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Booking pooled resources in the workspace

Resource Booking

Using the concept of pooled resources to book parking, laptops, fitness sessions & more.

Perfect for touch down workspaces, car-parking bays, equipment (e.g., laptops, scanners), and even office fitness classes, pooled resources offer an easy way to share out a limited number of resources.

What is a pooled resource?

In the context of booking desks, workspaces, and other shared company resources, a ‘pooled resource’ is a resource that has an overall capacity associated with it.

A great example is a car park that has 48 spaces available, or indeed a number of pool cars or laptops that are available to borrow whilst in the office.

How do pooled resources work?

Instead of a user requesting to book a specific desk, car parking bay, pool car or laptop, the user simply books 1 resource out of pool available.

‘Behind the scenes’ the available capacity associated with the pooled resource will be decremented by 1. 

Individuals can keep booking the pooled resource up until the capacity reaches 0.

Another thing to note is that the pooled resource might be available over a given time-frame, such as a whole working day, half day, or in hourly increments.

There might also be restrictions and policies associated with booking a pooled resource, such as ‘only allow bookings up to half a day’ and ‘only during office working hours’.

What are the benefits of pooled resources?

Many workspace booking systems work on the basis of end users selecting a specific desk in advance, for example, from a floor plan.

This approach works well for many enterprises, especially where individuals need to book a desk in a particular department or zone, or specifically want to book near a colleague that is already booked to be in the office on the same day.

If you have a large car park or a dedicated hot desking or ‘touch down’ zone, each with a known capacity, it may be easier for users to book on a first come, first-served basis, and not worry about exactly what number desk they’ll be sitting at.

They just need to know that a desk or parking space will be available when they arrive.

The same applies to a car charging slot, a space in a fitness class, or even booking access to an available ‘floating’ software licence.

Car parking spaces are a great pooled resource ‘use case’

Booking office car parking bays is a prime example of how using pooled resources can be a game-changer.

If you try to get individuals to pre-book a specific parking bay, all it takes is one person parking in the wrong bay (say, 6 instead of 9), and it can disrupt the entire system.

Simply booking an available space more convenient, and leads to a lot less angst.

NB This does not stop you from having individually bookable bays for EV charging and accessibility needs.

How can I implement pooled resources for our company?

Microsoft has recently implemented a resource mailbox type that supports the concept of a pooled resource. Called a workspace mailbox, it’s possible for you to associate a maximum number/capacity with the mailbox, and allow bookings until that capacity is reached.

You can read more about the workspace resource mailbox and how to configure it in our free eBook.

There are also third-party workspace booking solutions that support the pooled resource concept and typically provide enhanced, ‘wrap around’ features such as:

  • Making it easy for FM staff to manage available capacities
  • Updating facilities and security staff about what has been booked
  • A graphical UX for finding and booking pooled resources
  • Allowing users to send feedback about faults with pool cars, pool laptops, etc.
  • Reporting on booking trends.

Find out how our workspace booking systems can build on your Microsoft 365 investment.