Not to be confused with a flexible and adjustable standing office desk, flex desks and flex desking is a method of office desk booking. The term has grown in popularity over the past two years, along with terms like hybrid working, blended working, and flexible working. All of these terms have some similarities but are actually quite different. Let’s take a look at flex desking below.
What is flex desking?
Flex desks and flex desking is also commonly known as hot desking. An office may have a designated area, or number of desks which are known as ‘flex desks’ or ‘hot desks’. These flex desks are not assigned to anyone in the office. These desks are free and available to be used by any one in the office.
Flex desks allow for employees to move around the office and use free office space each day. By leaving these desks unassigned, it allows for hybrid working to occur. What is hybrid working? Hybrid working is when the company allows their employees to work both onsite and from home. Employees are given the choice of where they will work.
Flex desking has grown in popularity over the past couple of years because companies were forced to ask employees to work from home. When employees began to work from home, offices lay empty. When employees began to return, companies noticed that not everyone wanted to work in the office each day anymore. Instead, employees wanted a mix. In doing this, they noticed that employees would bring their laptops to and from the office. Therefore, there was no longer a need for assigned desks. This led to some desk spaces becoming flex desks. Therefore, allowing all employees the opportunity to book the desk.
There are some other important advantages of flex desking, which we will speak about below.
How to flex desk?
Now we understand what a flex desk is, we must understand and learn how to ‘flex desk’.
Choose the Desk Spaces
As I mentioned above, you must first choose desk spaces that you will allocate as flex desks. These desks should be numbered to simplify the process. Therefore, once all flex desks are chosen, you will be ready to begin.
Choose a Software Solution (Recommended) or a Method
To further simplify the process, you can choose a software solution to use to manage your flex desking. These solutions are often called ‘desk booking systems’. These solutions, like Ronspot, make managing your desks simple. Using a mobile app, Ronspot allows your employees to book a flex desk in real-time.
Alternatively, you may decide to use a manual system, like pen and paper for employees to make bookings. Or possibly an excel sheet for employees to track their desks.
There is also the possibility that the company will allow employees to just arrive and take a desk space on the day. However, the problem with this is the possibility that there are not enough desk spaces available on the day. Similarly, it will be more difficult to social distance with all desks in use – unless correctly distanced already. So, we advise the use of a desk booking system itself.
Onboard Your Employees
The next step is onboarding your employees. This means making them aware of the flex desk situation and how it will work moving forward.
If you choose to use a solution like Ronspot, onboarding is very simple – and can be done quite quickly. With Ronspot, you will provide an office map for your employees to view in the app. The employees will then make their bookings through the Ronspot app. The app will allow them to manage their bookings.
Moreover, Ronspot can provide complete employee and admin training, so all users are completely up to date on how the system works.
Alternatively, if you choose to use a manual system, or excel sheet, you will have to make employees aware of how they will use the system moving forward. Once employees are onboarded, they can begin the desk booking process.
Start Flex Desking
Once you have onboarded employees and made them aware of how they should use the new system, they can begin to book flex desks. Employees will be able to choose their own desk each day.
If the company chooses a hybrid working model, the employees who do not have a desk for that day may work from home. But, by having these flex desks, employees who typically work remotely are still welcome to work in the office when they please.
Flex desking has a lot of advantages, like giving each employee a fair chance of booking a spot. We’ll look at the advantages in more detail later.
How to introduce flex desking to your company
After learning about flex desking, and understanding how it is done, companies can decide how they will introduce it to the workplace.
Firstly, before introducing a new method of work, a company should do two things: inform their employees by providing information on flex desking and survey the staff to see their preferences.
When a company provides their employees with information on a change in the workplace, employees are given time to adjust to the new idea. Additionally, the company shows that they are being transparent in the situation. Employees value transparency. Therefore, giving them information on the new way of working is important to start the conversation.
Once employees are given the information and flex desking is explained to them, it can create dialogue between the management and the team.
Now that employees have been informed of the proposed changes/ideas for the workplace, it is important to understand how all staff feel. This can be achieved through a staff survey. The survey can ask questions around the employee’s feelings towards flex desking and hybrid working. These surveys can give employees who may not speak up, a voice and an opinion.
Choosing Your Method
As mentioned above, we recommend you use a solution like Ronspot to manage your flex desks. Why? Because the solution will automate the management of flex desks completely. Not to mention, protect staff on site with built-in social distancing and capacity limits.
The alternatives are the manual system of using a pen and paper, the shared excel spreadsheet to book, or possibly just word of mouth. These methods have their drawbacks. If you want go see more about the pros and cons of each method, visit out other article on Building Your Own Desk Booking System.
The key decision here is choosing the system that works best for you. This accounts for the size of the office, the budget available to use, the administration requirement, and what features you need. It’s important to find a solution or method that suits you.
Introducing the System to Employees
Once you choose the system or method, you have to onboard and introduce it to employees. This is important, as the employees will be the ones to use the system each day. So, employees should be given a training on how the solution works. Once trained and the system is being used, the company should start to receive some feedback from the employees. This feedback will help improve the flex desking method and ensure employees are happy.
Advantages of using flex desking
We’ve looked at how to introduce flex desks to the office, but it is important to know the advantages of flex desking. These advantages may be the real deciding factor on whether or not you create some flex desks.
Flex Desks Encourage Hybrid Working
Having flex desks can encourage your employees and company to adopt hybrid working. By having unassigned desk space, employees that want a mix of working from home and onsite can easily book in on a given day. The flex desks are ideal for these workers to have the chance to spend time in the office when they please. Hybrid working itself comes with an array of advantages, which we discuss in our article here.
Flex Desks Can Encourage Collaboration
Having flex desks can allow collaboration on projects and work with colleagues they would not normally work alongside. Having a flexible space can encourage employees to speak with colleagues around them. They may ask them for help or advice on some projects. In this case, the collaboration element can help with creativity and motivation.
Less Desks, More Employees
Flex desking works well for companies with more employees than desks. Over the pandemic, many companies hired new staff who all worked remotely. With organisations getting back to the office, companies realised they had more employees than space. However, using hybrid working and flex desking, this is no longer a problem. In fact, it’s ideal for the organisation. While giving employees the freedom of working from home.
How flex desk will help your business
Flex desks can improve your business by reduce costs from leasing and renting.
Reduce Office Space
Flex desks allow your company to reduce office space. Let me explain. Flex desks, when used in a hybrid workplace, mean that anyone can book a spot when they want to work onsite. This means, the desk space is used each day. Whereas with assigned desks in offices can be left empty if most people are working from home.
By introducing flex desk policies, and not assigning desks, a company with 50 employees will not need 50 desks. Instead, thanks to hybrid working, they may need 30 desks. Allowing 30 employees to work onsite each day, and 20 to work from home. Therefore, the office no longer needs to have space for 50 desks. Instead, the office needs to hold 30 desks. So, a company may choose to reduce their office space to fit their new needs. Saving them a lot of money on rent and leasing.
Automated Systems Reduce Admin
We have mentioned throughout this article that we encourage using a desk booking system to manage this, like Ronspot. These systems aid flex desking and allow the company to automate the desk booking process. The aim of these systems is to simplify the desk booking process. Moreover, the features allow the company to set rules around desk booking, social distancing, capacity limits, and booking credits for employees. All of which contributes to reducing the admin work and provide a fair and transparent booking system for employees.
For more information on Ronspot itself, visit our website today. Or, if you want to see how it could work for your company, book a demo for a date and time that suits you below.
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