Why Hot-Desking and Flexible Workplaces are Occupying the Minds of Facility Managers Again?
How people worked changed dramatically in 2020 thanks to the COVID 19 pandemic. Across the globe, companies that had never explored flexible work policies had to shift to a remote working environment in a matter of days. Almost a year later, the world has slowly adapted to life in the new normal. While vaccines may reduce the threat of COVID 19, the lessons and possibilities discovered by organizations with regards to their workforce are likely to remain.
Even before the pandemic, surveys had shown that nearly 80% of the workforce would love to work from home when they desired. It seems likely that even as conditions settle in, employees will become adept at performing in hybrid work mode. The hybrid approach would offer the flexibility to staff to work from office or homes at their convenience and within the realms of defined productivity levels. Employees will work from home at some times, and at others come into the office for specific purposes. It seems clear that offices may no longer need to provide for all the employees being in the office at one time.
In the future, organizations know that they will need to be agile enough to adapt to these new work environments instantly. This calls for a hybrid approach as companies optimally utilize the available office spaces or facilities.
Facilitating such work environments has brought back the thoughts of hot-desking and flexible workplaces to the minds of facility managers.
Hot-desking works on the principle of assigning a desk to employees, when they come to the office, on a first come first serve basis rather than allotting a desk to each employee permanently during their tenure with the organization. While the pros and cons of this concept are often debated, it’s fair to say that the trends never achieved widespread adoption.
But in the new normal, hot-desking and flexible workplace assets can bring about better results and operational efficiency for facility managers when real estate availability becomes more constrained.
Let us have a look at the top considerations Facility Managers will have to factor into their hot-desking thoughts.
Smart Space Utilization
As fewer employees are likely to work full time at the office, there will not be a need for massive office spaces to accommodate the entire employee headcount. Facility managers can use hot-desking to allow for maximum utilization of the existing office infrastructure driven by the availability of staff on any given day. For example, if new office policies post the pandemic require only 50% of the employees to be at the office at any given time, then facility managers can reduce office space requirements by as much as 50% and still provide each employee who gets to the office a functional workspace by enabling hot-desking and flexible allocation of other common utilities and workplace assets. Obviously, they will need to turn to smart solutions that allow them to marshal the available resources and plot allocations to maximum effect.
Smart Maintenance Efforts
When fewer employees are at the office and use hot-desking to time-share spaces, there will be less real estate to clean and maintain. This would require fewer people, cleaning and maintenance utilities, and resources like water and power. This will ultimately lead to lowered cost of operations in the long run. One key concern for Facility Managers will be leveraging the power of their facility management solutions to ensure appropriate levels of maintenance and hygiene are maintained, even in these dynamic work environments.
Smart Traceability of Resources
When employee workplaces are managed through hot-desking, organizations will need to focus more on inventory and asset tracking to enable intelligent allocation of assets such as desk space, laptops, printers, secure access infrastructure, and other assets. In this process, facility managers will look for empowerment from tracking and management platforms to keep a digital trail of all office assets at all times. This helps them plan for maintenance, replacements, and other lifecycle management activities of crucial office assets. It also helps during budgeting and financial planning cycles with transparent data about the asset portfolio of the organization available in one place.
Smart Help Desk Support
When fewer employees are present at any given point in time, facility managers can have their team support these employees in the best way possible. Smart solutions will allow them to deliver an integrated support experience across the facility as well as the IT helpdesk. This will Why Hot-Desking and Flexible Workplaces are Occupying the Minds of Facility Managers Again? who would have otherwise been running all the time to meet the needs of all employees within the facility. A lower headcount of employees present in the office also makes for a more secure workspace as security can be tracked more carefully across the office or facility.
Hot-desking and flexible workspace arrangements look set to gain ground in the minds of facility managers in the post-COVID 19 era. It makes their jobs easier and also enables them to deliver better experiences for employees at the workplace and support and empower them to perform optimally. With great planning and smart solutions, facility managers can ensure secure and safe workspaces. This trend may become the most visible sign of the revolutionary shifts towards the digitally managed facilities of tomorrow.