May 20, 2021

A beginners Guide to Office Hoteling

Picture of an open and modern office space environment with available desks.

Are you currently looking at re-opening your office, and simultaneously seeking to reduce office space? Then office hoteling might just be the solution for you. Activity-based working environments are seen as the future model to adapt to flexible and remote working and with that comes an increase in office layout demands. Office hoteling is the solution that bridges the gap between office space reduction and employee satisfaction.

The benefits of office hoteling are vast and varied. From freeing up desk space and creating a more collaborative environment, to reducing costs and improving communication. A reduction in office space is often a key motivator for businesses when looking into office hoteling as it offers an opportunity to downsize without compromising on employee satisfaction or productivity.

What is Office Hoteling?

Office Hoteling refers to desks or conference rooms in an office space that is shared between employees. Desks are not assigned to a specific user, which means you don't have a permanent desk but can be booked in advance via a booking system. Just like booking a hotel room, you book a desk at your office to use it. Office Hoteling is often compared to Hot desking or Fixed seating which are the other two main desk types adapted by companies. You can read more about Desk Management Terminology here.

Just like the name suggests, office hoteling shares a lot of similarities with staying at an actual hotel more than a traditional office. Rooms are most commonly booked in advance over the internet by filtering on requested characteristics, for example, location, price, size, or resources available. When the date for travel arrives, you check-in via the reception, and the room is then enjoyed until the booking time is up and the next guest arrives.

Office Hoteling follows the same logic. In contrast to fixed seating, “Hotel desks” are shared between different people and are bookable just as in the hotel room. By using a booking app for Office Hoteling, employees can filter for their requested characteristics and book desks in advance, and then utilize the desk during their booked time. 

What does hoteling mean in the workplace?

Office hoteling means that employees are no longer assigned seating in an office which means that members can reserve office space based on their daily duties.

What are the benefits of a hoteling office space?

For open offices, activity-based offices, or flexible working environments, having a hoteling office space is not only beneficial but crucial to enable smooth daily operations and employee security. In offices where fixed seating or hot desking is no longer sustainable, the number of employees often surpasses the number of desks, which means that employees can arrive at an office with all desks occupied. The benefits of office hoteling ensure that employees can effectively plan their days at the office.

Office Hoteling also allows colleagues to find each other and plan collaboration. When a booking is made, the colleague's name becomes visible on a 3D map, showing their location to colleagues that might need to ask quick questions, fetch papers or perform other tasks, or use other office resources. Enabling effective colleague finding is the number one step towards creating a seamless open office experience.

Overall, having a hoteling office space is the system and office space management that enables your employees to enjoy the flexibility of free seating without the stress of not knowing if there will be an available desk when you arrive at the office as it can be with hot desking, but at the same time giving them the ability to book or reserve desks in advance via office hoteling software to make sure that they have the seat they want and for a pre-booked amount of time.

Smoother visitor management

The technologies used in workplaces with office hoteling are also capable of creating seamless and memorable experiences for visitors, visiting consultants, and customers. Guests can book meeting rooms online using an office hoteling system. In addition, office hoteling tools often include digital office maps, like the Flowscape Flowmap, as well as step-by-step indoor navigation, which helps the guest to find their destination easily. It is also possible for the user to find restrooms, cafeterias, and other important points of interest.

Allow employees to view space occupancy and density

Occupancy sensors – displays whether or not a workplace is used or not occupied by people. The devices are available together with an office hoteling solution and platform to show the occupancy of common places in the workplace, and or office buildings apart from desks and rooms. Employees may also be aware of the density of areas inside the office building - including cafeterias — and help them re-evaluate social distancing requirements. Real estate owners can use these data to plan the future of for example new office spaces.

What is the difference between hoteling and hot desking?

The main difference between office hoteling and hot desking is that hoteling involves reserving a specific workstation, meeting room, or office in advance, while hot desking does not and is more on a first served basis. With office hoteling, employees have a designated place to work, which can be helpful for maintaining focus and productivity. Hot desking, on the other hand, allows employees to choose any open workstation when they arrive at the office. This can be helpful for encouraging collaboration and creativity. Some other key differences between office hoteling and hot desking include:

- Hoteling requires more space since each employee needs their own designated workstation

- Hot desking is more flexible, as employees can work from any open workstation

- Office hoteling can sometimes be more expensive since each workstation must be allocated and maintained

- Hot desking can be more difficult to manage, as it can be difficult to track who is using which workstation at any given time

So if implementing office hoteling is the right option for your business or not will depend on your specific needs and goals.

Why should you consider office hoteling?

Flexible jobs will always be available and the businesses that prosper in the wake of the pandemic will be those that can best accommodate the needs of their employees.

There are many great things about the current state of the job market. For one, there is a greater focus on work-life balance and companies are more willing to be flexible with their employees. In addition, many people are now working remotely, which has its own set of benefits.

However, the current pandemic is putting a strain on businesses. Many companies are now asking their employees to work from home, and some are even shutting down their offices. This is causing a lot of uncertainty for employees, who are worried about their jobs and their income.

The good news is that flexible jobs will always be available.

Office hoteling is an integral part of many business plans and offers flexible services, great coworking spaces as well as great collaborative spaces. This helps bring remote workers back into the offices by centralizing workspaces within the company. Office hoteling is about redefining office spaces and resources alike. The employee is free to choose where to work in the flexible workplace and at the same time have the certainty that they will get what they booked and signed up for.

Savings on Office Square Footage needed

One of the benefits of office hoteling other than the flexible work environment is the huge savings potential in real estate costs and square footage. Because staff are not limited to a single workplace and do not spend 8 hours every day, businesses are capable of maximizing their employee count without having to spend more time and money on finding more office buildings simultaneously since you with office hoteling can get more office space when needed.

In addition to the money saved on office space, businesses can also save on other workplace expenses. For example, by providing an office hoteling solution, businesses can in some cases provide their employees with all the necessary technology and office equipment without having to purchase or maintain any of it themselves. This can be a huge cost-saving, especially for companies with a large number of remote employees. This also leads to less office management.

Overall, office hoteling provides a number of great benefits for businesses of all sizes. By taking advantage of these benefits, businesses can save time and money, and improve their overall efficiency.

Improved Employee Empowerment & Engagement

Beyond economic and spatial gains for organizations utilizing an office hoteling solution, employees enjoy flexibility in working conditions, enhancing productivity and morale. A place where employees do not necessarily need to work is the ideal environment for their jobs. There has been a noted increase in productivity when office hoteling solutions are used. This is especially beneficial for creative and knowledge-based work positions which can now be done from any location without losing focus or time.

Employees feel a sense of freedom and control when working remotely, knowing that their work is flexible to meet their needs as opposed to the other way around. This newfound ability to work where they want, when they want and how they want empowers employees and leads to a more satisfied workforce.

In addition, team communication and collaboration improve when employees are working in closer proximity to one another. Physical barriers disappear and the ease of communication allows for a better flow of ideas. The result is a more engaged and productive workforce.

Also having the option of working from home can improve employee productivity by reducing distractions and promoting a more relaxed environment. Employees who are able to work from home also often enjoy a better work-life balance.

How Office Hoteling can be integrated into your office space

The most efficient hoteling solution is mobile and easily accessed by employees. These can be integrated into your office's existing space management systems, including a space management software package. Having accurate information is important for planning forecasts. Software integrated into occupancy sensors lets employees see real time availability of workspaces at the same time eliminating unnecessary reservations. Desk sharing also helps to identify areas of the office that are under or over-utilized.

When reserving a space, employees should know how long they plan to be in the space, as this will help to manage the space and prevent others from reserving it for an extended period of time. It is important that all employees are aware of the office's hoteling policies and procedures.

Office hoteling can be a great way to manage your office space, but it is important to make sure that all employees are aware of the policies and procedures. By doing so, you can help ensure that everyone has a workspace when they need it.

Office Hoteling can be managed with Flowscape’s Flowmap and desks can be booked in advance. Flowscape’s Desk Management solution also has more functions that can be beneficial for your business, Learn more about it here. For expert guidance on how it should be implemented at your office, contact our consultants for personalized suggestions.

  • Learn more about the difference between Hot Desking and Office Hoteling here
  • Learn more about sensors for Office Hoteling here

Learn more about long-term strategies for offices post-covid here

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