Office seating management has undergone radical transformations during the last two and a half years. From the administrative aspect, the seating arrangement was initially overseen by office administrators and infrastructure managers, then passed over to the human resources experts, and in some cases, we even witness it being delegated back to administrative personnel. This complex and changeable dynamic continues to this day, due to the organizations’ changing priorities as they strive to rapidly adapt to unprecedented realities. Corporate motivations have also changed noticeably: originally, streamlining and the improvement of management efficiency were major motivations, but over time organizations started increasingly prioritizing employee wellbeing, comfort at the office, and engagement with the workplace.
This effort to keep employees satisfied brought about different novel office organization schemes and creative solutions. For example, some companies tried converting all workstations to be “hot desks”, sometimes only to return to a layout of fully permanent workstations. Corporate adaptability has always been a priceless asset, and companies are still finding out the layout that suits them best. During these turbulent times, our seating allocation software has allowed our customers to maintain maximum flexibility on the go, even accommodating custom hybrid models that combine the qualities of different seating models.
Which work models will survive in the future is the subject of a substantial debate among employment experts, and the uncertainty in this respect is still significant. However, the workplace was and remains a key place in one’s life – much more than simply a space for labor, it is both a geographical and a psychological anchor. In a well-formed workspace, employees have personal space that organically connects to shared areas for collaboration with colleagues, supporting the creation of vital professional and social connections. A pleasant, appropriately organized office environment is essential for a positive work experience and for a lasting sense of belonging to the organization.
Thus, it was quite apparent that over time many employees will prefer to return to permanent desks, which provide them a stable and predictable “second home”. We can say that this preference reflects a desire to return to a “new normal” routine. Nevertheless, part-time work from home and workstation sharing are here to stay to varying degrees, and HR managers and office administrators know well that workstation sharing remains a useful element of the contemporary office. This is especially true in the settings of a hybrid office, in which some employees’ roles necessitate having a permanent workstation, while others’ roles require them to be free to book available workstations around the premises.
That is why, in response to current market trends, we at POC Systems added a brand-new feature to our seating allocation software. It addresses a workstation sharing issue at the interface between workers that work from home part of the time and employees who are “mobile” around the premises, booking themselves shared workstations. The number of workstations is a precious and finite resource for the organization; therefore, care must be taken to optimize their use. Leaving desks unoccupied is obviously wasteful, but this does happen, for example, in case employees who have a personal workstation do not plan to use it (e.g., they plan to work from home), but nevertheless leave it reserved for themselves for the workday. A solution was needed to keep the benefits of personally assigned workstations while reducing this pattern, which is both inefficient and inconsiderate towards fellow employees’ needs.
Our seating allocation solution’s new feature lets effortlessly transform a permanent workstation into a bookable hot desk with just two clicks by the employee himself. The updated system encourages employees to share their unoccupied workstations with coworkers who need them: for example, if an employee plans to work from home the next day, they can easily make their workstation available for booking as a hot desk for the period of their absence. This guarantees that any employee can book themselves a workstation whenever needed. The efficiency of the existing seating layout is optimized while preserving employee engagement and a sense of belonging to the organization.