A Guide to Shared Office Space

Author: Tyler Cox


It’s difficult to predict how and when companies will bring employees back to the office in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. Whatever will be considered normal when that happens is likely to be much different than before 2020. A survey of CNBC’s Workforce Executive Council members found that many companies are basing the return to the office on new hybrid workplace models, where employees spend part of their time working remotely.


Such a move addresses several issues. Many employees have become comfortable working from home, while companies have become increasingly concerned that those employees were becoming too disconnected from the overall mission. A hybrid model serves as a middle ground between those issues.


Many companies also let unused office space go during the height of the pandemic as a way to cut costs and may be unwilling to backtrack on those efforts. With only a portion of the workforce in the office at any one time, they simply don’t need the extra space.


Still, those companies need a way to share office space between workers to ensure employees have the necessary tools. Allocating office space effectively and efficiently can be a challenge.


Choosing the Right Solution

Hot desking and desk hoteling are two approaches to managing shared office space. And while the concepts are similar, there are some critical distinctions between the two.


Hot Desking 

So what is hot desking? Simply put, it’s the free-for-all of shared office space. It begins with either an open space or a cubicle farm, with space allocated on a first-come, first-serve basis. Employees simply arrive at the office, grab the first available space they see and get to work. Areas may turn over once a day or several times a day. Workers might also claim a space for several days at a time.


For lengthier stays, a hoteling solution might be more appropriate. As with a traditional hotel, workers reserve a specific space via a website or smartphone app.


Hoteling vs. Hot Desking 

When it comes to choosing hoteling vs. hot-desking, or even a combination of the two, which is better? The answer, of course, is that it all depends. If employees can do most of what they need to accomplish during the day from their laptop and aren’t in the office on a regular schedule, a hot desk approach might be the best.


On the other hand, if employees spend days or weeks in the office working on a specific project or need particular types of spaces, a hoteling approach might be preferable. If, for example, a small group is working on a project and needs a huddle room outfitted with specific technologies, the ability to be able to reserve that space in advance is advantageous.


Consider a Technology Upgrade

No matter what route a company chooses in preparing for a return to the office, that preparation should also involve looking at the technology they currently possess and considering an upgrade if it’s not up to the task.

Employees working in an open space will likely have to deal with high levels of background noise. That can be a particular challenge if they spend much of their day on the phone. In addition to the background chatter from other workers, there’s likely to be noise from air conditioners and other equipment. Those spaces will likely also be separated with plexiglass dividers to ensure social distancing so that echo levels will be high. For those workers, a conference phone with noise-canceling technology might be what’s needed.


And if the space includes huddle rooms or similar dedicated areas, devices such as Yamaha Unified Communication’s YVC-330 portable USB & Bluetooth conference phone would be a welcome addition. The YVC-330’s SoundCap technology eliminates background noise to allow participants to focus on the conversation on the other end of the call. For spaces that will be used for cross-country or cross-world meetings that include video, one of Yamaha UC’s video sound bars might be just the ticket. With the addition of a video sound bar, users can transform any screen or projector into a full-fledged video conferencing system.


And for larger conference rooms, Yamaha offers a line of microphone systems that can help ensure every participant in a meeting can be heard clearly.


To learn more, check out this article on Forming a New Workplace. Want to know more about how Yamaha UC can make a return to the office a breeze, no matter what that office looks like today? Drop us a line and let our experts help!