Office Hoteling App: Five Must-Have Features
By Dave Clifton
Content Strategy Specialist
As companies scramble to maintain workplace operations during an ongoing pandemic, an office hoteling app has become a standout solution for a safe return to work. Workplaces have begun the transition to hoteling for many reasons—seating oversight, contact tracing, space utilization, and better individual workspace management, to name a few. An office hoteling app is an employee’s gateway to navigating this new floor plan and the lynchpin for successfully returning to the workplace after COVID-19.
Wayfinding is a two-way street. Employers need to manage the hoteling system to oversee variables like seat availability and workspace accessibility. On the flip side, employees need to engage that system and interact with it to successfully reintegrate during a return to work. Here’s a look at some of the most important features an office hoteling app needs to facilitate the latter’s role in successful hoteling.
1. Real-time desk visibility
Employees need a live look at the workspaces available to them. Hoteling falls apart without real-time visibility. What happens when two people book the same desk, or a desk appears filled but is actually vacant? Hoteling has the power to be a flexible solution that empowers employees during the return to work, but only if they trust the app to provide real-time insights.
Look for cloud-based hoteling app solutions with low latency integrations to deliver real-time desk visibility. Systems should also be smart enough to handle double-bookings by recommending adjacent spaces or canceling a booking the moment another is confirmed.
2, Workspace identifying information
The more information a hoteling app provides to employees, the more value they’ll derive from it. Workspace identifying information needs to transcend where the desk is or the physical square footage it occupied. Some useful information to attach to hotel desks includes:
- Workspace size and location
- Type of furnishings (desk, chair)
- Outlets or USB hookups present
- Hookups present (ethernet, A/V)
- Special considerations
The purpose of this information is to answer as many questions about the workspace as possible upfront. Identifying information also sets expectations. If the profile says there’s an adjustable standing desk, it might sway an employee to choose that space over another. Just make sure expectations fit reality! Booking a workspace with a standing desk and arriving at one with a traditional sitting desk won’t bode well with employees.
3. Integrated wayfinding
Companies with multiple floors or large campuses need a wayfinding component built into employee hoteling apps. While descriptions of the desk location are helpful (third floor, northeast corner by the copy closet), they leave room for interpretation errors. Wayfinding takes human error out of the process.
Wayfinding is also invaluable if there are dozens (or hundreds) of similar desks. “Third floor cubicle cluster” isn’t an effective description and will disrupt the hoteling system as employees seat themselves in the wrong place. Navigation should take them straight to their seat and offer confirmation that they’re in the right place.
4. Directory integration
The team dynamic is still important in the workplace—even with social distancing measures present. It behooves employees to sit in proximity to the people they work with, even if they need to keep some distance in-between. Getting up to occupy a conference room under new social standards is a lot easier when everyone is a few desks apart, rather than a few floors.
Directory integration is also useful for tracking down individuals within the hoteling framework. Derry might not sit in the same place today as he did two days ago, or last week. If Michaela needs to bring something to him, she needs to be able to find him. Tying hotel desk reservations to the employee directory makes Derry’s location accessible—and, if there’s wayfinding integration, it’s even easier for Michaela to track him down. Less time spent searching is less time wasted.
5. Cross-platform functionality
App functionality needs to be consistent across all devices. If it’s not, employee experience will be inconsistent, which means the hoteling experience will vary from person to person. Whether they own an Apple iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, Google Pixel, or any of a dozen other popular smartphones, your office hoteling app should deliver a uniform experience for everything from desk booking to directory lookups and wayfinding.
Deliver a consistent hoteling experience
Hoteling has emerged as a way to help every employee safely return to the office post COVID-19. To facilitate this return smoothly and safely, each employee needs to have a positive, seamless experience with the office hoteling app. Make it easy for them to see available workspaces, book them, navigate to them, and find their coworkers, and they’ll be more confident in their return to work.