Introducing an office hoteling policy into your workplace is a wise decision, especially if you’re looking for a way to reduce company costs.  

The only issue is knowing how to get started. 

This article will provide a comprehensive guide of everything you need to know in 2023, including a list of essential factors your office hoteling policy should contain and how to choose the right software to help reduce time and confusion.

Quick Summary:

Office hoteling is a flexible work style that allows employees to reserve available desks or specific office spaces. Companies considering using office hoteling will need to put the right policies in place that every employee must follow in order for such an arrangement to succeed. This includes hygiene protocols, proper labeling systems, a booking procedure, and an eligibility checklist to find out which types of workers an office hoteling policy will extend to. Successful office hoteling leads to increased productivity and reduced costs, among other benefits.

Let’s dive in. 

What Does “Hoteling” Mean in an Office Setting?

Office hoteling is an alternative work arrangement that allows employees to reserve a desk or office space based on availability. 

Similarly to a traditional hotel, workers are expected to book a desk in advance, usually through a software program (there are even free desk booking tools).

As employees continue to request work options outside of the nine-to-five model, the pressure for companies to adopt alternative work strategies is quickly increasing.   

One study found that in 2022, 57% of employers offered the option of flexible work hours, and 74% had adopted a hybrid work model. 

As a result of this trend, office vacancies are set to rise by 55% in 2023.

changes in office spaces

Adding an office hoteling policy to your workplace solves this problem, which is why 31% of companies are considering the switch. 

As a related resource, check out our article on this effective hot desking policy template.

What Types of Businesses Need an Office Hoteling Policy?

Globally, 68% of workers are seeking the flexibility of hybrid work at their workplace. 

This means that most companies should at least consider transitioning. However, the need is more pressing for some businesses than others, including the following. 

  • Businesses that use a hybrid work system or have many remote workers. 
  • Businesses that have recently downsized or are planning to do so soon. 
  • Start-ups that are still establishing themselves.

What Should an Office Hoteling Policy Template Include?

Before introducing an office hoteling policy in your workplace, it’s essential to create ground rules that all employees must follow.

what should an office hoteling policy include

#1 Hygiene Policy

In January 2022, 7.8 million workers took time off due to illness. Viruses like the flu can stay infectious on hard surfaces for up to 48 hours, meaning that if workers come into the office sick and use different desks daily, the virus could quickly spread.  

Enforcing a hygiene policy is a great way to keep shared workspaces as clean as possible. 

Here are some procedures you could include in a hygiene policy: 

  • Disinfect regularly touched items, such as computer mice, keyboards, and screens, after each use. 
  • When they’re ill, employees must report their symptoms and refrain from entering the office space
  • Hand sanitizer should be provided at each workstation. 
  • All workers should wash their hands regularly and avoid touching their faces. 

#2 Labeling System

Having a labeling system ensures organization and clear communication among employees. For instance, you could use the following:

  • Color-coding: For example, you could use green labels to indicate collaborative spaces. 
  • Employee names: You could place name labels outside a workspace to let the other employees know that the space is occupied — and by whom. 
  • QR codes: These can indicate what type of space the room is, when it’ll be available, and how many people are allowed to use it at one time. 

labeling system for employees

#3 Booking Procedure

A booking procedure allows employees to search and reserve a workspace in advance for a specific period. It also helps ensure no double bookings are made and spaces don’t become overcrowded.

Effective booking systems include the following features: 

  • Reservations: Employees use office hoteling software to book a desk for the day. Usually, a calendar and floor plan view display the locations and availability of desks.
  • Confirmation: An employee receives an automated email confirmation that includes the booking’s date, time, and duration — as well as an access code if required. 
  • Checking in: Each person must check in upon arriving at their desk. You may have employees check in at reception, scan a QR code, or enter their access code. 
  • Checking out: This can be done easily with hybrid work software that has a desk booking system, such as OfficeRnd Hybrid. 

Don’t make your booking procedure overly complicated. Everyone must understand and be able to access the system at all times for office hoteling to work. 

#4 Eligibility Checklist

An eligibility checklist identifies which people an office hoteling policy applies to. 

This is especially useful when introducing the policy, as it promotes awareness and increases fairness in booking practices. It also helps identify requirements from workers, such as completing training. 

Some factors to consider include the following: 

  • Will the policy extend to part-time workers?
  • Can all jobs within your company be completed under this flexible work model? 
  • Will employee performance impact ongoing involvement? 

4 Benefits of Office Hoteling

Office hoteling can improve how employees work individually and as a team. Here are four examples of how it can benefit your company:

benefits of office hoteling

  • Increases productivity: Labor productivity decreased by 1.5% from 2021 to 2022. Office hoteling can help increase productivity by encouraging collaboration and networking among employees. 
  • Cost efficiency: Office hoteling is cost-efficient, as it radically reduces office space — meaning real estate and energy costs are lower. For example, in 2021, Yelp cut back on its office space and subleased office space in two states. This change could save them $10–12 million in 2024. 
  • Accommodates remote workers: Only 6% of employees work from home 100% of the time. Office hoteling gives remote workers more flexibility when visiting the office. For example, it allows remote workers to book a desk to use tools that they otherwise might not have access to, such as scanners. 
  • Allows for flexibility: In 2021, only 68% of employees completed all of their work in the office. A hoteling system allows employees to control their schedules, workstations, and environments to meet their personal needs and work styles. 

For more insights about office hoteling, check out our article on the difference between hot desking vs. hoteling vs desk sharing.

How to Effectively Apply an Office Hoteling Policy

The following four steps will show you how to create a functional, practical, and intuitive hoteling policy.  

what does an office hoteling policy include

#1 Provide the Right Tools

Each employee must have access to the tools they need to do their job. 

This includes both software and hardware, such as 

  • A computer and monitors 
  • Printers 
  • Communication software, like Slack 
  • Microsoft Office 
  • Chrome
  • hoteling software (more on that in a minute)

#2 Create a Variety of Workspaces

In the US, only 38% of employees are engaged at work. 

The idea behind office hoteling is to create diversity, so don’t fall into the trap of making all workspaces identical.

  • Assess employee needs and preferences to determine what types of workspaces are needed. For example, collaboration spaces are typically more valuable in advertising agencies than conference rooms. 
  • In each space, use versatile furniture that can be reconfigured as needed. 
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment with different lighting and acoustics. 

hybrid workplace conference room

#3 Start Small

Before applying a hoteling policy to the whole office, it’s a good idea to “patch test” with a small group. This will help you clarify any issues and determine whether hoteling would be a complement to your work culture. 

Some things to look out for in the testing stage include the following: 

  • Drops in productivity levels. 
  • Technology or access issues. 
  • Reoccurring distractions. 
  • Employees’ emotional responses. 

Check out our valuable resource on the most important hybrid work KPIs for more info.

#4 Consider Storage Solutions

Storing personal items can be frustrating when employees don’t have a designated desk. 

That’s why having various storage stations throughout the workplace where personal items can be locked away is vital.  

Some examples include lockers, storage cabinets, rolling carts, and personal storage bins. You’ll need to ensure these are available if you’re setting up office hoteling.

How to Choose the Right Desk Booking Software

Choosing the right desk booking software can determine whether an office hoteling policy will be successful.

A multi-functional software can increase efficiency when booking desks, reduce the administrative burden, and ensure employees can voice concerns.

OfficeRnD information and interface box

Unreliable software with limited functionality, poor user experience, or slow response times, on the other hand, is likely to irritate employees.

Some aspects to look for in desk booking software include mobile accessibility, interactive floor plans, a simple interface, and in-app communication ability.

OfficeRnD Hybrid is a reliable hybrid workplace software dedicated to upgrading facility management in your business.

Helping thousands of businesses to manage the hybrid work model effectively, OfficeRnD Hybrid anticipates the needs of hybrid employees and employers to an impressive degree.

It provides a straightforward user interface, a presence tracking system, advanced workplace analytics, and everything you need to manage a hybrid workplace successfully.  

The following are some notable inclusions of OfficeRnD Hybrid: 

  • Intuitive desk and meeting room booking system on a beautiful and interactive floor plan
  • Option to sync calendars 
  • Can book from anywhere 
  • Interrelated SSO and seamless integration with Microsoft and Google tech stack.
  • QR code presence tracking system

Click here to book a live demo and see what OfficeRnD Hybrid has to offer.

Now It’s Time to Create Your Own Office Hoteling Policy

Introducing an office hoteling policy doesn’t have to be complicated. 

Once you’ve decided that hoteling is the right move for your business, the next step is to create an office hoteling policy template and follow our tips on how to apply it. 

The most important point to remember is that hoteling management software can streamline every step of the office hoteling process. 

Get started for free today with OfficeRnD Hybrid and take your workplace to another level.


What Is the Difference Between Office Hoteling and Hot Desking?

“Office hoteling” and “hot desking” are often used interchangeably; however, there’s one significant difference: reservation.

Venn-diagram comparing desking arrangement systems

While hoteling is based on reserving a workspace, hot desking is a system where all desks remain unassigned. Instead, employees are free to choose where they sit on a first-come-best-served basis. 

However, hot desking has been criticized for its lack of organization and tendency to disrupt workers. And that usually happens because there’s a lack of infrastructure or technology to help organize the booking and management of open desks.

Office hoteling is recognized as an improved version of hot desking, as it promotes collaboration but reduces anxiety over finding a desk. Both options can be enhanced using hybrid workplace management software.

Read more about hot desking in our official hot desking guide. Also, check out this guide on sharing a desk.

How Do You Manage Office Hoteling?

Managing office hoteling in the workplace can be difficult if you don’t have strict guidelines or a plan of attack for when things go wrong. 

Here are some management tips:  

  • Invest in office hoteling software.
  • Establish clear policies and procedures. 
  • Ensure that employees are updated with changes made to seating arrangements, scheduling, or the reservation system.  
  • Provide training on reserving and canceling bookings, cleaning shared spaces, and connecting to computer systems. 
  • Ask for honest feedback about employees’ experience.

How Does Office Hoteling Benefit the Workplace?

Firstly, office hoteling helps to eliminate unnecessary workspaces, thus improving space utilization and reducing overhead costs. 

It also provides real-time insights into desk utilization, which can help optimize real estate strategy. 

Secondly, it encourages in-person collaboration and teamwork by allowing employees to choose where they want to sit, resulting in improved productivity and collaboration. 

Thirdly, it provides fair access to resources, thus improving the employee experience. 

Lastly, office hoteling supports an agile workforce, providing flexibility for employees to reserve workspace and resources in advance.

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".