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A Successful Hybrid Workspace Starts with Wise Seating Allocation

David Weisman

The hybrid model of work allows employees to combine the advantages of remote work and work at the office while allowing employers to increase efficiency and save costs. This requires continuous maintenance of the equilibrium between addressing employee needs and budgeting considerations, as employees’ job satisfaction is a major condition for business prosperity. One way to ensure employee welfare at the office is by implementing a smart seating allocation solution, which serves as a comprehensive coordinating hub for all company members.

Even before the pandemic, the standard work model of tiring daily commutes to the office and back was already reaching a crisis point for many. People all over the world, from Japan to North America, were gradually realizing that the existing work culture and norms must change. Then struck COVID-19, forcing an abrupt switch to remote work. We all remember how quickly many of us started missing our office and welcomed the return to hybrid offices as soon as this became possible. Hybrid work became widespread, but every organization implements it differently to match its needs and objectives.

Employee resignation is not a new issue, but the pandemic crisis drove it to new heights, causing “The Great Resignation,” when millions of employees worldwide left their jobs. Such record turnover has been linked to employee dissatisfaction with their workplace, which is a multi-faceted issue, stemming among others from non-sustainable work-life balance, unnoticed employee needs, and problematic corporate cultures. Fortunately, employers pay attention to this problem more than before, recognizing their major influence and responsibility in this area. What can employers do to support their employees and prevent their disengagement and subsequent job quitting?

This question deserves a comprehensive discussion, therefore let us focus on a specific aspect of this issue: the appropriate organization of the premises. This is especially relevant at the hybrid workspace, where the seating pattern is naturally dynamic since employees follow different schedules and work from home on different days. In a hybrid format, employees do not usually have permanent desks at the office, instead reserving themselves shared workstations (“hot desks”) when needed. Thus, ensuring that employees always have the right environment at the office is challenging and requires special attention. Some positions, e.g., executive roles, necessitate a permanent workstation or office, but other workers may need varying degrees of flexibility when they book themselves workstations on the premises.

The seating pattern at the workplace directly influences corporate success, because it affects both the organization’s finances and employee satisfaction. Finding the most favorable seating arrangement is crucial. For instance, having a permanent workstation for each employee creates a very static arrangement, a large part of which necessarily remains unoccupied when people work remotely. This may suit certain companies, but it is not cost-effective. On the other hand, a workplace containing hot desks only may be smaller in size, require less maintenance, and be more cost-effective, however, such a seating arrangement might not be optimal for some organizations’ character.

Moreover, seating plan changes may be required anytime when companies react to market risks and opportunities as they arise. Company managers and office administrators need to be able to adapt the seating plan to new circumstances without delay, for example, to expand existing departments, establish new ones, or reorganize sections of the premises. Executives running a hybrid office space need to carefully balance the seating plan so that it supports sustainable and productive work and yet that it stays as cost-effective and flexible as possible. The office area should have the appropriate degree of seating flexibility, allowing teammates to organize in-person meetings and work collectively, while retaining enough seating stability to keep the workspace welcoming, organized, and confidence-inspiring. Finally, all employees working at hot desks must be able to easily book themselves a desk whenever needed. In other words, choosing an adequate seating plan for hybrid offices requires professional, psychological, and social considerations to be carefully balanced with budget and efficiency considerations. This may be challenging, but when using the right tools one can successfully accomplish it.

To facilitate and streamline this process in the hybrid office space, POC Systems has created a dedicated seating allocation solution. This software was designed to organize the hybrid office, helping both employees and managing staff. Managing an orderly weekly schedule is essential for a healthy work-life balance, and employees can book workstations for themselves via a convenient app, choosing their in-office hours and preferred desk location, effortlessly planning their week ahead.

The system’s interface features a graphic map of the specific organization’s premises, detailing the designations of every zone and desk. The system can generate occupancy reports, and it even allows users to run simulations of various seating layouts before implementing them. In addition, the seating plan can be easily modified through the seating allocation software: administrators can change each workstation’s status, turning hot desks (which can be booked by any employee) into hybrid desks (which function as hot desks only on fixed days of the week, when their owner works remotely), or into permanent desks (which remain assigned to a particular employee even when they work remotely). Administrators can also divide the premises into ‘zones,’ in which only team members may book workstations.

Thus, POC Systems’ sophisticated seating solution upgrades the entire organization. The employees benefit profoundly from using a centralized seating booking solution, as it supports their preparation for a well-planned day at the hybrid office, e.g., making it easy to schedule a meeting with representatives from different departments. The ability to clearly visualize the seating arrangement keeps executives fully aware of how the office space is used. This knowledge helps employers maintain the balance between satisfying employee needs and keeping the company expenses optimally low. For example, when considering streamlining actions, employers will understand how to avoid measures that render the premises uncomfortable for employees.

The hybrid work model has already been adopted worldwide by numerous organizations, and for good reason: it can successfully combine improved workspace utilization with employee satisfaction. Utilizing our precise seating management tools will upgrade your organization too.

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