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Hot Desking

Office Hoteling Pros and Cons

Deciding whether or not to office hotel? Here's a look at the pros and cons of this growing trend.
Reem Abouemera
Copy Writer / Content writer

The world as we know it is constantly changing and evolving, especially when it comes to the hybrid workplace. In recent years, there has been a growing trend of employers adopting the "office hoteling" model in an effort to save money and increase efficiency.

But what exactly is office hoteling? And more importantly, should your business consider making the switch? In this guide, we dive into the pros and cons of office hoteling to help you make a call.

What is Desk Hoteling?

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Office hoteling, also referred to as desk hoteling, is a workplace strategy that allows employees to reserve a workspace on an as-needed basis. Gone are the days when employees were assigned to a specific desk or office that they use day in and day out.

With office hoteling, employees can choose from various workstations depending on their needs for the day. For instance, if an employee needs to make many phone calls, they can reserve a workspace with good acoustics. Or, if they need to collaborate with a team, they can book a conference room.

How Office Hoteling is Different from Hot Desking

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You may hear the term "hot desking" used interchangeably with office hoteling, but there is a small distinction between the two.

With hot desking, employees don't have assigned desks or offices, so they have to find an available workspace daily. This is usually on a first-come, first-serve basis. In other words, it's a reserve-free system.

With office/desk hoteling, on the other hand, employees can book a workspace in advance. This helps eliminate the hassle and wasted time associated with finding a place to sit each day. It relies on some type of space-management software that allows employees to see what workstations are available and when.

The Concept of Reverse Hoteling

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In some cases, businesses may implement a variation of office hoteling known as "reverse hoteling." With this approach, each employee is assigned their own permanent desk, but when they aren't in the office, their desk is made available to other employees.

Reverse hoteling can be a good middle-ground for businesses that are hesitant to fully commit to the office hoteling model. It still allows for some flexibility and cost savings, but it gives employees the option of having their own dedicated workspace if they so choose.

The 5 Benefits of Office Hoteling

When done correctly, office hoteling can offer a number of benefits for businesses, including:

1. Cost Savings

The most obvious benefit of office hoteling is that it can help businesses save money. Rather than assigning each employee their own dedicated workspace, businesses only have to provide enough workstations for the maximum number of employees that will be in the office at any given time.

This can lead to significant savings on office rent, furniture, and utilities.

2. Flexibility for Employees

Office hoteling can also make it easier for employees to do their jobs. Rather than being tied to one desk, they can choose a workstation best suited for the task at hand.

If you have an employee who prefers to stand while they work, for instance, they can book a workspace that has a standing desk. Or, if an employee performs best when they're alone, they can book a private office for the day.

3. Increased Efficiency

Another benefit of office hoteling is that it can help to increase workplace efficiency. When employees can book a workspace that meets their needs, they're more likely to be productive and get their work done.

This is especially true for employees who need to collaborate with others, as they can book a conference room or other type of shared workspace where they can be close to the other members of their team. 

Before hoteling, these employees may have wasted time walking to and from different parts of the office to find a suitable place to work.

4. Visitor Management

In many cases, businesses that implement office hoteling also find it easier to manage visitors. Rather than trying to find a place for visitors to sit, businesses can simply book a workspace for them in advance.

This helps ensure that visitors, like consultants, clients, and others, have a comfortable place to work when it's time for their meeting. You won't have to worry about things like where they'll sit or whether or not they'll have a place to plug in their laptop because you'll simply book the right workspace for them in advance.

5. More Resources for Employees

When businesses implement office hoteling, they often find that they have more resources to offer their employees. Rather than dedicating certain office areas to specific types of work, businesses can make all available resources accessible to all employees.

This means that if an employee needs to print something out, they can use the printer closest to their workstation rather than walking to the other side of the office. Similarly, if they need to use a whiteboard or projector, they can book a workspace with those resources instead of tracking them down. 

The result? Increased workplace efficiency and productivity.

The 5 Disadvantages of Office Hoteling

While the benefits of office hoteling are significant, there are also some potential disadvantages that businesses should be aware of, including:

1. Lack of Personalization

For many employees, the feeling of having their own dedicated workspace is important. When they don't have a designated desk, they may feel like they're not part of the company since they're changing workspaces daily.

Remember that they also have to pack up and move their things each day, which can be a hassle. As a result, if your employees aren't comfortable with the idea of hoteling, getting them on board may be challenging.

2. Sanitation Concerns

Another potential disadvantage of office hoteling is that it can be difficult to keep the shared workspaces clean.

If employees are constantly using and moving around different workspaces, there may not be enough time for the cleaning crew to clean each one thoroughly. This can lead to a build-up of dirt and germs, which can be a health hazard. 

As a result, it's important to have a plan in place for how you'll keep the shared workspaces clean, such as having employees wipe down their own workstation after each use, leaving slots out of the booking system for cleaning times, or increasing the frequency of office cleanings.

3. Emergencies Aren't Always Easy to Handle

With desk hoteling, emergencies aren't always easy to handle. If an employee needs a last-minute workspace, they may not be able to find one available since they couldn't book it in advance.

And if they do find an available workspace, it may not have the resources they need, such as a printer or projector. This can sometimes lead to real emergencies, such as missed deadlines or presentations.

Accordingly, it's important to have a plan in place for how you'll handle these types of situations.

4. Support Staff Can Face Challenges

While office hoteling can greatly increase workplace efficiency, it can also pose challenges for support staff, such as IT professionals and administrative assistants.

For one, your employees will likely be spread out throughout the office, making it difficult for them to provide support. Additionally, they may not have access to the same resources they're used to, such as a specific printer or phone. 

As a result, it's important to consider how you'll manage support staff before implementing office hoteling. In most cases, they require less variation in resources, so they may be better off with a more traditional desk setup.

5. Confusion May Occur

Finally, it's important to note that office hoteling can sometimes lead to confusion, especially in larger offices.

With so many employees moving around and using different workspaces, things can easily get lost or misplaced. As a result, it's important to have a system for managing shared resources, such as printers, scanners, and projectors.

You should also consider labeling the different workspaces so that employees know where they should go to find specific resources.

The Takeaway

Unless you follow office hoteling best practices, it can be a challenge to implement and manage. In most cases, the ideal solution is a combination of hot desking, desk hoteling, and even dedicated/assigned desks for employees that regularly need to be in the office.

This way, employees have the flexibility to choose the workspace that best suits their needs at any given time while still having access to the resources they need to be productive.

At Tribeloo, our desk-booking solution is designed to help you manage desk hoteling in your office. We make it easy for employees to find and book available desks without worrying about where they'll sit each day.

To learn more about how we can help you implement office hoteling in your workplace, request a demo today.


Reem Abouemera

As a content writer who has tried it all when it comes to working models– from the traditional 9-5 in an office to fully working remotely and everything in between. Reem now puts her experience with the various working style into words at Tribeloo, ultimately helping others make more informed decisions about their own work lives.

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