How to Work In a Flex Desk Environment Successfully

What is a flex desk? What is a flexible work environment?

The term “agile” is something you hear a lot about these days. Conceptually, it can be applied to many different operations, departments, and situations. An agile workforce is one that can seamlessly transition their workday and get work done in a work-from-anywhere world.

The difference between hot desking and desk hoteling

Despite a general back and forth between terms, there is a clear difference between some of the most talked about flex or flexible work environment concepts. Hot desks or hot-desking, for instance, refers to on-demand access to these spaces, with the appropriate solutions to reserve, utilize, and free them afterward. Desk hoteling, on the other hand, generally deals with more advanced reservation protocols and platforms that don’t require the employee to be at the station or a kiosk to reserve it.

How we arrived at the flexible workplace crossroads

Many emerging workplace trends are bouncing around. Some existed before the pandemic, some didn’t, and more still have accelerated due to the current landscape. Flexible work environments and hot desking are one of the trending concepts, but that’s because they provide a lot of value for workplace reentry tactics, such as:

  • Supports flexibility, scaling, and shifting demands
  • Allows fewer desks or workstations, and all equipment has a fixed cost
  • Improves worker sentiment through agile and refreshing solutions
  • Spreads out workers, adhering to social-distance guidelines
  • Helps better organize workstation-based projects
  • Promotes networking across teams and departments
  • Spaces prioritize intent with amenities to serve specific uses

How do you create a flexible work environment?

To serve a distributed workforce — it’s about creating a desk sharing protocols that are simple and efficient.

Installation

Setting up the proper framework for a desk reservation system company-wide requires a good foundation.

  • Know the environment you’re creating the solution for and tailor it to the available spaces and workstations.
  • Provide on-demand and advanced reservation capabilities.
  • Embrace mobile app technologies to enable and enhance on-the-go capabilities.
  • Understand and leverage “neighborhoods” within the workplace to create more organized scenarios.
  • Create or repurpose a wide variety of workspaces to use from huddle rooms and cafe tables to private booths.

Operations

With a good foundation, operation efforts become more streamlined and the desk reservation system becomes an easy to use tool, but connected IoT devices make the whole system smarter.

  • Create and provide a list of guidelines for employees on interacting with the app, system, and services.
  • Use real-time technologies to activate or deactivate bookable workstations, as needed.
  • Leverage sensors and connected technologies to capture information about occupancy and usage.
  • Include on-demand access to IT services, who can provide station help and support whenever applicable.
  • Measure desk efficiencies and repurpose spaces regularly, as the workforce demands evolve.

Communications

With an agile workforce and dynamic workspaces, it’s even more important to be transparent, contextual, and simultaneously all-encompassing with your communications.

  • Provide in-depth tutorials, in-app resources, and service solutions so that employees have what they need and they know where to find it.
  • Deliver alerts, notifications, and updates relevant to specific users and/or their location.
  • Communicate in real-time the activation or deactivation of workspaces, alerting groups and individuals to new desk availabilities.
  • Create a feedback loop through surveys and instant polling where employees can share their experiences, good or bad.

Usage & Occupying Desks

For employees working in a shared desk office space, it’s helpful to keep some rules and etiquette top of mind to make the co-experience better for everyone.

  • Remember to make reservations as spaces become available or as your needs change.
  • Always follow local guidelines for in-office recommendations and safety protocols.
  • Bring everything you need to the worksite or station, and be sure to remember it all when you leave.
  • Leverage indoor navigation to find lesser-known spaces or stations.
  • Mind your neighbors, as they may be working on various projects and will have requirements of their own, like a silent space.
  • Regardless of how frustrated you are, always be kind and friendly to those around you, as flexible work environments are structured differently.

Desk booking protocols for a smoother work flow

When you’re using a desk booking system with advanced rules and reservation capabilities, a lot of the confusion and frustration in choosing who sits when and where evaporates. It becomes so much easier to manage not just people but also spaces. When individual plans change, it doesn’t matter, teams are not left scrambling trying to find a place to work.

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