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What Is Desk Hoteling? And Why your Hybrid Workforce Needs It

Hybrid Workforce collaborating
by
The Robin Team
Published on

In a traditional office environment, each person has a dedicated desk. This may be in a private office, a shared office, a cubicle, or an open bullpen, but the ratio is one employee to one desk. 

Desk hoteling, in contrast, improves space utilization, letting people book workspaces in advance – rather than being tied to a specific workspace. Teams don’t have permanently assigned seats, but they can reserve a desk for a day, week, or month at a time, often from their tablet or smartphone. 

Let’s dive in and learn more about this hybrid workforce solution.

Desk hoteling enables more flexible work arrangements.

What Is a Hybrid Workforce?

As more employees and more companies embrace alternative approaches to work, they need flexible office setups that can accommodate different numbers of employees each day. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us that workers don’t need to be in the office every single day to be effective. A hybrid workforce can include:

  • People who work in the office full-time
  • People who split their time between in-office and remote work
  • People who work from home full-time

An enterprise may also have contractors or freelancers who primarily work from home, but they may need to be at the company office from time to time.

What is Desk Hoteling?

Desk hoteling refers to long-term desk reservations, allowing people to book a seat for multiple days, weeks or even months. 

This type of reservation is particularly useful for out-of-town team members visiting your office HQ, contractors in need of a temporary space or visiting clients and guests. The length of stay will vary depending on your needs but hoteling is generally defined as any reservation that spans more than 2 days at a time.

Find where your team is sitting and book a desk nearby.

Desk Hoteling Vs. Hot Desking

You may have also heard the term hot desking. The difference between hot desking and hoteling lies in the length of the reservation. Hot desking refers to short-term reservations, usually a day at a time. Hoteling refers to longer-term reservations, allowing people to book a desk or space for multiple days, weeks or even months. 

As flexible workspaces grow in popularity, companies are using different models to manage office space utilization. The goal of dedicated workspaces with both desk hoteling and hot desking is to optimize the use of office space, reduce real estate costs, and increase flexibility for employees who may not need a dedicated workspace every day. It can also foster collaboration and networking among employees, as they may interact with different coworkers on different days.

However, desk hoteling may not be suitable for all types of work, and some employees may find it challenging to adjust to not having a fixed workspace. It requires careful planning and management to ensure that employees have access to the resources they need.

What are the Benefits of Desk Hoteling?

Desk hoteling can be implemented at businesses of all sizes, from small startups to established industry players. The advantages of a desk hoteling setup include:

Cost savings

Reduced overhead is perhaps one of the most appealing benefits. By eliminating excess space, companies can significantly reduce their monthly rent or mortgage payment, cutting down real estate costs. They’ll also save on equipment, supplies, and utility costs with a more flexible approach to day-to-day seating arrangements.

Better collaboration

Letting employees choose how and where they work makes it easier to foster teamwork, collaboration, and creativity. Employees can reserve a private space or work from home when they need deep focus on an individual task. When they need collaborative spaces to partner with colleagues on a project, they can book adjacent desks or a separate conference room for brainstorming.

You can share your desk booking in the Robin app for better collaboration.

More Efficient Processes

An open-office environment or office location without a reservation system may deter employees from coming in – they may need to spend valuable time locating an appropriate workspace, or they might not be able to find adequate space at all. A hoteling system allows employees to book the space they need ahead of time, helping them work more effectively and enjoy their time in the office.

Enhanced Employee Flexibility

Desk and office hoteling, also offers workers greater flexibility and mobility in the workplace. By enabling employees to reserve desks as they need them, desk and office hoteling allows for more fluid work arrangements and gives workers more autonomy over where and how they work. This flexibility can ultimately lead to increased worker productivity as well as greater job satisfaction.

Reduced Carbon Footprint

Desk hoteling can help organizations reduce their carbon footprint. By using desk hoteling software, organizations can track desk usage, which can highlight underutilized desks or areas of the office that need better space management. This data can lead to more strategic decisions on energy consumption, the hoteling office space, allocation, and overall resource-usage.

Another major benefit is employee satisfaction: many workers want the flexibility to work from home or the office. Business Insider reports that many major corporations are realizing hybrid work must become the norm – and that more than 60% of workers would look for a new job if they had to be at the office full-time. 

How to Create a Desk Hoteling policy in Your Office

It's important to define what desk hoteling looks like in your flexible work environment. Workplace leaders and facilities managers should sit down and map out how they plan to structure their hoteling space and their desk hoteling policy for their hybrid workplace. Here's how to get started:

1.Identify the Goals

The first step is to identify the goals of implementing a desk hoteling policy. Determine what benefits you hope to achieve, such as increased flexibility, better space utilization, and improved productivity.

2.Decide on the Implementation

Once you have identified the goals, decide on the implementation details, such as which areas or departments will be impacted, what types of desks will be available, and how reservations will be made. Consider if you want the same policy to apply across multiple offices or if each location will be responsible for defining their own parameters.

More flexible seating options help employees book desks with collaboration in mind.

3.Communicate the Policy

Communication is key to the success of any new policy. Inform your employees about the new policy, its benefits, and how to use it. You may also want to hold a training session to ensure everyone understands the new process.

4.Set Guidelines

Establish guidelines for desk usage and quiet space, such as how long desks can be reserved, how often they can be reserved, and how many people can share a desk. Some policies will include expectations around personal belongings in the office and even detail requirements for cleaning the space.

5.Provide Technology Support

Provide technology support to help employees reserve space and desks easily. This could include an online reservation system or a mobile app. Give every team member the information they need to effectively use any new systems or tools.

Real time office maps make it easy to find the space you need.

6.Monitor Usage

Monitor the usage of the new policy and make adjustments as necessary. This will help you identify any issues or concerns that need to be addressed. Do you have enough desks in your space? Do you need more office space based on demand? Let the data you gather help you answer critical questions about your workplace and office resources.

7.Evaluate Results

Evaluate the results of the desk hoteling policy after a few months to see if it is achieving the desired benefits. Use this feedback to make any necessary changes to improve the policy further.

Remember that desk hoteling policies work best when there is good communication, clear guidelines, and a commitment to making it work for everyone involved.

Robin: Hybrid Workforce Solutions Made Simple

Getting your team back to the office shouldn’t be complicated. With real-time office availability visible to everyone, Robin simplifies the process of managing a hybrid workforce. For more information about Robin’s desk booking software, schedule a demo today.

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The Office Space Report 2023