COVID-19 has turned traditional views of work and how it gets done upside down forcing companies to rethink and create new ways to continue business operations remotely. Remote work has quickly become the norm to protect employees from the pandemic. As we get closer to a vaccine, and COVID-19 cases continue to decline in parts of the country, many companies are reexamining working arrangements and office spaces with an eye towards efficiency, productivity and employee morale and retention. While remote work offers flexibility, reduced commuting time and a better work-life balance, it isn’t without its downsides. Some employees like working from home but also miss in-person collaboration, water cooler talks and bouncing ideas off coworkers. Office hoteling is a concept that may afford employees both opportunities.
The phrase “office hoteling” was coined because of its similarities to people staying in hotels. In both scenarios, one calls to make a reservation to use space for a finite period of time and then leaves, taking all their belongs with them. Office hoteling allows employees to reserve time in the office when they need to be there and work remotely at other times. During this pandemic and afterwards, office hoteling could save you money and give employees the best of both worlds.
The Benefits to Office Hoteling
Hoteling was not conceived from the COVID-19 pandemic. It has been an emerging trend for years. When executed properly, it has big pay offs.
With so many flexible working arrangements being used today, there is a reduced need for office space. Why not save money by leasing less square footage and making better use of your working space? By doing so you could incur substantial savings. To calculate potential savings, use employee headcount and data on how often employees telecommute. Let’s say that number is 30%. If your company reduces its working space and desks by 30%, think of the savings in rent and other operational costs. You will also likely find less need for meeting and other shared spaces resulting in even more cost savings.
The Best Of Both Worlds
A perfect post-COVID-19 business will likely consist of teleworkers, remote employees and full-time onsite employees. Hoteling offers telecommuting and remote workers the best of both worlds. They can work remotely knowing there is a convenient, fully functional office space for them when needed. By providing employees the choice of where and how to work, employers unlock their full potential improving productivity and morale.
Let’s Do This Together
Most work involves some form of collaboration and teamwork. While Zoom meetings certainly have transformed remote meeting capabilities, there is no substitute for personal interaction in a shared space. Being onsite allows employees to find new inspiration through other coworkers, converse with those in other departments, network and gain valuable facetime with supervisors and company management. It’s these personal interactions that lead to greater company cohesiveness. Hoteling fosters improved communication and collaboration on many levels.
Many companies are realizing the benefits of flexible working spaces like hoteling and are starting to make the move. Here are some best practices to consider when developing and implementing a hoteling plan.
One Point Of Contact
It’s best to have one facilities manager, desk coordinator or concierge to manage the hoteling process. This person serves as the single point of contact for any questions employees have about the process or the company’s hoteling policy.
Establish a Policy
A well-drafted policy will set clear expectations for all employees about hoteling. Include information on how to reserve and cancel a spot, desk cleanliness, use of office equipment and no-shows.
Full-Featured Reservation Software
Investing in good office hoteling software is key to making the process work. If employees don’t know where they are sitting or are well informed about spot availability, it will create confusion and frustration. There are many reservation platforms out there. Be sure yours offers full reservation capabilities including the ability to locate and reserve a desk, filter by availability and location, view details of the space and provides access to group meeting spaces like conference rooms.
Provide Equipment And Technology
The desk space must provide a phone, computer and Internet access with unique sign-on capability. Provide resource information such as help desk and hoteling concierge contact information, usernames and passwords and wifi guest credentials.
Keep It Clean
Under any circumstances, procedures should be in place for keeping the office and desk space clean but particularly now in the middle of a pandemic. Set clear expectations in your policy about cleanliness and provide access to desk wipes, hand sanitizer and disinfectant spray. Schedule regular deep cleanings of all hoteling spaces.
Use Utilization Reports
As the need for office and desk spaces changes, track and analyze usage and adjust space accordingly. Capturing this information allows you to make data-driven decisions about how much space is needed per employee and reduce wasted space.
Smart HR Can Help
As our clients’ needs change so does our approach to consulting and Smart HR’s offerings. COVID-19 has presented unique challenges for all our clients, and we are committed to staying abreast of the latest trends so we can pass along that information to our clients. Every client’s situation is unique. Smart HR never uses a cookie-cutter approach when assisting clients. Whether you want to explore flexible work arrangements like office hoteling or need assistance transitioning your entire workforce back to the office, Smart HR can help. Call today.