Enabling the Hybrid Workplace • Hot-desking
- July 5, 2021
- Duane Harris
The Covid-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on how we view the workplace. From the largest multi-national corporation to the smallest mom-and-pop shop, workers have shifted to hybrid workplaces. That is, workers, alternate their workplace between home and the traditional business office. Strikingly, even after Covid-related restrictions are lifted, trend-setting companies are projecting that 60% of their workforce will maintain a hybrid work schedule.
By most indicators, the hybrid workplace movement is here to stay. However, the question remains, are stakeholders prepared to meet the unique challenges posed by this new way of working? Do enterprise planners and managers have the right tools and business processes to accommodate this scattered workforce?
Interestingly, if managed correctly, the new hybrid trend is potentially a significant boon to the operational bottom line.
This article focuses on:
- Challenges posed by the hybrid workplace, including:
- Tools& Business Processes
- VLogic’s hot-desking solution
- Potential benefits of the hybrid workplace
- Challenges posed by the hybrid workplace, including:
Hybrid Workplace Challenges
Tools & Business Processes
Challenges. The hybrid workplace poses unique challenges to facility and HR managers, including:
- Complex work schedules for a workforce located at multiple home/work offices
- Desks and offices that are no longer permanently assigned to single employees, but shared between multiple employees
- Shareable hot-desks must be allocated fairly without creating conflicts or duplicate bookings between multiple employees vying for the same spot
Existing Tools Insufficient. Existing facility management tools are not capable of managing this new, multi-faceted hot-desking environment. Furthermore, attempting to manage such a large portion of your workforce manually, without tools, will likely require a new bureaucracy of managers—which introduces higher costs and impacts overall productivity levels.
Ideal Requirements. Software tools specifically designed to manage hot-desking processes are a necessary component of the new hybrid workplace. Ideally, these tools should streamline three key hybrid workforce processes:
- Reservation of shared desks (hot-desks) with flexible scheduling capabilities
- The management process for fairly allocating available hot-desk seats without duplicating bookings
- Seat-bookings approval process that is flexible enough to fit employer priorities
Approval Process. A good tool for managing hot-desking must accommodate multiple approval priorities while allowing for a smooth, and efficient booking process. Some employers are fine with first-come-first-serve models, where users essentially book any available inventories of hot-desk seats. Other employers want a project or departmental manager to approve seat bookings requested by employees.
A successful hybrid workplace solution must be flexible enough to accommodate a range of approval processes, from self-service models to role-based approval models.
The hybrid workforce poses a significant challenge to traditional office infrastructures, especially network infrastructures. For example, how do you secure AND manage work-related email and file transfer communications between the office and highly variable home networks. New infrastructures, beyond the traditional local area network (LAN), are required.
This article focuses only on the infrastructure required to successfully mount a hot-desking system without touching the many other complexities of work-to-home networking. In that light, the key requirement of a hot-desking infrastructure satisfies the following requirements:
- Is easily accessible from the office and home sites
- Should be easy to use by regular employees, not just tech-savvy IT workers
- Does not require new software installations at work or home offices
- Can be accessed using client software or devices that are already ubiquitous in the marketplace
VLogic Hot-desking SolutionNow that we have laid out the challenges, what should you be looking for in a solution? Based on the requirements we’ve outlined above, the solution needs to have the following properties: Future-ready tools that are reliable, secure, and user-friendly Innovative infrastructures that are secure and rely on ubiquitous client technology The following section describes how the VLogicFM Scheduling module can be used to meet these hot-desking requirements.
Future-ready ToolsPlatform Advantage. More than just a stand-alone hot-desking software application, the VLogicFM Scheduling module is part of the overall VLogicFM, cloud-based, integrated workspace management software (IWMS) platform. The platform provides hot-desking capabilities AND general facilities management and space utilization modules. Rather than rely on a bare-bones scheduling app, VLogic’s IWMS platform lets you draw from a rich source of related information from other VLogicFM modules. For example, the Scheduling module fetches:
- employee name, address, contact information from the Employee module
- accurate floor plan drawings from the Space and As-built modules
- real-time feedback about whether certain desks are occupied from the Tracking module—for facilities that install our wireless IoT (internet-of-things) sensors and gateways.
- The customer provides floor plans of hot-desk areas, hybrid employees and hot-desks information, and approval process preferences
- VLogic prepares customer information for migration to VLogicFM
- VLogic configures user and employer accounts and all hot-desk seat booking attributes
- Customer reviews deployment and approves activation
- VLogic trains customer’s users and administrators
Innovative InfrastructureVLogicFM pioneered the use of cloud technologies to host and serve workspace management functionality to customers in both government and commercial markets. It also includes native CAD viewing technology to remove the need for third-party licenses. The entire platform is accessible without the need to install any software applications on networks at work or home. Users only need a web browser or smart Apple / Android device to login and use the VLogicFM hot-desking solution. This solves the challenge of giving access to users without requiring installation of client technologies that users don’t already have. Furthermore, users are already familiar with web browsing and navigating their favorite mobile device, which significantly reduces the learning curve. Finally, because the system is in the cloud, all user transactions are automatically synched across the system, 24/7, 365 days a year.
Bottom-line benefitsThe obvious customer benefit of deploying VLogic’s hot-desking solution is that the customer ends up with arobust IWMS platformthat will deliver reliable hot-desking scheduling tools and infrastructure to efficiently and fairly allocate hot-desk seats, across the enterprise, with efficiency and ease. What is not so obvious is the potential impact this deployment may have on the customer’s operational bottom line.For instance, let’s run a hypothetical scenario involving an enterprise matching the following parameters:
- 1,000 hybrid employees
- 151 sqft used by each employee at the office
- 151,000 sq ft used by all hybrid employees
Final Take AwayAs mentioned at the beginning of this article, the hybrid workplace movement is here to stay. Deploying VLogic’s hot-desking solution should be strategically assessed from two angles:
- Productivity. A means of streamlining the management of the hybrid workforce; AND
- Operational Savings. A mechanism for reducing one of the most expensive line items in the budget: office facility costs.