Flex seating is becoming increasingly popular in the business world as it’s an easy and effective way to give employees what they’ve been asking for for years – more flexibility in their workday. However, one mistake many companies make is changing their company policy from fixed hours and seating to flex-seating without making sure they have a good desk and meeting room booking system.
In this post, we’ll take a closer look at some of the issues that can arise if a company implements flex seating without a booking system.
How much are the individual areas of the company being used?
If you have flex-seating but no booking system, you don’t know how much the individual areas of your business are being used. Through access cards you may be able to get a rough overview of this, but with a booking system you can get precise data on how much individual departments in the company are being used.
How many jobs does the company need?
After companies have introduced flex-seating, there are always employees who feel there isn’t enough space. While that’s the experience, it’s very rarely what concrete data shows. On average, only around 60-65% of workstations are occupied. This means that there are 35-40% job vacancies on a daily basis. Despite this, there are employees who don’t think there is enough seating. Because of this, an HR manager or facility manager will have to do a manual measurement (because they don’t have a booking system) and will find that there is plenty of seating. In other words, there is a mismatch between the actual data and the employee experience.
In the old days, this would just lead to spending a lot of capital to expand the premises to accommodate employees. Of course, it just doesn’t make sense when there is actually a lot of spare capacity in the current premises. This is essentially because 1) employees lack a digital platform where they can book a workspace, and 2) There is a lack of data to make the decision on whether to expand.
Is it necessary to expand?
That brings us to the next point. The employee lacks data on how much of the company’s capacity is actually being used. They need documentation that they can take to their managers to tell them that there is an average of 40% job vacancy every day. With this data, they can say to the manager; shouldn’t you focus on cutting back instead of expanding?
A booking system provides this concrete data, which is crucial for making the best possible decisions.
When does it make sense to go into the office?
The benefit of flex-seating is, of course, that it gives employees more flexibility in their workday, which is something all employees want. The challenge with flex-seating and no booking system, however, is that suddenly you have no idea when your colleagues are in the office and where in the office they are. It also means that you may drive into the office and spend a long time in traffic to meet a colleague from the project team, only to find out that this person is not in the office at all. To avoid this, many people write in their Outlook calendar when and where they are in the office. However, this just means that if you need to meet with your project group of six employees, you have to open six individual Outlook calendars. It’s much easier with MyDesk. Simply search for the name of the person and you’ll instantly know where they sit and when they’ll be in the office.
Because that’s how the office works in today’s modern, digital age. In the old days, the office was a place you went to do all your work and when it was four o’clock, you went home. Today, the office is a place you come to meet with your colleagues and make decisions. All the real work that requires peace and quiet can be done from home or wherever is most convenient.
What do you come into the office for?
If you have flex seating but not a booking system, it can be a bit uncomfortable for the employee. The company may have promised that there is always room, but without having booked a specific table, it can be uncomfortable not knowing where to sit and who to sit with. Without a good booking system, you get a negative consequence of the flex model – employees lose cohesion with the company. With a booking system, you still get the flexibility that is the ultimate goal of the flex system. Employees can choose when they come into the office and where they sit. However, they also get the peace of mind that comes with not having a booking system. They can sit at home and decide they want to come in on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. In addition, they can also book a table next to the colleagues it makes sense for them to sit next to. It gives you the predictability you want when you walk into the office. You don’t have to arrive at a specific time – the table is ready for the entire time period you’ve booked. Should someone unexpectedly sit down in their seat, you can ask them to leave, as you have booked the table.
Don’t people just sit down without booking a table?
Some people may just sit down without booking a table. In the end, it’s not really a problem. However, that’s not what we’re experiencing. Firstly, it’s super easy to book a seat in MyDesk, so if you make a habit of it, you’re likely to keep doing it. In principle, you can book a table every day you plan to go to the office, well into the future – in one action. Plus, it’s just not very nice to be asked to move by a colleague because you haven’t booked a table. After being asked to move a couple of times, most people start booking a table themselves before they arrive.
Do employees just sit in the same place they’ve always sat?
If you have flex-seating as a company culture but don’t have a booking tool, what will always happen is that the employee will just sit in the same seat as always. This kind of defeats the purpose of flex-seating. This isn’t really a problem if there is plenty of space. Where the problem comes in is that at some point you don’t have enough seats. When new employees arrive, there are no longer enough seats and the new employees end up being second-class employees, where they don’t really have a place. Even though the policy is that there is flexibility and everyone can sit wherever they want, they know that if they sit where someone else normally sits, they will be looked down upon. However, if it’s booked through a system, there’s no problem. Here it’s first come, first served.
All in all, a good booking tool is necessary to get all the great benefits associated with flex seating.
Listen to co-founder Henrik talk about three of the typical challenges he hears from companies that don’t have a platform to manage their flexible workplaces