Guide to Picking a Hot Desking Software

Picking the perfect hot desking or desk booking software comes down to your priorities. A viable solution should atleast offer a mobile app, interactive floorplans, desk rules & restrictions, and SSO.

More than half of large companies have reduced their office space in the last 2 years. They slashed their overheads as staff migrated to home offices.

But even as people return to the office two years later, firms may still be able to keep their smaller spaces. How? By using office seating software.

Flexible working software, also known as desk hoteling, desking booking or hot desking software, allows those who come into the office to work wherever they want. The key is that they don’t need a fixed desk.

With so many still working remotely, this reduces the office space a company needs.

But what exactly is hot desking software, and is it worth investing in for your company?

What Is Hot Desking Software?

Office seating or hot desking software is a computer application that lets employees book their desks in an office. Typically, this is done because staff are not assigned a desk 1:1, but rather pick an available desk upon arriving at the office, or prior to arriving.

Office seating or hot desking software is a computer application that lets employees book their desks in an office.

Hence, the office requires fewer desks in total to service its staff because not everyone will be in at the same time.

More advanced hot desking softwares go even further, addressing other office space needs and can be termed office space management software. These include booking meeting rooms, visitor management, or running health screeners.

Why Use Hot Desking Software?

Hot desking and desk hoteling have both been popular among companies for years - well before the pandemic forced more companies to consider the solution.

They were typically used by employees who regularly worked off-site. Think sales teams or on-the-road consultants. Giving them a fixed desk was a waste of space.

But with the majority of corporations embracing hybrid working, the purpose of office seating software is changing. The vast majority of workers who are able to work remotely are also able to work from any desk.

Instead of a handful of staff not needing fixed desks, almost no one does.

So instead of a handful of employees using office seating software, it will now need company-wide adoption to ensure everyone who wants to, or needs to, come to the office is able to find a space to work.

This system reduces overheads by slashing the square footage companies need, potentially saving millions every year in real-estate costs.

At the same time, it encourages remote workers back to the office.

Softwares in this category have certainly evolved during the pandemic, becoming increasingly sophisticated and feature-rich. Many of these features are absolutely essential to running a company with a hybrid workplace policy. Excel sheets will not cut it.

Below we walk you through important features to look out for when selecting a software. Depending on the nature of your company’s hybrid work policy, you may need all or only some of these.

Interactive Floorplans

Some software of times past would only give users the option to book a desk. That was it. Maybe if they were lucky, they could choose which desk.

Products have dramatically improved since then. Fully customizable floorplan features now show users exactly which desks are booked and which are available. More advanced software even shares who is sitting where.

This can help people decide not just where they want to work, but who they want to work with. It also lets you know who is in the office at any time.

Especially with safety still a concern, some appreciate the option to book a desk a bit away from crowded areas. Many will appreciate the choice a floorplan gives them, including:

  • Do I want to work by a window, or away from one?
  • How close do I want to be to the breakroom?
  • Do I want to work in a loud, lively area of the office, or a quieter corner?

Some software even provide a live floorplan view. It shows which desks are booked and available at any given moment. This level of transparency can ease the anxiety of returning to the office for many.

Collaboration Tools

With the availability of remote work and hybrid working, it can be difficult to bring people into the office. They know it’s optional, so why would they?

The best hot desking softwares find ways to motivate people to come back to the office. It encourages in-person collaboration and meet-ups for events.

The best hot desking softwares find ways to motivate people to come back to the office. It encourages in-person collaboration and meet-ups for events.

For example, Zynq’s Buddy Sync feature notifies users when a close colleague has booked time in the office, and can synchronize their office schedules.

Choosing where to sit can also lead to departments overlapping where they normally wouldn't. This organically creates conversations that can lead to effective cross-department collaboration.

Neighborhoods and Desk Restrictions

Desk hoteling software can be completely customizable. The level of choice and freedom staff have regarding when they come in and where they sit is up to you.

Some companies may allow workers to choose from any seat in the office with the vision of encouraging cross-departmental collaboration and fruitful intra-company connections. Others companies may prefer to suggest or enforce department neighborhoods.

Office seating software caters to all these models, depending on how you’d like your office to function.

Single Sign-in (SSO)

Accessibility and ease is key to a friction free hot desking software rollout. It also helps the whole office run more smoothly.

Good hot desking software removes the need to create additional accounts and simply allows users to sign in to the software using a platform they are familiar with: Microsoft, Azure and G-Suite.

Single sign-ins make a world of difference when it comes to user uptake.

Integrations and APIs

This integration extends to other areas. Existing virtual collaboration software such as Microsoft Teams and Slack can be combined with office seating software to allow for faster desk and room bookings, for example.

Even more complex HRIS softwares and RFID security systems can also be integrated for an even more seamless set up.

Hot desking softwares with API documentation can extend the versatility of the platform to virtually any use case specific to a company.

People appreciate the ability to choose who they work next to. They may want to book near a certain person for social reasons or to collaborate on a project.

As useful as a live floorplan may be, it can be difficult to find who you’re looking for in a large company.

A feature to be able to look up colleagues and their in-office schedules and seating can help you plan out yours. Good hot desking softwares make this easy and seamless.

Administrative Controls

In most companies, office administrators need to be able to see and control who is accessing the office and how. Should the need arise, bookings can be overridden by admins.

Hot desking software empowers office admins with back-end controls to create an ideal office layout on a daily, weekly or monthly basis to align with company policies or priorities.

Usage Insights and Analytics

Huge sums of data are collected by flexible working software. When desks are booked, when they are used, what meeting rooms are most popular, and even at what time of day. How can that be used?

The software can help you find under and overused resources and spaces in your office. Tracking exactly how many desks are used every day, and for how long, shows you how many you need.

The software can help you find under and overused resources and spaces in your office.

For example, certain areas of the office that were necessary three years ago might be less important now. Scores of cubicles may need to be replaced with open floorplan desk layouts that are becoming increasingly popular among hybrid companies. Such decisions can be data-driven when a company uses their hot desking software data.

Metrics can even help predict the future of your office space. With hybrid policies still new, it is important to start building a database as soon as possible.

This database can then inform future space planning and real estate decisions. The data shows you what resources are actually required for your office to run smoothly.

Your analytics may show that you can reduce your office space. With many working from home some of the time, your office may not need to be the size it is. This concrete information helps businesses save on costs in the long run, only investing in what they need.

Alternatively, you can keep the same space and keep growing while adjusting hot desking policies to always remain within the limits of your office space.

Lots of software offers a free demo that shows you exactly how these analytics work before you invest in the product.

Floorplan Customization

Floorplan customization allows management to easily turn on and off desk access. This can be used for a variety of purposes, but most prevalent at the moment is to enforce social distancing.

Some offices need to consider government-imposed social distancing in their offices. Desk booking software helps by allowing you to make certain desks unavailable.

The strictest companies could use this to block out every other desk. Others may prefer to block off desks next to crowded walkways for the time being.

Closing access to certain desks also has other uses. For example, blocking off desks near a client meeting for the afternoon could keep the area quiet.

However you use it, it’s an incredibly powerful tool.

Health Screeners

Many offices are running health checks, either when someone arrives at the office or beforehand.

This can be to comply with local government ordinances or simply to keep the office as hygienic as possible. Health screening questions can be integrated into hot desking software.

Before booking a desk remotely, the software can ask the user to fill out a survey about any symptoms they are experiencing. The software sends the results back to management. Then, the company decides who is allowed to work in the office.

Desk Types

Desk booking software gives staff a choice of desks. It also identifies which types of desks are most popular. This can help you decide which furniture solutions to invest in from now on.

But flexible seating provides even more choice than which desk type workers choose.

Rather than having a fixed desk, desk hoteling allows people to choose where they work in the office. This isn’t just limited to bookable desks. Some people may prefer to work in more open, agile  collaborative working spaces than at a desk.

Hybrid working options give them this freedom. And software that integrates office check-ins allows you to track office space usage even if someone doesn’t book a desk.

Desk Hoteling Mobile Apps

Office seating software can run on the internet or a company intranet. More advanced solutions offer apps to their clients.

These iOS and Android apps have become substantially more sophisticated overtime, allowing users to utilize every feature of a hot desking software right on their personal or work mobile device.

Apps are particularly more useful when the software is utilized by the entire company. Desks can be booked on the go and check-ins can occur seamlessly to get an end-to-end picture of desk utilization at a company.

Meeting Rooms

Just as people like to know they have a desk waiting for them the next day, people feel more comfortable if the guesswork is taken out of having an accessible meeting room when it’s needed.

Some office seating softwares have the option of integrating meeting room bookings. That way, those needing a meeting room can relax, knowing there is a space available somewhere in the office.

This also provides useful information about how staff use meeting rooms.

People prefer to meet in person than online. So despite relatively emptier offices, meeting room usage is almost at the same level as before the pandemic. Using this software can help companies determine whether they need to invest in more meeting space, or rooms of different sizes.


With many people attending their company offices for the first time because they were hired during the pandemic, wayfinding is more critical than ever.

Desk booking software helps users orient themselves on the office floorplan so they can quickly get familiarized with the layout of the office and find where they are sitting.

Plus, live floorplans can help staff and visitors alike navigate the office.

Visitors and External Users

Desk booking software often incorporate add-on features to bring in guests to your office that will be visiting as a one-off or for a prolonged period of time, without being direct employees of the company.

They check in to the office the same way as staff do, and can work wherever you allow, or simply drop-in for a meeting. The check-in process can be the same or different for these categories of external users.

Zynq Platform Does it All

Take control of your office reopening. Rather than muddling through manual hot desking policies and office check-ins, talk to us. Our all-in-one flexible working software is easy to use, easy to change, and includes all the aforementioned features.

Sign up for a demo of Zynq’s office seating software today. Whether you need hot desking software, desk hoteling, or full office management, we've got you covered. See how much it reassures employees about their return to the office, while keeping you informed.

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