Agilquest Blog

Dedicated Seats: Adding Tradition to Your Hybrid Workplace

It seems all anyone ever wants to talk about is hybrid this, flexible that. But what about the other side? The traditional, 9-5 in-office job. There are still many employees who work best in the office with set hours. And many jobs that must be done this way.

62% of employees say their jobs can’t be done from home and 20% say they never want to work from home again post-COVID.

It’s important to include this group in your post-COVID planning.

Let’s start with understanding the employee type that this most affects.

Dedicated Seats for the Workplace Warriors

The Workplace Warrior excels in the office. They love the socialization of it, the accessibility of collaboration space, equipment, and heads-down space when necessary. They prefer to make every day an in-office day and may value having a variety of office workspaces like huddle rooms, closed-door offices, break-out areas, etc., but still often need the consistency of their own space to return to each day.

6% of Workplace Warriors would prefer to work fully at the office, 10% of warriors may need a day for remote work but prefer to be mostly in the office (3+ days)

Like all employees, they benefit from easily accessible collaboration spaces but may want or need to have their own, assigned workspace that they know is available to them any and every day they need it. This is an important tidbit to remember when creating your hybrid workplace.

So, if your workforce includes Workplace Warriors and Hybrid Employees, you need to mix traditional assigned seating with unassigned/free address seating.

Assigned vs. Unassigned Seating

Assigned/Dedicated Seating – Traditional assigned seating means each employee has their own assigned workspace, usually as a 1 to 1 worker to desk ratio. Although, it could also include assigned seating in shifts/staggered schedules.

Unassigned/Free Address Seating – This means a portion or all of your workspaces are open for employees to sit wherever they want, with or without a reservation.

chart showing the difference between assigned/dedicated seating and unassigned/free address seating

Before you can dive into the many workplace strategies available for your post-COVID workplace, it’s important to understand these base terms.

And it doesn’t have to be one way or the other. They can live simultaneously.

Your workplace can be 100% traditional with all assigned seating or 100% flexible with all unassigned/free address seating, or it can be a happy mix. By creating this mix, your workplace will be better set up to encompass all employee types.

How Dedicated Seats & the Hybrid Workplace Can Work Together

Now that your Workplace Warriors have their dedicated seats, how do you manage your workplace to ensure employees have what they need, are working productively, and feel safe and confident in the office?

It’s time to create a hybrid workplace for the post-COVID world.

A hybrid workplace is a flexible workplace practice that empowers employees to work where and when they want, usually by balancing their time between office work and remote work.

The hybrid workplace is flexible and embraces all employee types and needs. Some additional benefits of the hybrid workplace include,

  • Promoting employee satisfaction and well-being,
  • Increasing productivity and employee retention,
  • And saving organizations millions in real estate costs.

So how do you create an enhanced workplace experience while including the older practice of traditional assigned seating?

First, you need to understand your workforce, what jobs and people would benefit from flex work and who wants/needs the traditional, assigned seating. If you don’t already have the answers to these questions, then go directly to the source. Ask your employees how they work best; what type of working arrangement benefits them the most, then go from there.

With those answers, you’ll know what percentage of your workplace you’ll need for assigned seating vs what percentage you need as flex space.

Your next step is finding a way to manage this space and your employees. The best way to do that is by implementing a workplace management software.

[Learn more about Forum, AgilQuest’s Workplace Management Software, here.]

Managing Flex & Dedicated Seats with a Workplace Management Software

Why a workplace management software? Not only does it ensure employees have the space they need when they need it, but it also helps keep up with the changing COVID standards and safety measures that need to be in place.

How does it work for assigned and unassigned seating?

Dedicated Seats

For the assigned seating portion of your workplace, you’ll use your WMS system to set up an employee with their own dedicated seat. When they access the platform, they will only be able to see and book that space.

The employee will still need to book their space when they are in the office so that coworkers know if they are in the office that day, to support capacity regulations, and for measuring accurate utilization data. You may even want to set up reverse hoteling, which allows the dedicated seat to be used by others when the employee is not in the office that day.

Flex Seats

For the unassigned/free address seating portion of your workplace, you’ll have the available workspaces and rooms on your WMS platform for your hybrid employees to reserve when they are in the office.

Benefits of a Workplace Management Software

With your workplace resources managed all on one platform, your job gets easier. It helps with following capacity guidelines, encourages collaboration, and answers space utilization questions you may have.

Capacity

With safety guidelines constantly being added and changed, it’s important to be able to control workplace capacity. When you have 50% of your workplace as dedicated seating, you assume your office is always at 50% so there is less room for hybrid workers to schedule time in the office.

But that shouldn’t be the case. When you manage all your workspaces, including dedicated seats, in your workplace management platform, you have all your employees scheduling their time in the office.

So, when Traditional Andy at Desk 101 is out for the day or leaves early for a dentist appointment, his desk is empty once he’s checked-out and he no longer contributes to the capacity.

Plus, you can add a capacity limit to your WMS system so that employees, both dedicated and flex, can reserve available spaces up until a certain percentage.

Collaboration

Whether an employee is hybrid or has an assigned seat, they should be able to find each other easily. When you manage both unassigned seats for flex workers and assigned seats on your workplace management software, employees can easily see where and when their coworkers are working.

Utilization

With 100% of your workplace resources in one platform, you get the data you really need.

You can understand,

  • how your space is being utilized and what you need to do to better optimize the space
  • and how your hybrid employees and your workplace warriors are working, making sure the flexible workplace practice they are following works for them.

There’s no way to be sure how your space is working and if it’s helping or hindering employee productivity until you have the utilization data to support it.

Next Steps

You are one step closer to having the most efficient, successful post-COVID workplace. Your workplace will benefit every worker bee type and include space for both dedicated and flex seating. You go, Glenn Coco!

What’s next? Putting it into action. If you need more information on the hybrid workplace and how to create, support, and manage it, download this guide. Then, contact us for more information about Forum, AgilQuest’s Workplace Management Software.

If you’re in charge of the safe return, check out our back to the workplace page and download our guide to the post-COVID, hybrid workplace.

 

 

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