Enabling the Hybrid Workplace • Hot-desking

  • Blog
  • July 5, 2021
  • Duane Harris
Hot-desking software

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:

    1. Challenges posed by the hybrid workplace, including:
      1.  Tools& Business Processes
      2. Infrastructure
    2. VLogic’s hot-desking solution
    3. Potential benefits of the hybrid workplace

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:

    1. Reservation of shared desks (hot-desks) with flexible scheduling capabilities
    2. The management process for fairly allocating available hot-desk seats without duplicating bookings
    3. 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 Solution
Now 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 Tools
Platform 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.
Solving the Hybrid Workplace Tools Challenge. VLogicFM is more than a match for the hybrid workplace tools challenge. First, to meet complex hybrid work schedules, VLogicFM’s scheduling function anticipates users may want to search for available hot-desk seats by work shift or by a time range. Once the user identifies a time requirement, the only thing left to do is select where you want to sit; which is a simple pull-down affair: by site, building, and floor. The search result shows you the number of seats available, based on your search parameters, and lets you list the available seats or see the seats on a floor plan drawing. The entire process is simple and intuitive. Second, to accommodate the fact that multiple employees may want to book the same hot-desk seats, VLogicFM has a robust check-in/check-out process that is synched in real-time, across the cloud-based application. Everyone’s seat bookings are in synch, regardless of whether users access the system from work, from home, or anywhere in-between. And, to ensure fairness, VLogicFM gives customer admins the ability to set how long the system will hold a booking, before and after the scheduled start time. This automates the process of freeing up an existing booking if the user does not check in within the designated window of time. Finally, VLogicFM gives you flexible approval management options. You can enable a fully automated, self-service approval process, or a roles-based approval process involving specific “approvers.” The self-service model is completely automated, where a booking is auto-approved as long as the user checks in within the allotted window of time. On the other hand, VLogicFM’s role-based model allows you to interject human managers into the approval process, by letting you give them approval privileges based on their role in the company. Friendly Onboarding. Deploying the VLogic hot-desking solution follows a straightforward five-step onboarding process, of which only two require input from customers—VLogic provides a terrific in-house team that can hand-hold the customer through the customer’s two requirements:
    1. The customer provides floor plans of hot-desk areas, hybrid employees and hot-desks information, and approval process preferences
    2. VLogic prepares customer information for migration to VLogicFM
    3. VLogic configures user and employer accounts and all hot-desk seat booking attributes
    4.  Customer reviews deployment and approves activation
    5. VLogic trains customer’s users and administrators
A successful deployment requires a methodical approach to all five steps, to ensure accurate data and smooth migration / processing. It also helps to have a transparent communication channel between VLogic and customer stakeholders. As already mentioned, the onboarding process is significantly lightened for customers by VLogic’s friendly in-house team of project managers, drafters, and engineers.
Innovative Infrastructure
VLogicFM 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 benefits
The 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
At a cost of $30.00 per sq ft per year, the annual cost for 151k sq ft of office space is around $4.5 million per year. If the workforce works from home 50% of the time and the employer implements shared hot-desks, the employer could reduce total office square footage by about 75.5K sq ft. This renders a potential savings of around $2.3 million per year! That is a huge boost to the bottom line.
Final Take Away
As 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:
    1. Productivity. A means of streamlining the management of the hybrid workforce; AND
    2. Operational Savings. A mechanism for reducing one of the most expensive line items in the budget: office facility costs.
Regardless of either angle, it is a win-win for both companies and their employees.