Desk booking in 2024: your guide to office efficiency

Welcome to the definitive guide on desk booking, where all your questions will be answered.

But let's start from the beginning.

Not long ago, we were all sitting together in the same office, working shoulder-to-shoulder, sharing a coffee, chatting in colorful canteens, and imagining only a world where work was linked to a physical space: the not-so-loved office. 
And we were all laughing at the funny jokes from The Office TV shows (maybe you, too, had a boss like Michael Scott?) because this little place we visited every day wasn't the best place to be. The space was never enough, and you could never find an empty meeting room.

But our work lives continued, with lots of bearable, drinkable instant coffee and long brainstorming sessions. 

Until everything changed, and the "Big P." hit. No more tiny offices and shared meetings - all became virtual, and we adapted to the "new way of working." And that's when desk booking appeared (or re-appeared) in our lives. 

Suddenly, companies all over the world were switching to flexible work models, and a plethora of new apps emerged. But can companies decide on one? 

Fear not, as we are here to help with the most comprehensive guide on desk booking.  Find out how to implement the best strategy across your organization and what it takes to make it successful.

Overview of desk booking

Desk booking, also known as hot desking or flexible seating, offers an innovative solution to traditional workspace environments that can improve productivity, employee satisfaction, and space efficiency. You've come to the right place if you're considering implementing or transitioning to a desk booking system. This guide will give you an overview of the concept, its benefits, and how to implement it effectively in your organization.

Desk booking is gaining momentum in modern workspaces where fixed seating arrangements are becoming a thing of the past. This flexible seating system allows employees to reserve a workspace or desk for a specific time. It offers employers and employees significant benefits, such as reducing wasted space, fostering creativity, and enhancing collaboration.

Instead of having a dedicated space for each employee, companies that implement a desk booking system can optimize their workspace utilization, adapt to the changing needs of their workforce, and introduce more flexibility into their daily operations. Desk booking has proven effective in co-working spaces and open office layouts and among traditional companies navigating the 'new normal' in the age of remote and hybrid work models.

Benefits of a desk booking

Embracing desk booking can provide numerous advantages for companies of all sizes - from start-ups to large corporations. It is especially relevant in today's business environment, where flexibility and adaptability are crucial.

At the most basic level, desk booking offers significant cost savings. Traditional office setups often need more efficient space utilization. Reserved desks for absent or infrequently present employees can lead to wasted space and unnecessary costs. On the other hand, a well-executed desk booking strategy allows companies to make intelligent use of their space, eliminating waste and potentially reducing their overhead costs. 
Desk booking systems help companies keep track of their space utilization efficiently and make necessary adjustments. 

Desk booking - key advantages

  • Space efficiency: one of the most significant advantages of desk booking is the efficient utilization of office space. It eliminates the need for a desk for each employee, which can be particularly beneficial for companies with many remote or part-time workers.
  • Cost savings: by optimizing space utilization, organizations can reduce the office space they need, leading to considerable cost savings in rent and utilities.
  • Enhanced collaboration: desk booking encourages employees to sit near different colleagues daily, fostering cross-departmental collaboration and networking.
  • Flexibility and autonomy: employees can choose where they sit, boosting morale and job satisfaction. This flexibility particularly appeals to the modern workforce, which values autonomy.
  • Adaptability: this system allows companies to quickly adapt their office layout to changing business needs, such as scaling up or down or rearranging departments.
Woman holding a phone, and using a desk booking app.

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Improve employee satisfaction

Desk booking is not just about efficient space management; it also impacts employee satisfaction. Companies can create an environment that promotes autonomy, flexibility, and well-being by allowing employees to choose their workspace.

When employees are content with their work environment, relationships with colleagues, remuneration, and sense of purpose, they are less likely to leave the company, even in difficult times. Moreover, satisfied employees often promote a positive image of their organization, which can enhance brand image and customer trust

Companies that cater to the evolving expectations of workers, such as work-life balance, value alignment, and flexible work options, tend to attract top talent, particularly among younger generations. Furthermore, leadership styles greatly influence employee satisfaction. Managers who foster trust and recognize and value their team's input can significantly improve job satisfaction.

The modern workforce, particularly millennials and Gen. Z employees, value flexibility and autonomy. A desk booking system allows them to choose where to work any day, whether they prefer a quiet corner or a collaborative space. This flexibility can increase job satisfaction, improve productivity, and reduce turnover rates.

A group of happy colleagues sharing pizza while working from their hybrid office.

Fosters collaboration and creativity

Aside from individual productivity, desk booking can foster team collaboration and creativity. By breaking the barriers of rigid seating plans, employees can work closely with different team members, freely exchanging ideas and perspectives. It enables a cross-pollination of ideas across the organization, fostering innovation.
Working near individuals from different departments encourages a more inclusive culture. This practice enables employees to understand the organization's operations better, thus improving alignment and synergy across functions.

The traditional office layout, with fixed seating assignments, often limits employee interactions to a small, unvarying group. 

This setup can inadvertently create silos within an organization, where ideas and information circulate only within confined circles. Desk booking, by contrast, introduces a paradigm shift. It allows employees to choose where they sit on any given day, encouraging them to work alongside different colleagues. This freedom to change one's working environment is more than a logistical advantage; it catalyzes a more integrated and collaborative workplace culture.

When employees can sit next to different team members, it naturally fosters a more dynamic exchange of ideas and perspectives. For instance, a marketing professional sitting near the product development team might gain new insights into the product, leading to more informed and innovative marketing strategies. Similarly, a finance team member sitting with customer service representatives can better understand the customers' experiences and challenges, which can inform more empathetic and customer-centric financial planning.

This cross-pollination of ideas is a critical driver of innovation. When people with diverse skill sets and viewpoints come together, they challenge each other's thinking, leading to more creative problem-solving and out-of-the-box ideas. Such interactions can spark new ideas that might not emerge in a more static seating arrangement.

Moreover, desk booking promotes a more inclusive organizational culture. Employees receive a more holistic understanding of the organization's operations by encouraging interactions across different departments. This enhanced perspective can break down barriers between departments, leading to a more cohesive and aligned workforce. When employees understand their roles fit the broader picture, they are more likely to feel valued and engaged, further driving productivity and innovation. In addition to fostering cross-departmental collaboration, this system also supports the development of a more agile and adaptive workforce. In today's business environment, the ability to form and reform teams based on evolving project needs is crucial. 

Desk booking facilitates this agility, allowing teams to co-locate as needed for a project, thus enhancing coordination and efficiency.

However, implementing a successful desk booking system requires thoughtful planning and management. Let's explore each steps in detail.

Aerial view of a group of colleagues working together on a project, in a hybrid office.

Implementing a desk booking software

Implementing a desk booking system may seem daunting, but it can you can make it a smooth transition simply adopting the right approach. 

The key is understanding your organization's unique needs and setting clear objectives for what you want to achieve through desk booking.  

The first step in this process is thoroughly assessing the organization's current workspace usage and needs. This involves understanding how employees work, their mobility within the office, and identifying existing challenges with the current seating arrangement. By analyzing these factors, you can tailor the desk booking system to address specific issues: underutilized space, congested areas, or a lack of collaborative spaces.

Get a clear overview of your desk/employee ratio with our hybrid office calculator. Save big with deskbird!

Once the assessment is complete, setting clear goals for the desk booking system is crucial.

For instance, if the primary objective is cost-saving, the focus might be optimizing space usage to reduce the need for a larger office footprint. If enhancing collaboration is the goal, the system should facilitate easy employee movement and interaction. Similarly, if increasing productivity is the aim, the system might include features that allow employees to book desks near the resources they need most.

Involving employees in decision-making is another critical aspect of implementing a desk booking system. Since they are the system's end-users, their insights and feedback can be invaluable. This involvement can take many forms, from surveys and focus groups to trial periods and feedback sessions. Gathering input on what employees need from their workspace to function effectively can guide the design and features of the desk booking system. For example, if employees need quiet areas for focused work, the system can include options to book desks in designated quiet zones.

Furthermore, involving employees in the process can significantly aid in gaining their acceptance and cooperation. Change can often trigger resistance, especially if it alters daily routines or comfort zones. Making employees part of the process makes them more likely to feel valued and heard, reducing resistance and easing the transition. It also helps in addressing any concerns or apprehensions they might have about the new system.

Communication is another vital element in successfully implementing a desk booking system. Clear, consistent, and transparent communication about the reasons for the change, how it will work, and the benefits it brings is essential. Training sessions, detailed guides, and regular updates can familiarize employees with the system and ensure they are comfortable using it.

The technical aspect of implementing a desk booking system also needs careful consideration. Choosing the right software or platform is crucial. The system should be user-friendly, reliable, and scalable. It should integrate seamlessly with the organization's other tools and systems, such as calendars and communication platforms. Additionally, it should be capable of providing insights and data on usage patterns, which can be invaluable for further optimization and adjustments.

Explore deskbird's desk booking feature!

Finally, after implementation, it's essential to continually monitor and evaluate the system's effectiveness. 

Regular feedback from employees, alongside data analysis, can highlight areas for improvement or adjustment. This ongoing evaluation ensures that the desk booking system remains aligned with organizational goals and employee needs, adapting to changing requirements over time.

Technology and tools

An effective desk booking solution requires the right technology. What are the critical characteristics of a great desk booking system?

  • Automation and efficiency: modern desk booking systems are primarily software-based, automating the process of booking desks and other office spaces. This automation significantly reduces the administrative burden on staff and minimizes the potential for errors or double bookings.
  • Real-time updates and accessibility: these systems are designed to provide real-time updates. This means that any changes in desk availability are immediately reflected, preventing conflicts and ensuring efficient space utilization. Moreover, the accessibility of these systems via mobile and web apps means that employees can book spaces conveniently, anytime, and anywhere.
  • User-friendly interfaces: today's desk booking solutions prioritize user experience. They offer intuitive interfaces that are easy to navigate, even for those not tech-savvy. This user-friendliness encourages wider adoption and regular use among employees.
  • Integration with other tools: integration with popular communication tools like MS Teams and Slack further enhances the utility of these systems. Employees can manage bookings without leaving their primary communication platforms, streamlining their workflow.
Woman with yellow shirt holding a phone and using her desk booking app.

Case study: deskbird, the easiest and most versatile desk booking software

deskbird is an exemplary model in this field, showcasing how advanced technology can simplify workspace management.

  • Mobile and web app accessibility: deskbird's platform is accessible through both mobile and web apps, offering flexibility and convenience. This means employees can manage their space bookings on the go, a feature particularly useful for organizations with flexible working arrangements or multiple office locations needed to manage a workforce that is no longer fixed or location-dependent.
  • Integration with communication tools: deskbird easily integrates with tools like MS Teams and Slack, reducing the friction when switching between different applications. This seamless integration means employees can stay within their primary work interface while managing their space bookings, enhancing productivity.
  • Insightful analytics for optimization: deskbird goes beyond just booking; it offers analytics that provides valuable insights into space usage. This data is crucial for businesses to understand their space utilization patterns, helping them make informed decisions about office layout and facilities management.
  • Customization and scalability: deskbird's platform is not a one-size-fits-all solution. It offers customization to fit the needs of different organizations. This scalability ensures the system remains relevant and practical as a company grows or changes its office dynamics.
  • Security and data privacy: in an era where data security is paramount, desk booking solutions like deskbird comply with GDPR rules and are designed with strong security measures to protect sensitive information.
  • Support for hybrid work models: as hybrid work models become more prevalent, desk booking systems like deskbird are instrumental in managing this new dynamic. They offer the flexibility and control needed to manage a workforce that is no longer fixed or location-dependent.

Check out our customers’ reviews to discover what our users think about the deskbird app!

Hybrid work and desk booking

Desk booking plays a pivotal role in the success of hybrid work models, and deskbird's app enables easy coordination of in-office and remote work schedules. 
In particular, deskbird allows employees to choose when and where they work within the office. This autonomy is crucial in a hybrid setup, as it aligns with a diverse workforce's varied schedules and preferences.

Additionally, it is essential for optimizing office resources and maintaining work-life balance.

The management of resources becomes increasingly complex as the in-office population fluctuates. A desk booking system like deskbird allows companies to align resources with actual needs, reducing waste and ensuring amenities are available when needed.
deskbird also aids in maintaining a balance between in-office and remote work by facilitating easy schedule coordination. 

Man working hybrid and using his desk booking app connected to Slack.

Facility management and space optimization

Desk booking systems like deskbird also contribute significantly to efficient facility management. 

With these systems, businesses can easily track and manage the use of their office space. This data can then be used to make informed decisions about office layout, capacity planning, and other facility management aspects.

Furthermore, deskbird's Analytics features and office calculator can provide valuable insights into space utilization trends and patterns. This data can be used to implement changes that optimize office space, reduce waste, and contribute to a more comfortable, productive work environment.

Learn more about sustainability in the workplace and how deskbird can help your company go green.

Challenges and solutions

Implementing a desk booking system has its challenges. These can range from employee resistance to change to difficulties managing the system and optimizing space utilization. However, these challenges can be overcome with the right strategies and solutions.

deskbird offers numerous features and supports businesses in overcoming these challenges. From comprehensive training and support to intuitive, user-friendly interfaces, deskbird's solution makes desk booking simple, efficient, and beneficial for all businesses.

Let's explore some of our most common use cases:

  1. Bring people back to the office: encourage a vibrant, connected workplace by addressing commute regret and ensuring no one feels alone. Aligning team schedules can significantly enhance collaboration and interaction while distributing office attendance throughout the week flattens the Monday-to-Friday curve, preventing the office from feeling like a ghost town, especially on Fridays. This approach nurtures a more dynamic and engaging office environment.
  2. Increase engagement: boost engagement and foster a sense of belonging by strategically planning office days for enhanced collaboration and social events. Utilizing tools like deskbird to promote these events ensures everyone is informed and can participate, thus increasing retention and loyalty. Moreover, offering the flexibility to choose work locations based on activities boosts productivity and benefits new joiners, integrating them more effectively into the company culture.
  3. Downsize the office: make informed real estate decisions using data-driven insights to optimize office size, whether downsizing, expanding, or relocating. This approach helps maintain an ideal resource-to-employee ratio, ensures efficient use of space and resources, and avoids waste due to unused facilities.
  4. Optimize costs: reduce fixed and ancillary costs by adjusting the office size to actual needs, saving energy, cleaning, heating, and catering expenses. Utilize accurate booking data and historical usage patterns to predict future office use, enhancing sustainability and providing valuable data for Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) reporting.

  5. Simplify office management: streamline office management by avoiding overbooking and underutilizing space. Implement desk-sharing to accommodate growing employee numbers and ensure everyone finds a suitable workspace. Utilize user-friendly management tools integrated into your IT systems for efficient office management and compliance with safety protocols and documentation requirements, providing a smooth and efficient workplace experience.

  6. Downsize the office: make informed real estate decisions using data-driven insights to optimize office size, whether downsizing, expanding, or relocating. This approach helps maintain an ideal resource-to-employee ratio, ensures efficient use of space and resources, and avoids waste due to unused facilities.‍
A group of colleagues in a meeting, working from the office.

Future of work and desk booking

The future of work is shaping up to be increasingly flexible, digital, and focused on employee needs. In this evolving landscape, desk booking systems like deskbird are set to play an essential role.

By leveraging technologies like AI, and integrating insights on future workplace, deskbird's solution will continue to be at the forefront of workspace management.

deskbird's pricing and plans

deskbird offers a range of pricing plans to suit businesses of all sizes and needs. From the Starter plan, ideal for small businesses and start-ups, to the Enterprise plan, designed for large corporations with complex requirements, deskbird's solutions are affordable and scalable.
Each plan has various features designed to simplify and optimize workspace management. These include mobile and web applications, integration with communication tools, and advanced analytics. Businesses can choose the plan that best meets their needs and budget.Let's explore each plan in detail.

  • The "Basic" plan, priced at €1.80 per user per month, includes essential tools for setting up a flexible office. It features native mobile and web apps, essential workspace booking, Week Planning with scheduling and sharing work locations, and integration with Microsoft Teams, Slack, Outlook, and Google Calendar.
  • The "Business" plan, at €3.80 per user per month, offers a more comprehensive suite for managing hybrid offices. It includes everything in the Starter plan, plus interactive floor plans, office Analytics for Admins, parking spots, phone booths, shared spaces, Room Booking with calendar synchronization, scheduling analytics, office events, and Single-Sign-On (SSO) capabilities.
  • For larger organizations or those requiring advanced features like enterprise security and data privacy, the "Enterprise" plan offers a customized solution. This includes all Business plan features, bi-directional sync of meeting rooms, SCIM and HRIS sync, custom data privacy configuration, and multi-tenant capabilities.

Check out a comprehensive overview of all our price plans and choose the best option for you.

Customer testimonials

The value of deskbird's solutions is evident in its customers' experiences. Businesses from various industries have found deskbird's desk booking system to be a game-changer, enabling them to streamline their workspace management, improve employee satisfaction, and reduce costs.

From start-ups to large corporations, the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Customers commend deskbird's user-friendly interface, comprehensive features, and excellent support.

This real-world validation underscores the value and effectiveness of deskbird's solutions.

Read our success stories and learn how deskbird has impacted businesses worldwide.

Employees reading customers' reviews from a laptop together.

If you're ready to experience the benefits of desk booking for yourself, it's time to take the next step. 

Explore deskbird's desk booking software and start your free trial today!