Over the past several decades, the way we work has changed dramatically. Today's employees are more connected, more mobile, and more demanding of a flexible work environment than ever before, while companies continually search for ways to improve workforce efficiency, reduce costs, and create a more data-driven work environment.
Office hoteling, the method of reserving office space and resources, has the potential to drive immense value for both employers and employees – if implemented correctly.
When the practice of office hoteling first emerged, employees could reserve workspace, meeting rooms, and office resources by calling an office concierge service. Over time, this gradually evolved into a more convenient, web-based reservation system. Now the system bears even less resemblance to the phoneline of yesteryear, with more Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies, employees have become accustomed to using consumer-oriented applications to make their workday more productive, and office hoteling is no exception to the trend.
The proliferation of mobile sensing technologies, location-based services, digitized indoor maps, and mobile devices are bringing location-awareness to office hoteling apps. Apps connected to an Enterprise Wayfinding Platform (EWP) that is integrated with existing business applications, deliver office hoteling services going well beyond desk reservations.
Take for instance a product owner returning from an offsite meeting. They urgently need to assemble key team members to discuss a potential change request. Because the team is on a tight deadline, the meeting must be as efficient as possible. Using an office hoteling app, the product manager can schedule a meeting and reserve a meeting room based on team members' proximity to the room. Each attendee is notified of the meeting and will receive meeting reminders, on their mobile device, based on proximity and travel time rather than schedule time.
The product owner in question usually works at a remote location, so they need turn-by-turn navigation to a parking space near the entrance that is closest to the meeting location. Once parked on campus, the app provides turn-by-turn directions from their parking spot, directly to the meeting room.
After the meeting, the product owner decides to work on campus with the quality assurance team. Using the people finder feature in the hoteling app, the product manager can reserve and configure a workspace based on its proximity to the quality assurance lead.
In a digital workplace, driven by consumer technology, the availability of a mobile app for office hoteling is more likely to secure employee acceptance of hoteling services. Rather than needing to telephone concierge services or take what is available on arrival, employees can use a mobile app or a website to reserve space and resources well in advance.
Utilizing an app also has the potential to increase the accuracy of how workspace and resources are used. Employees can see what is available now or will be later on, and effortlessly make a reservation. With this ease of reservation there is also the ease of releasing reservations for others, should the space no longer be needed. In this manner, space will not be left empty while others need it due to an unreleased or missed reservation. Combined with interactive wayfinding software, this system is especially helpful for employees unfamiliar with the campus, new interns or staff, and visitors.
Embracing the changing methods of operation that employees use is important to maintaining an efficient and productive workforce. Smartphones and other mobile devices such as tablets have become a normal tool for many individuals, especially those who travel for work or work from home. Implementing a mobile office hoteling app along with wayfinding software is one method by which your company can create greater ease and efficiency for both yourself and your employees on your corporate campus.
Learn why indoor mapping and location technologies are key to building smart digital workplaces
Updated January 1, 2019: This post was originally published on June 22nd, 2015 and has been updated to provide more information.