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The Pros and Cons of Hybrid Workplaces

By Devon Maresco
Content Strategy Specialist
SpaceIQ

In the same way open offices and coworking did before it, the concept of hybrid workplaces has changed how people work. Just like these past revolutionary work concepts, it’s important we take the time to assess the pros and cons of hybrid workplaces. As they gain momentum companies and their employees need to understand the benefits, drawbacks, opportunities, and pitfalls associated with this new form of work.

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A recap of hybrid workspaces

A hybrid workplace consists of both in-house employees and remote workers who work together as a distributed team. The hybrid workspace can take many forms as it pertains to a physical space. For example, many businesses adopted a hoteling model to accommodate an unknown daily capacity of in-house employees. Other companies evolved into more agile work environments that allow in-house workers to more easily adapt different workspaces based on their needs.

The advantages and disadvantages of the hybrid work model come from not only the structure of the workplace itself, but in how remote and on-site employees collaborate. While these solutions can vary across companies, the fundamentals of a hybrid model remain the same. Let’s look at the pros and cons.

The positives powering hybrid work

As you might expect from a new work model that’s quickly defined the professional landscape, there’s a lot to love about hybrid work. The benefits of hybrid work are many, for both employees and employers alike.

For employees, the biggest benefit of hybrid work is flexibility. Whether they work in-house, from home, or split their time between the two, a hybrid workplace supports them. It’s meant to bridge all gaps between different work styles, so a person can accomplish their job regardless of setting. This is especially important for companies scheduling on rolling shifts.

This seamless working experience goes all the way down to the workspace level. Hybrid work demands workspaces as flexible as the concept. Hotel desks, hot desks, breakout spaces, and the like are all essential in a supportive hybrid workplace. More than keeping the concept functional, they further promote employees to work in the fashion that best fits their needs.

From an employer standpoint, hybrid work offers powerful optimization opportunities. For example, ratio desking allows companies to operate with fewer desks than total employees, without depriving people of the space they need. Likewise, a dramatic shift to remote work and force portfolio consolidation, which can free up significant cash flow otherwise tied up in overhead.

These examples add up to some key, specific benefits that make hybrid workplaces a long-term prospect for today’s dynamic workforce:

  • Offers the best of both on-site and off-site accessibility for employees
  • Improves flexibility, agility, and optionality of the workplace
  • More effective use and utilization of spaces and workstations
  • Saved workplace and facility costs through more efficient use of space
  • Improved employee experience, which can influence and improve culture
  • Access to a broader talent pool when hiring or expanding

Negatives to beware of in hybrid workplaces

There are still a few kinks in the hybrid model that companies need to work through. It’s a proven, reliable solution to distributed teams and workforces, but there are some key drawbacks that can cause complications if not accounted for.

The biggest is lack of oversight. With some working remotely and those in-office employees flitting between different areas and workstations, companies give up a traditional sense of control. This is okay, so long as there’s a guiding hand to help employees develop good habits and understand new expectations. Social-emotional competency is vital for management, and good systems for communication are imperative.

Distractions are also something to be aware of. Employees used to the traditional work model of one desk and one task could find themselves both easily distracted and/or unsure of how to stay on-task. Companies can support these individuals with thoughtful workspace design and encourage employees to adapt their habits, rather than abandon them.

Finally, there need to be systems for bridging in-house to remote in all senses of the concept. Employee-to-employee communication. Access to , files, and technologies. The connection needs to be robust. Outside of employee preference, there can’t be any factors that make working in-house or remote any better than the alternative. Companies need to be mindful as they level the playing field, while simultaneously raising it.

Again, these examples add up to some clear-cut pitfalls. The good news is, many of them are avoidable with thoughtful design and management of hybrid workplaces:

  • More difficult to communicate in real-time, especially between distributed teams
  • Access to technology and applications may differ from office to home
  • Employees may find it difficult to adapt or develop new habits
  • Employees may feel alienated if not supported in their choice of work style
  • Hybrid requires more processes of control to allow for freedoms in work

Why the hybrid model is here to stay

Simply put: because the benefits of the hybrid workplace outweigh the potential negatives. That and the fact that, for some employees, there’s no going back to a centralized workplace. Companies might’ve adopted a hybrid work model out of necessity due to the coronavirus pandemic, but it’s one that’s going to far outlast it as the new way to accommodate everyone unique work styles and preferences.

Keep Reading: Hybrid Workplaces are the Future of Work

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Ratio Seating: Everything You Need to Know to Make it Work

By Devon Maresco
Marketing Coordinator
SpaceIQ

“Company X has 150 employees and 100 workspaces: 70 single-occupancy, 15 multi-person, and 15 undesignated spaces. What is the ratio of employees to workspaces on a space-specific level?” No this isn’t a question from the SATs, it’s a peek behind the curtain of ratio seating: one of the emerging methods for allocation and management of desks in a flex work environment. There’s plenty of math involved, but the potential upside for space-conscious companies is worth the pain of scribbling fractions in a notebook.

The good news is that most Integrated Workplace Management Systems (IWMS) offer ratio seating tools that automate the math. All that’s left for facility managers to do is make sure their approach is one that is beneficial to both the business and its employees.

What is ratio-based seating?

Ratio-based seating is the product of flex work concepts like hoteling and hot desking. At its core, it’s the practice of organizing and allocating workspaces in such a way as to support fewer total seats than there are employees. Ratio-based seating allows companies to operate at a seating “deficit” through strategic allocation.

For example, a company with a new flex work policy might have 40 total employees—but not all of them will work in-house at the same time. The company doesn’t need 40 desks. Instead, it might operate 20 desks with the expectation that roughly half its workforce will work remote at any given time. That’s space (and cost) saved on a daily basis.

Ratio seating isn’t only about eliminating desks—it’s about running a desk deficit in a way that doesn’t hinder work habits or reduce productivity.

What types of offices benefit from ratio seating?

The shift to flex work and distributed teams has made ratio-based seating much more practical. If companies can predict the percentages of their workforce that will or won’t need a seat on a given day, facility managers can orchestrate several efficient desking concepts:

  • Hotel desks give employees the power to reserve their seating as-needed, on-demand
  • Hot desks enable free-flowing movement in a workplace with diverse desk types
  • Office neighborhoods offer opportunities for collaboration without assigned seats
  • Breakout spaces provide employees an as-needed, quick-use solution to space

Really, any unspecified seating solution becomes a reality in a ratio seating concept. Without assigned seats—and with the freedom to work where and how they want—employees don’t need the surety of a “home base.” That means fewer desks for more people who are always on-the-go.

How to calculate employee-to-seat ratio

There are different schools of thought for calculating the employee-to-seat ratio for the ideal desking deficit.

The best way is to use trend pattern data over time to calculate minimum and maximum occupancy. Monitor the percentage of total desk occupancy for three months, record occupancy levels per day, and put them on a heat map. Eliminate outliers and find the mean. This can offer a starting point to determine how many desks your workplace needs objectively at any given time. Institute a hoteling policy or desk reservation system to account for these spaces, and monitor continued utilization to adjust for real use.

Another concept is to assign employees to groups with values and calculate employee-to-desk ratio using the sum of the values of employees.

  • 1 for full-time in-house employees
  • 5 for those who split time remote/in-house
  • 25 for those who are full-time remote

This type of model accounts for those who need a desk every day, as well as those who may come in or who may get called in for an all-hands situation. It’s often calculated at the department level, since different group work habits vary depending on job type. Marketing might end up with a 10:4 person-to-desk ratio, while Accounting has a 12:10 person-to-desk ratio.

The employee-to-seat ratio is both a numbers game and a balancing act. It’s wise for facility managers to start with a ratio and build in buffers, then continue to observe and adjust over time. Remember that different factors can bring employees into the workplace or keep them remote. A severe snowstorm might leave you with only 10% occupancy one day, while an all-hands meeting puts you at 90% occupancy another day. Monitor and adjust as-needed.

Important ratio seating considerations

There are a few simple considerations facility managers need to keep top-of-mind while they calculate and implement a ratio seating strategy:

  • Ratios aren’t perfect and it’s best to plan contingencies for overflow seating
  • Seats and workspace types are two different variables; treat them as such
  • Create seating ratios for every level: department, floor, and building
  • Make seat utilization reporting metrics central to workplace management
  • Seek to understand outliers and their effect on ideal seating ratios
  • Account for seating ratio as the company hires or changes work policies

Enjoy a balanced desking concept

Ratio seating offers a calculated, measured approach to maximize space occupancy. Done right, it creates a hassle-free flex-seating arrangement for employees and an occupancy standard that facility managers can adjust as-needed. It’s a calculated solution where a 1:1 desking ratio may no longer be possible or practical. Expect to see more opportunities for ratio seating in our post-pandemic working world.

Keep reading: 6 Variables of Office Seating Plan Software

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What’s the Future of Work Post COVID-19?

What’s the Future of Work Post COVID-19?

By Dave Clifton
Content Strategy Specialist
SpaceIQ

Since the earliest days of the coronavirus pandemic, companies have speculated on the future of work post COVID-19. As the months dragged on, most companies came to the same conclusion: the future of work depends on a successful pivot during the pandemic. Rather than wait for the virus to pass, companies began to explore new work schedules, desking concepts, remote work, and a host of new workplace standards and practices.

While much of the workforce is still settling in almost a year into the pandemic, the future of work post COVID-19 is becoming clearer—thanks in large part to the adaptations of leading companies. Here’s what’s trending up and paving the way for the future of work in our upcoming post-pandemic world.

Remote work is here to stay

Remote work was arguably the single biggest pivot during the pandemic. The exodus from the workplace to home offices, dining room tables, and couches has proven that a significant portion of the population can work from home. As they settle in, many employees are finding that they enjoy the freedom remote work affords them, and are willing to put up with some of the cons attached to it.

Employers are also discovering the benefits of a remote workforce. Expect many employers to trim back their workplace footprint in the coming years as more employees opt for remote work. New workplace desking concepts are also good for the bottom line, as they exhibit better space utilization and cost-efficiency.

The amicable view on remote work by both employers and employees indicates this is one trend that’s here to stay.

Distributed teams

In conjunction with remote work, distributed teams are also sure to stick around. Whether they’re all remote or a mixture of remote vs. in-office, teams are no longer in the same place, which means their communication standards have changed.

The future is filled with more Slack messages, Zoom calls, and Dropbox collaborations. Teams might not all be in the same place, but they need to be on the same page. Employers need to take distributed teams into consideration as they plan upcoming investments in technology and look for ways to upskill managers.

Hoteling emerges in a big way

Hoteling office space is right behind remote work in terms of lasting changes to how we work. Hoteling has allowed companies to facilitate a safe return to work by giving employees the freedom to choose their workspace, while tracking workspace utilization. It’s not only great for contact tracing, it’s a valuable desking concept for agile work environments and companies practicing flex work.

Hoteling offers a perfect medium between the freedom of hot desking and the structure of assigned or static workspaces. Managed correctly, hoteling will become the lynchpin for companies with complex scheduling across flex teams. As we move past the pandemic, employers will look for ways to downsize their square footage while growing their workforce, and they’ll rely on hoteling and flex work to balance these adjustments.

How will coworking and hot desks fare?

In 2018 and 2019, hot desking and coworking appeared to be the clear frontrunners in the future of work. These workplace concepts even ushered in the current crop of space planning software more and more companies will rely on into the future.

While hot desking and coworking will see a rebound post-pandemic, there’s fear that they won’t bounce back with as much gusto. Coworking spaces will reappear and may thrive thanks to a significant uptick in remote workers, but the business model has become shakier under the context of the pandemic. Hot desks may cede their share of the workplace to hotel desks, which give more control to facility managers when it comes to understanding worker habits and workspace utilization.

We haven’t seen the end of coworking and hot desks, but the future might bring different iterations of these concepts from what we know them as pre-pandemic.

Will we ever go back to static desks or open offices?

The future is the age of the agile workplace, which means we’re not likely to see a resurgence of static desking concepts. Open offices aren’t off the table, however, provided they’re rooted in flex work principles. Benching won’t likely bounce back as well—breakout spaces will take their place.

The more dynamic an individual workspace, the more likely its future in a post COVID-19 workplace. The reason? Dedicated space will become a burden on the balance sheet if distancing policies stay in place. Even if they don’t, employees are becoming acclimated to new occupancy standards and won’t want to pack into confined spaces if they can help it.

Early trends squash speculation

The above trends aren’t speculation—they’re emerging standards. Almost one year into the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re seeing the makings of a future beyond it. The adjustments and transitions companies are making now aren’t short-term pivots—they’re planning for the future. There’s no going back.

While these standards will continue to evolve, they’re setting the stage for employee expectations. After a mass migration to remote work, distributed teams, hoteling, and flex work, employers and employees alike won’t be in any hurry to up-end their work arrangement again!

Read Next: Space Planning Software Buyers Guide

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Workplace Thought Leadership

Adjusting Workplace Strategies for a Post-COVID Future

By Laura Woodard
Real Estate & Workplace Program Manager (Ret.)
Google

“…I believe scarcity breeds clarity: it focuses minds, forcing people to think creatively and rise to the challenge.”
Sergey Brin, Google Co-founder & President, Technology
2008 Founders’ Letter (May 2009)

Those words resonated deeply with everyone at Google at a time when the housing market crashed to record lows. Like the Dot-com bubble burst of the late 1990s and early 2000s, Google weathered the storm by embracing Sergey’s words: “Scarcity breeds clarity.” We ruthlessly prioritized, did more with less, and planned for the future.

The world faces a greater challenge in COVID-19. Yes, businesses are closing. But this time, people are dying from an enemy not interested in instant online business success or low mortgage rates. Companies of all sizes and types have closed their doors not because of economic strain; they’re shuttered to keep employees and customers alive.

As the business community prepares to reopen, its path remains fraught with perils we don’t understand, nor are prepared to face. Social distancing is defining a new workplace structure that may require a completely different work model based on remote employees, staggered shifts, and smaller footprints. But one thing is certain: we won’t go back to the way things were in January 2020.

Get out of the weeds

It’s easy to become mired in the day-to-day issues of getting back to business under COVID-19. You’ve got a lot of questions—but they may not be the right ones. Instead of only planning where to put hand sanitizer stations, you should also be asking how you’ll adjust to changes two to five years from now.

Crises will come and go, but how you adapt to the changes those emergencies foster is the difference between success and failure. There’s no crystal ball to guide your decision-making, but focusing on change management vs. crisis management requires big-picture vision.

First, create a cross-functional team including executive management, HR, people managers, and employees who work in lockstep on strategies that cover a two-to-five-year horizon. The team should meet on a regular basis to assess current strategies and make adjustments. Note: there may be an existing cross-functional team established already that you can leverage for this longer-term outlook.

Because there’s no one-size-fits-all change management structure, the cross-functional team should create a decision tree that identifies the strategies, tactics, and incidentals your business needs to succeed. Think of each branch as a different strategic path you take depending on the change that’s required.

Finally, plan for likely scenarios. Play the “If this, then that” game to identify and plan for internal and external circumstances. Your decision tree determines which of these tactics to use and the cross-functional team ensures the right work gets done at the right time.

These plans aren’t tabletop exercises based on imagination, but on data. Your cross-functional team should determine how to measure business success during the reopening phase. Specific metrics and outcomes will help clarify how a physical comeback to the office—even at a partial level—will support operations. Key areas to explore are employee uncertainty, the effects of social distancing on capacity, and long-term lease considerations.

The human element

Because the workplace is a microcosm of society, there’s a human element to consider as you reopen your business. You need to acknowledge that employees are dealing with a heightened state of individual fears as well as a sense of loss. In addition to anxiety surrounding their personal lives, they could be carrying residual stress from this extended shutdown and the negative impacts it may have had on your company.

As you welcome employees back to the office, offer clear communication channels for them to voice their concerns. Their apprehensions may involve workplace-related issues like the process of returning to the building, issues with public transportation, or private considerations about a family death, mental health, or a lack of access to childcare.

If your company has multiple locations, be aware that communications will need to be tempered for each site. New Yorkers, for example, are going to have a different state of mind than employees in areas where cases haven’t been as high. Tailor your response guidelines and workplace modifications to each city, county, and state to match the realities of their situations.

Managers should also be empowered to both receive and relay concerns from the frontlines. In a March Gallup poll, only 54% of employees felt strongly “that their supervisor keeps them informed about what is going on in the organization.” Managers are in the best position to understand individual concerns, as well as judge team morale. They know which roles can be done remotely, those unique to the office, and what technology solutions both groups will need.

End of crammed offices

Companies across every industry have long been reducing the square footage allocated for individual workstations. Michael Bloomberg, former mayor of New York City, was once famous for adopting an open-office concept in a government building. Dubbed the Bullpen, employees were stationed at small desks configured in tight rows. But the practice of working shoulder-to-shoulder is—at least for the time being—a big no-no.

Business owners should determine if hoteling, hot desks, and benching can accommodate on-site workers under social-distancing rules. Even if you currently offer reservable desks, employees might be worried about who else sat there and for how long. Plus, there’s now a question of adding daily janitorial services to sanitize desks and other work surfaces.

One solution to alleviate overcrowding and improve cleaning efficiency is to implement A/B days. The first step is to determine where people normally sit, then calculate capacity based on distancing guidelines. Because social distancing significantly alters capacity, space planning software can show how to place people at safe intervals.

Remodel or renegotiate

Now, step forward 18 months. Theoretically, you should feel comfortable making permanent decisions about workplace strategies. We’ll likely have more clarity on a “new normal” and how that impacts workplace operations. Is social distancing still needed? If not, should you abandon hot desks for more permanent workstations? Can you design for capacity or is distancing required?

Changing the physical workplace is an expensive endeavor;it be done easily or quickly. Companies need to consider how long social distancing might last before committing to layout changes that require a remodel. It’s worth remembering that a construction project often depreciates over the length of the lease. If your lease expires in 10 years, 18 months is not that long to wait for a renovation.

The coronavirus pandemic has made companies even more cautious of committing to decades-long leases and costly buildouts. As businesses inevitably shutter during this period, turnkey office space at below-market rates is more readily available. It may be prudent to evaluate these options and take the opportunity to negotiate more flexible terms for your existing lease.

Look to the future

The end of the COVID-19 story is unclear; we have no way of knowing where each of us will be after this saga. But the silver lining for businesses is an opportunity to recalibrate. When everything has changed, it’s wise to pause and take a fresh look at the how’s and why’s of doing business.

Companies no longer have the luxury of holding onto the mantra of “We have always done it this way, so that’s the way we should do it.” That’s putting your head in the sand. Don’t ignore the facts that business has changed. Instead, rise to the challenge, throw out the old rule books, and get laser-sharp about our workplace goals.

Keep Reading: COVID-19 Wokplace Management Resources

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Workplace Thought Leadership

What Does Your Workplace Say About Your Company?

By Laura Woodard
Real Estate Executive (Ret.)
Google

They say a home tells you everything you need to know about a person. The same can—or, perhaps, should—be said of a company and its workplace.

As part of the interview process, many job seekers place a premium on company culture. We typically associate culture with less tangible elements: how people behave and their interactions with one another, a person or company’s mission and goals, etc. However, someone’s first impression of your business develops around structural design. In other words, your workplace influences opinions of your business.

First Impressions Count

By structural design, we mean tangible items that influence how people behave and communicate with one another, which also supports how missions come to fruition, and how individuals meet those goals. For example, respectful and friendly office communication cannot happen in a noisy, open office with zero space for quiet work and collaboration cannot happen without a system to locate and communicate with one’s colleagues. Similarly, if a law firm prides itself on discretion and service tailored to each client’s needs, spreading out teams among different sections or offices, or failing to reserve private conference rooms for client meetings, reflects poorly on this mission.

Company culture is where the physical workplace meets human goals and behavior (also read why workplace culture is important for success). Should you include in your job posts  “private, reservation-only conference rooms” or “real-time employee location tracking”? It’s not nearly as compelling as saying “flexible workspace accommodations” and “collaborative work environment supported by technology tailored to your needs”.

Give Your Company Culture a Reality Check

The tools supporting the culture are what allow companies to retain employees—and you have to be prepared to back up claims made in job descriptions. While employees may be encouraged by the language used in an ad, we live in the age of reviews. Job seekers may contact a company’s current or former employees to hear their personal experience and whether working there is as good as a job post makes it seem. The current workforce, especially Millennials and Gen Z, isn’t swayed by language alone. They need real-life accounts to inform their decisions.

Across generations, employees hold feedback and appreciation in the highest regard; therefore, implementing tools that encourage regular comments and acknowledgement is necessary. Some companies rely on gamification, which combines feedback and rewards by ranking employees or teams based on achievement of their goals, all while encouraging productivity. However, leaderboards—like an open office or remote-work—don’t work with every industry. A software company, for instance, may see gamification in the workplace as the most useful way to keep sales teams motivated and engaged. However, an architecture firm likely wouldn’t reap the same benefits.

Who Knows How Well Your Office Works Better Than Your Team?

It’s not just enough, or even appropriate, to make your office look good and enforce what you perceive as the company’s culture or employee needs. You need to assess whether particular design or technology elements touted by other successful businesses work for yours and, when possible, ask your teams to weigh in.

A study from the Workforce Institute @ Kronos shows that employees believe they are what defines workplace culture, or—at least part of it. Utilizing the same processes for benchmarking company goals and achievements, you can get feedback on how well your workplace connects to the desired culture and what, if anything, can be done to improve it. You might find your goal of a laid-back and hip office is actually hindered by noise, an inability to locate colleagues, and aggressive art and color choices.

You can’t assess company culture or how your workplace contributes to it without feedback. One starting point, as Ivana Taylor, a DIY marketing expert, suggests, is to list your company’s values. Define them, and then ask your team to define them as well. How do executives rank these values vs. entry-level employees? This exercise illuminates how the boots on the ground, so to speak, view the company as opposed to what executives think they see.

Small, structural elements can create drastic shifts in culture for the better. Using sensors to detect when printer ink is low may reduce stress for an employee who needs to print hundreds of documents in one sitting. Introducing elements from nature with biophilic design in quiet spaces and human resource offices can calm employees, allowing them to focus or feel at ease in an otherwise stressful situation. Adding shades to glass-walled conference rooms offers another layer of privacy while raising them ensures the company’s democratic, collaborative values are on display (literally or not).

A Little is A LotMake Changes That Count

Employee perks, such as flexible work hours, should be supported by the workplace. Say your business doesn’t enforce a strict 9 a.m.-to-5 p.m. schedule, but lights go off and cleaning crews show up at 6 p.m. Such timing discourages workers from arriving and staying later or breaking their day into blocks to balance work and life needs. Similarly, if employees are encouraged to work remotely and the office, as a result, doesn’t have a desk for everyone, you may not realize that remote-work is only being utilized because of the lack of desks. Employees may actually prefer to be in the office; implementing a hot-desking policy allows managers to see how many people want to work in the office vs. how many actually are.

Every aspect of the workplace serves a purpose, down to the flooring in the office. And it all affects how your company’s culture is shaped and perceived. Does your physical office align with the values or your organization?  Or does it subtly contradict those values? Understanding how your physical space dictates the tone of your business is critical to supporting—and retaining—a productive, happy workforce.

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Hot Desking Health and Safety During COVID-19

By Katherine Schwartz
Demand Generation Specialist
SpaceIQ

Coronavirus has even the most rational employees thinking long and hard about their health and wellness while at work. The pandemic is still active and ongoing, and time spent in a busy workplace is a consistent reminder for many people—especially when it comes to use of shared facilities. It’s reasonable to understand the concerns many employees have about hot desking health and safety.

Are hot desks safe? What can employers do to make them safe? What should employees do to keep shared spaces hygienic? It’s easy to rattle off tangential concerns. Thankfully, it’s just as easy to put those concerns to rest with a proactive, transparent, thorough hot desking policy during the coronavirus pandemic. Here’s everything employers and their staff need to be aware of.

Are hot desks safe during COVID-19?

Hot desking during coronavirus may seem counterintuitive, but it has the possibility to be an extremely hygienic option when approached correctly.

The obvious concern is the constant stream of people utilizing the same space throughout the day. A hot desk might welcome anywhere from a single occupant to eight or more throughout the day. And while they’re never there together, each new presence brings the potential for new germs. Disinfection between occupants is a must. A simple solution for many companies is to build in 15-30-minute increments between users, to sanitize and sterilize.

The other major safety concern to address arises when there’s a confirmed case of coronavirus in the workplace. Contact tracing needs to be a priority, starting with shared spaces. Develop a system of record to know who occupied a desk, when, and for how long.

Despite obvious concerns about shared space, there are some less obvious benefits worth noting. For example, contact tracing can actually be easier if there’s a system or record that spans the entire office. Likewise, hot desks can be a better way to utilize space safely as employees phase back into the workplace—rotating through space instead of commingling within it. There’s also a simplicity in sanitizing and sterilizing hot desks per an SOP or standardized work order.

Hot desking—like any aspect of the workplace in the current climate—is subject to success with the right oversight. If you can keep your employees safe and make them feel safe, hot desking presents opportunities for a safe return to work and a transition back to productive normalcy.

Tips for hot desking safety

Every workplace faces different obstacles as employees return to work. Hot desking safety hinges largely on how facilities managers adapt their hot desking options and oversee employee interaction with them. Transforming traditional spaces into hot desks or limiting occupancy alone aren’t enough to make the concept work.

Below are a few tips to consider as you ponder hot desks as a space-efficient solution during COVID-19. Strive to implement as many as possible to cover the various aspects of hot desking safety and standardization.

  • Space hot desk workstations six feet apart or more
  • Stagger shifts and schedules to dilute workplace density
  • Buffer time for cleaning between hot desk occupants
  • Create robust cleaning protocol for each hot desk
  • Delegate and create a system for hot desk disinfection
  • Set capacity limits for rooms with multiple workstations
  • Revise floor plans to create new hot desking areas

Combine these hot desking safety tips with other coronavirus policies for maximum benefit—such as employee self-screenings or guidelines for face coverings. Emphasize hot desking in the context of COVID-19 workplace best practices, to create spaces that are socially distant, frequently disinfected, and monitored in the event of an outbreak.

For hot desking to be effective, it can’t be too cumbersome for employees. Build safe protocols and standards that are also simple. A cleaning buffer. Sign-in and sign-out processes. Constant review and adjustment of floor plans. Little efforts add up to big benefits.

Use hot desks to facilitate a safe return to work

A hot desking return to work may actually be one of the safest if undertaken correctly. Keep employees distant and separated. Clean workspaces thoroughly. Create a system for track and trace. Each incremental piece of a hot desking solution adds up to quelled coronavirus concerns.

Remember to keep health and safety at the forefront of every hot desking decision. Once employees know and feel that hot desks are a safe solution, they’ll have an easier time getting back to work. This is especially true for employees wary of a return to the workplace, who may feel more comfortable knowing how hot desking benefits their health and wellness.

Keep reading: How to use physical distancing software