The way we work has changed drastically over the past few years. Hybrid working is now common for many mid- to large-sized organisations, defying what some critics called a phase or a blip. Sure, temporary adjustments were made during the pandemic to ensure that businesses could continue to operate, but those adjustments aren’t easy to shake.
The truth is, many people now prefer hybrid working. According to a recent report by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), 84% of people surveyed said that they would choose to split their time between the office and their home. Studies have shown that on average people are happier and more productive, often citing a better work-life balance or more freedom to choose how, where and when they work.
However, the office still plays an important role and they’re not going away anytime soon. They fulfil a vital need in business – face-to-face communication and collaboration. In order to manage this shift to hybrid working, office managers have had to procure desk booking software and workplace management tools to help them manage the flow and volume of people coming in and out of the office.
In a nutshell, desk booking software and space utilisation tools enable building occupants to reserve desk space in an office, but the added upshot is that they provide insight into how spaces are being used. By understanding space consumption, organisations are able to effectively manage building occupants and the space itself, often saving significant sums of cash in wasted office space.
Let’s take a look at some of the best desk booking tools available and the costs involved.
The key features of desk booking software
Desk booking software is relatively straightforward, working like an inventory of sorts, logging the amount of available space at any given time and enabling people to book a space of their choosing. Here are some of the key features you need to look out for, and the criteria on which we will judge the best tools on the market:
- Self-service bookings: In order to streamline the process of booking a space, the system must allow any employee or building occupant to make reservations for themselves.
- Detailed floorplans: Floorplans help building occupants locate the workspace they want to reserve and are often interactive, showing how many people are in a given area.
- Health and safety: Not all booking systems have these, but showing things like temperature, air quality and light levels can help occupants choose the best space for their needs.
- Booking types: Having a range of booking types like meeting rooms, hot desks and breakout rooms will give employees more freedom when choosing their workspace.
- Usage data and occupancy insights: This is a crucial part of desk booking systems for the building manager or business, shedding light on a range of insightful metrics to help them make better decisions.
- Multi-platform accessibility: Building occupants must be able to access the booking system on a range of platforms or devices, like mobile phones, tablets and desktops.
Overview of the best desk booking software for businesses
Now you know why desk booking software is needed and the features to look out for, here are five of the very best tools for your business. To compile this curated list, we used GetApp’s star rating system and user reviews to pick the best on offer.
“Skedda is the world’s leading online booking and scheduling platform. This infinitely customizable platform allows organizations to automate complex and time-consuming booking tasks. Skedda removes the hassle of manually managing booking rules, policies, limitations and payments.
Whether you’re a business coordinating shared office space for thousands of workers or a local community facility, Skedda removes the logistical headache. Mobile-friendly and accessible from anywhere, Skedda is loved by thousands of organizations across the globe. Experience the award-winning Skedda difference today.”
Skedda’s Core Plan is free with up to 5 bookable spaces. The Pro Plan, also with 5 spaces, starts at $41.67 per month.
“Wisp combines floor plans and occupancy data to provide real estate and facilities teams with the tools and metrics they need to optimize the workplace. Top features include: Space Management, Desk Reservations, QR Code Check-Ins, Move Management, Wayfinding, and more.
It is a fast and accurate tool that helps optimize space and prepare businesses for unexpected and quick access to information about space as well as occupancy for real estate and facilities managers. Users gain access to Wisp’s advanced reporting features which gives full control in the hands of the client for critical decision-making instantly.”
Wisp’s pricing starts at $600 per month, but it does offer a free trial.
“With more than 100,000 new sign-ins every day, Envoy Visitors creates a warm welcome for guests while safeguarding people, property, and ideas. Envoy Protect confirms employees are healthy and helps to coordinate schedules before they come on-site. Envoy Desks gives employees the flexibility to reserve a desk for the days they are in the office to collaborate with teammates. Envoy Rooms provides a simple solution to book meeting rooms and free up unused space. Envoy Deliveries ensures packages reach their recipients without mailroom pile-ups.”
Envoy has a free option with limited functionality, with paid plans as little as $99 per month.
“Robin is a cloud-based office scheduling software designed to help users reserve meeting rooms, find desks and move around the office using tools such as a scheduling web dashboard, calendar integration, and browser and Outlook plugins, plus analytics, room displays, desk management, and more. Mobile apps give users the flexibility to manage their personal and work calendars on the go with smart notifications and location-based reminders.”
Pricing starts at $1,500 per year, but it does offer a free trial.
Beringar enables users to see desks that are currently available at a glance, integrating with workplace management systems to improve desk utilisation and provide more certainty for team members that prefer flexible working but want to know they have a desk available when needed.
Ensure your meeting rooms are used when booked and are the right size for typical meetings held there. Use the information collected to plan the reorganisation of your meeting rooms to increase available capacity from the same floor space.
A kiosk mode for the Beringar dashboard can be configured to show live desk and meeting room availability, utilisation and wellbeing metrics, as well as historic building performance. This helps staff and visitors navigate to an empty space, driving up flexible space utilisation.
The driving force behind Beringar is its powerful HX2 sensors, which collect a range of occupancy, wellness and ESG data to help building managers minimise costs, improve safety and comfort and reduce their carbon footprint.
Beringar’s pricing structure is flexible enough to meet the needs of all business types and sizes. For more information and a demo, contact Beringar.