Desk Booking, Desk Monitoring Sensors and the Employee Experience

By: Tom Bell on March 16, 2021

The COVID pandemic is slowly starting to ease. Before long, your employees will begin transitioning from remote working, and will return back to the office. This will be easier for some of your people than for others. For many, home working has provided considerable benefits. They’ve been able to successfully manage their own time and working space – fitting it around the needs of others in the home, without impacting negatively on their productivity. These employees have also felt safe from viral infection – much more so than had they been working in crowded offices.

Your employees will be looking for encouragement as they contemplate returning to the workplace. They’ll be expecting an enhanced office experience, compared to the one they had pre-pandemic. They will want to be reassured that their health and safety is your top priority. Desk booking, with its many benefits, could have a big part to play in providing that reassurance. Key to implementing it is the installation of desk monitoring sensors – essential for gaining the data you need to inform and power the desk booking system.

 

What is desk booking and how do desk monitoring sensors facilitate this system?

What are desk monitoring sensors?
These are sensors that are typically placed on the underside of a desk and use an anonymous sensing technology such as PIR to detect when a person enters their ‘field of view’ (i.e. sits down or stands at the desk).

The sensors have a narrow ‘field of view’ that enables them to accurately detect when the desk is in use or not. This minimises and reduces potential interference from people moving in the surrounding areas.

Using an occupancy platform like True Occupancy, it’s easy to integrate these sensors into other systems such as a desk booking system, HVAC or lights. You can use the data picked up by the desk monitoring sensors to automate systems, such as turning off lights when it is detected a person is not present. This often results in massive savings on energy consumption.

 

What is desk booking?

This is a system that uses the occupancy data from desk monitoring sensors to enable the process of locating, booking & managing desks at your workplace.

By using the data to automatically detect when desks are occupied or free, it can cancel bookings if an employee who had booked space fails to show up. This is especially useful in preventing employees from booking a desk for a whole day and not attending at all. When a space is still not occupied, say, 30 minutes after it was due to be occupied, the desk booking system will free it up to be booked and utilised by someone else.

 

How does desk booking improve the employee experience?

Workforce enablement
Desk booking helps staff to be more efficient. No longer will they have to waste valuable time searching for somewhere comfortable and suitable to work. Before arriving at work, they can use an app, a browser-based booking system, or even their Outlook calendar to reserve their desk-space. Staff can use booking systems to help them to make the decision if they want to go in on quieter or busier days by identifying the number of desks that have been booked out.

 

Improved hygiene
Following the COVID pandemic, returning employees will be understandably concerned about hygiene. They will expect the highest standards of health protocol. Desk booking gives you the ability to ensure that recently used desks have been hygienically cleaned and only released for reservation again, once they have been cleaned. 

Powering your desk booking system and your company’s cleaning schedule with real-time occupancy data, you’ll be able to manage pre-booking, zoning, cleaning and tracking of desk usage to ensure safety at all times.

By using a booking app, your employees will be using ‘touchless’ technology to book their desks – again, a safe and hygienic alternative.

Utilising a desk booking system reduces the amount of permanently allocated workspaces required, meaning the desks in your office will be tidier and cleaner. There will be less desk clutter with photo frames and other personal effects – making the desks easier for cleaners to do a thorough job.

 

Wayfinding
By making use of a wayfinding app and combining it with your desk booking system it will allow your employees to locate other co-workers. All they have to do is to enter their co-worker’s name into the app, and they’ll be able to locate them instantly.

 

Facilitating employee needs
By using desk monitoring sensors, you can make much more efficient use of your workspace. As flexible working days and hours become more common, desk monitoring sensors and desk booking will give you valuable data about working patterns. Ultimately, you’ll learn how much office space you really need and what you need it for.

You’ll be able to re-purpose your office space, potentially making huge savings on office overheads. For example, you may well learn that a significant proportion of your fixed desks are under-used. By converting them to flexible desk space, you’ll be able to increase the space utilization, whilst reducing the overall amount of space your people currently require.

 

Desk monitoring and privacy

Your employees will naturally feel apprehensive about how desk monitoring sensors might impact their privacy. This is a classic instance of how communication is so vital. You need to address the fear that they are being watched.

First, explain the technology you are using. Demonstrate that you’re using a system that uses no cameras. Next, you need to show why you’re collecting this data and how you’re using it to benefit their experience. You should explain how there’s no ‘big brother’ aspect to the system – how you have no interest from the point of view of their diligence and how long they’re spending at their desk. You’re only wanting to improve their experience, optimise your company’s workspace and potentially reduce energy usage.

 

Find out more about the benefits of desk booking and desk monitoring sensors

As the ‘return to work’ gets underway, find out more about the benefits of desk booking and desk monitoring sensors. There are countless ways in which they can improve the welfare of your employees; and the efficiency and profitability of your organisation. Take a look here.

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