How to Successfully Switch to Desk Hoteling
You’ve circled the company wagons and made the innovative decision to introduce desk hoteling as part of your office culture. For the uninitiated, desk hoteling is a method of supporting unassigned seating in an office environment – an alternative approach to the more traditional method of permanently-assigned cubicles or seating.
Perhaps you’ve conducted a space audit, crunched the numbers and realized you can save on real estate costs – your second biggest overhead expense as a company – by reducing office space. Maybe you want to free up the bloated amount of budget currently tied up in redundant space.
Or maybe your company recently made a sizeable investment in mobile working and telecommuting, and now you need to adjust for that implementation.
Whatever is driving your plans for more flexible desk arrangements, you recognize that the business case for space sharing is significant. You’re ready to pull the trigger.
Now, you just need to ensure a successful transition. Here are some tips on exactly how to navigate that.
Focus on the Success of the Company
If you have a strong business case for why and how desk hoteling will benefit the company, help your employees catch that vision. When you have loyal, engaged employees who see how this switch is going to not only benefit them personally, but also your company’s broader goals, they’re more likely to jump on board without questioning or second-guessing your motives.
Introduce the switch as part of a more comprehensive company goal – such as increasing productivity and collaboration, improving interdepartmental networking or enabling flextime. Employees who believe in the company and recognize this as a way to strengthen it will be on board.
Focus on the Success of the Employee
Even faced with a strong business case, there are always some who will be resistant to change, or who simply don't want to share. Your second – and most likely bigger effort – will be to demonstrate why this change will build and strengthen not only the company, but the individuals who make up the company. In other words, why it matters to them.
The key? Invite them to be part of the process. When teams and individuals provide input into the redesign of the way they work, they develop insight into the needs, the trade-offs and the benefits. They feel accountable to make it the best, and to make it work.
The following are some suggestions you might anticipate from your employees as you implement desk hoteling:
1. Offer Cloud Document Storage
There’s a reason this is the very first tip: Cloud document storage is absolutely essential for desk sharing to be effective, because it allows employees to work from anywhere there’s an internet connection. Whether it’s at a different desk within the office, remotely from home, or on the road, the flexibility of cloud storage also mitigates loss of data and ensures everyone has the most up-to-date version of working docs like client proposals, training documents, statements of work and contracts.
2. Make the Desktop Look Nice
Providing an attractive desktop – including artwork, plants and other features that bring an element of beauty and fun – will not only help the employee enjoy their surroundings, but will justify the restriction on people claiming “their territory” by lining their own knickknacks on their favorite desk.
3. Introduce Mobile File Cabinets
A mobile file cabinet is a great way to introduce mobility and versatility into a desk-sharing environment. Mobile storage can benefit all work environments, since a great workspace is not only defined by style, but also by function.
Having a mobile file cabinet serve as a team storage unit will increase efficiency and foster the habit of returning files to team storage so they’re accessible to all. Also, shared libraries of reference materials have the benefit of reducing duplication and preventing personal silos of information.
4. Provide Up-to-Date Technology
The benefits that WiFi technology has to offer are endless; however, here are a few leading reasons to implement the best WiFi solution possible:
Global accessibility: You can connect to a network anywhere in the world with a WiFi enabled device, allowing for widespread coverage. This is crucial for the flexibility of staying connected in various places, including the office, home, coffee shop down the street or hotel on the other side of the country.
Ease of communication: Businesses are able to maintain a consistent flow of communication in the office with state-of-the-art WiFi, allowing employees to stay connected on an almost constant basis. All these WiFi attributes promote productivity in the workplace.
Cost effective: WiFi allows businesses to quickly install the technology anywhere in their facility and build a secure network that will support every employee. In many cases, WiFi can take on additional users with existing equipment, unlike wired cables that require additional wiring and installation.
5. Utilize a Desk Reservation System
Plan to invest in desk reservation software. The option to reserve desks in advance has single-handedly revived the concept of desk sharing to begin with, dismissing the old practice of “hot desking,” which is like showing up to work every morning to play a frustrating game of musical chairs.
In support of employees who are more effective when they know they can secure a specific, quiet spot by a window in order to meet a deadline, or employees who need a large conference room for collaborating as a team, it’s necessary to have a system in place where employees can reserve a certain desk or area for an hour, half day or even the entire day.
Identify someone who can serve as a coordinator and monitor this system, making sure everyone is following protocol and that desks and other areas are being reserved and used appropriately.
Desk hoteling can be an effective solution to cutting down on wasted space and supporting the flexibility that’s more and more expected by employees who travel and work out of the office.
However, the move to desk sharing must be upheld by the employees. With a shared vision of the redesign throughout the company culture, plus the employee-driven customization of what helps the employees be successful in a world of desk hoteling, the desk sharing change can enable the company to save money and provide flexibility in how and where employees work.