At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of office workers began working remotely basically overnight. The transition was difficult for many individuals and companies, but they also learned a lot in the year-long work-from-home experiment.
Now, the pandemic wanes, and workers are cautiously returning to in-person office spaces. Companies have choices on how they want to proceed.
Working from home brings many benefits in terms of flexibility, comfort, and autonomy. However, there are clear communication and collaboration benefits to working in person.
Enter the era of hybrid working.
A hybrid working environment can offer the best of both worlds to employers and employees. Teams still get to have some face-to-face working time while retaining flexibility in their schedules.
Hybrid work schedules also allow for fewer people to be in the office at a time. This makes social distancing and safe health practices more feasible for companies.
But how can you ensure that your hybrid working environment is safe, effective, and secure?
Read on to learn how space booking can help you make your hybrid working environment the safest and most effective space possible for you and your employees.
Space booking defined
If you haven't managed a hybrid working environment or a coworking space before, the term "space booking" may be new to you.
At a basic level, space booking is exactly what it sounds like. It's a system that allows your employees to reserve a space to work in for the days that they'll be at the office in person. This can apply to spaces as small as a single hotdesk to entire offices or conference rooms.
In a traditional office environment, space booking is a redundant and unnecessary process. All employees have designated workstations, and it's easy to see when someone is using a conference room or private office space. In public-facing office spaces, there are many people around at all times to greet guests.
In a hybrid work environment, however, none of these things are true. It would be an inefficient use of company space and resources to provide designated desk spaces for all workers. This is because there's basically no need to have everyone in the office at the same time.
Space booking can be used in any shared working space to stagger employee use of the office and to manage guest check-ins.
Why you need a space booking system
If you try to implement a hybrid work model without a space booking system, you run the risk of many complications arising.
The first of these potential issues is capacity. More people may show up on a single day than can fit in the spaces you have available. Multiple people may expect to be able to use a private office space at the same time.
Additionally, not having a space booking system will make contact tracing difficult for your company. While everyone hopes that no one will catch an illness at work, exposures do happen. If it happens at your company, you need to be able to notify everyone in the office of the potential for exposure.
Potential complications apply to guests in your office space as well as your employees. While you may have at least one person in the office at all times, they may not always be available to check guests into the office. You might even want to avoid having guests interact with employees at all until they have completed a health screening.
Effective options for booking space
Several different forms of space booking can work, but some are more effective than others.
The most simple form of space booking is to implement a company-wide calendar system. Employees know that they can use the work hybrid calendar to indicate when they intend to be in the office and which space they'll be using.
This kind of system is the simplest to set up. However, it requires that all employees consistently utilize the calendar. They must be diligent about reserving their space.
In this format, people may also book larger spaces than they need for the work they'll be doing, leading your company to use its spaces less efficiently than it could be. You also will have a difficult time tracking the comings and goings of any external visitors to your office space.
A more effective system is a digital space booking solution. These integrated tools can help you quickly and efficiently track all employees and guests in your office space.
They automatically track capacity in your space and have health and safety screening tools built directly into the platform. No-touch check-in tools allow you to keep track of foot traffic in the office without requiring face-to-face interaction between your employees and guests.
Some employees and guests may be hesitant to use such a system for data security reasons. Thankfully, there are compliance standards in place to ensure that individuals' data is stored safely and securely, and many of these systems are built with platform security as one of their highest priorities.
Make your hybrid working environment safe and efficient
As you can see, there are many benefits to using a space booking system to support the safety and security of your hybrid working space. Utilizing this approach will make your return to work safe and efficient for your company and all your employees.
Interested in learning more? Contact us to request a demo of our Workforce Security Platform or to learn more about our other services.