How To Use Desk Booking Software For A Safe Workplace

by Glenn Hicks on October 20, 2020
How To Plan A Safer Workplace Now And In The Future

At a time when your office occupancy fluctuates daily, desk booking software is an essential part of a flexible space strategy.

A desk management system gives employees the freedom to reserve any available workspace when they need it.

When paired with a desk booking app, it eliminates the need to use shared surfaces — exactly the type of touchless technology that’s in high demand these days.

Fortunately, you don’t have to look far for this technology. If you use our room scheduling software and Hummingbird mobile app, it’s already in the palm of your hand.

See how our desk booking software works.

How does desk booking software benefit your workplace?

It enables flexibility

Flexibility is more important than ever to your workforce. A Gallup poll conducted prior to the pandemic found 37% of employees would be willing to leave their current job to work in a more flexible environment. Now that many have become accustomed to working remotely for much of the past year, it seems unrealistic to expect everyone to return to a traditional work environment five days a week.

Of course, some will. On the other hand, a small percentage of them may never return. But research shows the majority will likely adopt a hybrid model of working part of the week at home and part of the week in the office.

How To Use Desk Booking Software For A Safe, Flexible Workplace

(Source: Gensler Return to the Office Survey 2020)

Desk booking software enables office hoteling, the practice of allowing employees to reserve any space before they arrive or at any time throughout the day. This gives them the freedom to work remotely on some days and come to the office on others, without needing a dedicated desk.

At the same time, it gives them the certainty of a reservation. They don’t have to worry about finding a place to sit, especially if they’re counting on sitting near a teammate to collaborate on a project.

This uncertainty is part of the reason the less formal strategy of hot desk booking has become so unpopular.

It helps you manage capacity

While employees appreciate the greater flexibility and consistency office hoteling gives them, you can also use a desk reservation system for better space management.

Keeping office density at safe levels is likely among your greatest concerns as you plan to return to work.

To maintain the CDC’s recommended distance of at least six feet between employees, you’ll need to at least double the space you currently have between desks. That means reducing peak capacity by half or more.

No one wants to be turned away at the door, especially if they’ve traveled any distance to come to the office.

If you want to avoid an awkward encounter, you need to have an accurate estimate of how many people will be in the office each day.

You can use desk booking software to make a certain number of your spaces reservable while leaving others empty if you are unable to reconfigure them for physical distancing.

When all desks are full, employees can plan to come in on a different day or at a different time, assuming they don’t already have a scheduled meeting.

It enables strategic space planning

If you have any involvement in your company’s real estate strategy, you’re feeling the pressure to plan for unprecedented scenarios.

Should you renew your lease for an office that barely had 40% occupancy before the pandemic?

Do you need to rent additional space to accommodate physical distancing?

Do you expect your workforce to expand or contract in the coming year?

All this uncertainty makes it difficult to determine your real estate strategy. Desk booking software helps you forecast future needs by looking at recent data.

You can create a report that shows essential data points, such as:

  • What percentage of desks were reserved in the past month
  • Which departments or floors had the highest desk utilization
  • The average length of time for each reservation
  • Which days had the highest occupancy
  • What times of the day were busiest

How To Use Desk Booking Software For A Safe, Flexible Workplace-1

You can use this information to make informed decisions about your current leases and decide whether it makes sense to renew, reduce, reconfigure, or rent new office space.

This could potentially save you hundreds of thousands of dollars in the coming year.

It makes cleaning easier

Assigned desks attract messes. Employees use them to store jackets, snacks, and other personal belongings, which makes it harder to keep these surfaces clean.

A desk booking solution reduces or eliminates assigned desks and gives employees more incentive to leave them as they found them.

You can even set up automatic service requests each time a reservation ends so you can ensure the space is properly cleaned and sanitized.

This reassures employees that they’ll have a clean, safe place to work at all times.

Watch how iOFFICE integrates with sensors for intelligent cleaning.

It makes contact tracing more efficient

If someone who has been in your workplace discloses they’ve tested positive for COVID-19, you need to notify others who have been in close contact with them recently.

The CDC defines this as having been within six feet of the person for at least 15 minutes. While your entire workforce likely wants to be notified regardless (and you don’t want to compromise confidentiality by alluding to where the person sat), knowing who else may be at an increased risk of exposure allows you to monitor the situation more closely.

How our desk booking system works

What employees can do

Our desk booking software is part of our room booking software, which makes it even more user-friendly.

First, employees can find and book a desk or room from a room scheduling panel, desktop, or their mobile app.

desk booking app

They can choose a space based on location, capacity, and amenities (like a webcam for video conferencing.)

Next, they simply select the length of time for their reservation and confirm it.

The reservation will automatically sync with the calendar app they’ve selected, whether that’s Microsoft Outlook, Google Calendar, or the iCloud calendar.

If they reserved a conference room, they can easily invite others using the same calendar tools or notification apps like Slack.

If you use wayfinding software or digital signage, the information will be updated there as well so all others can see that space has been booked.

Employees can also request technical support or cleaning through an integration with our service request software. If they use the Hummingbird app, they can even place an order for lunch to be delivered to their desk or meeting room later.

What workplace leaders can do

Workplace leaders can see which desks are booked at all times and also export historical data on desk reservations.

They can use this information to immediately make adjustments, such as making more desks reservable or requiring employees to check in upon arrival.

If no one checks in after a set period of time, the desk will be made available again.

This eliminates the problem of reserved desks sitting empty because employees forgot to cancel a reservation.

If they want to automate this process and get even more precise utilization data, they can also use sensors that integrate with our desk booking software.

integrate desk booking software with utilization sensors

Workplace leaders can review desk utilization over time to determine how much real estate they need in the coming year.

Once they have a better idea of how their workplace is being used, they can use space management software to create different space scenarios. They can immediately see how those scenarios would impact workplace management and costs before they make changes.

iOFFICE desk booking software

Right-sizing your workplace for the future

There’s no question the COVID-19 pandemic has changed work habits and employee expectations. Employers are being held to a higher standard of safety, cleanliness, and cost control while facing many unknowns.

Whether you’ve reopened your office already or you’re planning a return to work soon, you’ll need to monitor occupancy and space utilization trends even more closely than before.

Reservation technology, coupled with a robust space management software, gives you the ability to how your office occupancy changes so you can make adjustments in real time — and plan for the future with confidence. See all our return to work solutions and resources to start planning. 


Glenn Hicks

A member of the Business Development team, Glenn has years of experience with business process improvement on the Commercial Real Estate and Facilities Management sides.

Capterra Ratings: ★★★★★ 4.5/5