets workers reserve an office space ahead of time. Assigned spaces are eliminated, but employees can select a space in a reservation system and book it for a set period.
With hot desking, employees typically can only book a space for a day at a time. Desk and office hoteling models, however, allow you to make reservations for a few days or weeks at a time.
Hybrid work software features
While companies can use a manual system like a sign-up sheet or whiteboard to reserve desks, a software-based solution is much more effective. If your company is considering a shift to hybrid work, look for office management software that has the following features:
1. Desk booking
Hybrid work desk software should allow employees to reserve the space they need to do their best work. A desk booking tool lets the end user see a complete map of the office. They can search and select available workspaces and reserve one in advance. Some platforms let users filter their options by location or amenity. For example, if an employee needs a second monitor for a project, they can find a workspace that has the equipment they need.
The booking system can also encourage collaboration. With a seating chart, employees can see who else is in the office. If they need to work with a colleague, they can book adjacent desks.
2. Meeting room management
Your software shouldn’t just work for individual spaces. In a hybrid model, you also need a system for managing conference rooms and meeting spaces. Managing meeting room reservations can be a time-consuming task for administrative staff. With a software-based reservation option, individual employees can find and book meeting rooms as needed. Similar to office and desk booking, users should be able to sort conference rooms by amenities. That way, teams can find meeting rooms that have features like:
- Conference phones
- Modular furniture
- Projectors and screens
If your reservation system updates in real-time, you can also get notified if a meeting is canceled and a conference room becomes available.
3. Guest experience tools
As employees return to the office, you also need a way to welcome back visitors. Clients, freelancers, and interns need to know how to navigate your office and find workspaces. An office management platform can integrate guest experience tools, such as a pre-arrival questionnaire and a check-in system.
In a large office, you’ll want wayfinding tools to help guests navigate your space, as well as a system to notify employees when their visitors arrive. If you have limited staffing, you can also set up a contactless sign-in kiosk instead of having front desk employees sign visitors in.
4. Office-wide communication
You want your employees to feel engaged, regardless of where they are working. It can be helpful to choose software that can send company-wide announcements. That way, leadership teams can share critical information that won’t get buried in an email inbox.
Figuring out the hybrid work policies that work best for your organization may take some time. It’s helpful to have data to inform your decisions. Hybrid workplace software can help you understand how employees are using the office by tracking key metrics, such as:
- Demand for meeting rooms
- Office occupancy
- Meeting duration and density
Reporting on these features can help you identify patterns and trends across your company. For example, you might find that some areas of the office are consistently in demand, while others are underutilized. Or you might find that the office is crowded on certain days of the week and nearly empty on others. Utilization data can help you refine your policies to optimize the way you schedule employees and use your office space.
Improve the workplace experience with Robin
The best hybrid setups encourage collaboration, offer flexibility, and create a positive workplace experience. When you use Robin’s hybrid work software, you’ll have all the tools you need to work effectively. With our platform, your organization can:
- Easily create a drag-and-drop office floor plan
- Find and book desks, conference rooms, and meeting spaces
- Post announcements
- Set booking permissions
- Share schedules and locate colleagues
- Track space usage and report on analytics