It’s pretty clear that in our post-pandemic world, the way we work has changed forever and the office has to adapt. It needs to become more agile, dynamic, and flexible in order to make collaboration easy and accommodate different needs.

That’s where desk hoteling comes in. In fact, it might be the key to building a successful hybrid workplace. Furthermore, it is a great option for companies with more employees than desks.

A good place to start the transition to hybrid work is implementing some form of desk sharing — hot desking (reservation-less seating) or hoteling (reserving a desk in advance). Hoteling is typically a better alternative for employees. In this article, we’ll explore exactly what hoteling entails and why it’s the foundation of modern workspaces.

Before we begin, note that the terms “hoteling”, “desk hoteling”, and “office hoteling” are synonyms and are used interchangeably throughout the article.

What is Desk Hoteling?

With hoteling, employees reserve a desk (typically via desk hoteling software) for temporary use during the days they expect to work in the office, instead of having permanently assigned desks or cubicles.

The benefits of desk hoteling over a more traditional, one-desk-per-employee scenario include saving costs on commercial real estate, as well as creating opportunities for staff to mingle and collaborate more.

Desk hoteling allows employees to reserve the desk they want to use for the day in advance. That’s very important, as it gives your employees the true flexibility they need without the stress of not knowing where they will sit on that day (which is a problem with hot desking). Furthermore, it allows team members to build their schedules together in advance by booking the desks in the neighborhoods they want as well as tracking desk availability in real-time.

Why Should You Consider Desk Hoteling?

A flexible work policy integrated with a proper desk hoteling booking system can significantly increase the ratio of employees to desks. This can reduce your real estate footprint while promoting a more collaborative working environment.

More specifically, here are the benefits of office hoteling:

1. Improved space utilization

Desk hoteling allows companies to allocate office space efficiently. This translates into improved occupancy, a greater variety of spaces dedicated to different purposes (e.g., office neighborhoods), as well as reduced desk vacancy.

2. Reduced costs

Similar to hot desking, desk hoteling leads to improved space utilization, which reduces real estate costs (usually one of the biggest overhead costs).

3. Greater control and no uncertainty for employees

This is the biggest advantage the hoteling model has over the other flexible desk arrangement — hot desking. Having access to desk booking software and being able to reserve spaces in advance gives employees control over where to position themselves according to their needs and preferences. This is particularly valid if you have designated spaces for different purposes. For example, people can opt to work in a silent area or book several adjacent desks when more collaboration and teamwork are required. Put simply, hoteling provides a much better employee experience in a flexible work environment.

Check out how our free desk reservation software can help you achieve that.

4. Increased employee satisfaction and collaboration

Unlike hot desking which may feel chaotic or even somewhat alienating (even in an open office), desk hoteling can enhance the experience of community and connection at work – two factors that improve employee satisfaction. This is largely due to the balance offered by working under a hybrid model while at the same time being able to control when and how to use the office.

5. Improved cleanliness and organization

Desk hoteling may be more conducive to maintaining cleanliness at the office than hot desking. This is simply due to the increased accountability that comes with booking a desk and being responsible for it for a certain amount of time. Plus, you can enforce office management rules related to capacity and social distancing by making some areas of unavailable for reservation.

How to Get Started with Hoteling

officernd hybrid productYour very first step in implementing desk hoteling should be a small research project. Start by collecting as much data as you possibly can on how your employees work. Then gradually build a plan for the number of desks, teams involved, layout, conference rooms, meeting rooms, and office neighborhoods.

Don’t try to solve all problems at the start. With desk hoteling, your office will become truly agile and so, you may optimize it based on usage data in the future. Over time, your office will evolve and reach a state your employees will love.

When you’re ready to start with desk hoteling, the next challenge is choosing the right technology, i.e. a good reservation system.

Requirements for a Good Desk Hoteling System

Some of the most important elements of desk hoteling reservation software are:

  • Easy to use, visual bookings on an interactive floorplan, available on desktop, or through mobile apps.
  • Delegated desk bookings – such functionality enables your team leaders and managers to place bookings for their teams
  • Recurring desk bookings – one of the most important features that will make the lives of your employees a lot easier. With recurring bookings, they can build work patterns, like coming to the office every Tuesday and Thursday.
  • Private desk bookings – when you need to book a desk or a space with limited visibility.
  • Desk booking policies – in some cases, you may want to allow employees access to book desks in only certain areas, locations, zones, or neighborhoods.
  • Easy to use check-in system – you should also measure the true occupancy by requiring employees to check in or fully automating them through integrations.
  • Desk hoteling analytics – last but not least, you should collect, measure and analyze all data about your desk utilization so that you can adjust your space to the needs of your employees.

When you’re done with setting up your desk reservation system, your employees can easily book desks based on the rules you’ve established. There’s no uncertainty in terms of desk or space availability.

In short, a good desk hoteling system makes reserving workspaces simple for employees and office space management easy for you.

If you want to see this process in action and implement hybrid work in your organization, signup for a free OfficeRnD Hybrid demo and consultation here!

Miro Miroslavov
CEO and Co-founder of OfficeRnD
Miro Miroslavov is a software engineer turned into a tech entrepreneur. In 2015 he co-founded OfficeRnD - a leading flex space and hybrid work management platform. As a CEO at OfficeRnD, he grew the company from inception to a leading software vendor that serves thousands of customers worldwide. He is a big fan of flexible working and is on a mission to "Making Flexible Working the Way of Working".