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See how hot desking and hoteling are revolutionizing the future of hybrid schedules

Posted by Grace Townsley

August 5, 2021    |     3-minute read (682 words)

How can a company reduce their overhead, improve employee morale and retention, protect their employees’ health and well-being, encourage interaction when desired and please 94% of their employees, all at the same time? The answer is simple, offer hot desking and hoteling. In this latest workplace trend, companies are offering on-demand desk and office space options so their employees can maintain the benefits of remote work while interacting with their colleagues or other businesspeople when desired. 

Hot desking versus hoteling
While definitions of these workplace trends vary slightly, the general consensus is that hot desking refers to setting up your workspace wherever you find an empty desk at your company’s office or a public co-working space. Hoteling refers to reserving a specific desk, office or meeting room in advance. 

Considering that over half of employees surveyed in a recent PwC study would prefer to work in an office less than two days a week, it’s no wonder the flexible workspace options offered by hoteling and hot desking are popular policies. As of 2021, KayoCloud reports over 80% of companies will embrace some form of hybrid work for their employees, so it seems these trends are here to stay. 

Hot desking is a simpler solution, but it is less organized  

Because hot desking is just grabbing whatever desk space you find available when you arrive to the office, it can create a more chaotic work environment. The business is less able to promote social distancing and teams may not be able to find neighbouring workspaces to collaborate easily. Most companies who have a hot desking environment also require their employees to take all personal belongings home at the end of the day, because the same desk may not be available the next day. 

A big benefit of hot desking is its simplicity. The facilitation costs are low, and no reservations are required, so employees can drop into the office as needed. With greater desk flexibility also comes more interaction and mobility. Individuals are more easily able to mingle and are free to find a workspace area that works best for them.

Hoteling is more common but requires planning in advance

Hoteling, reserving a desk or office space in advance, gives companies better control of how closely their employees are working together. Social distancing is easy, the reservation system can block out neighbouring desks. Hoteling also better regulates the number of employees in the building on a given day by only allowing a specific number of overlapping reservations. This also improves contact tracing, if needed. 

Another big benefit of the booking system element of hoteling is that employees may be allowed to leave their belongings at the desk for a period of time. By booking a week or a month at a specific desk, the individual can better personalize their space. Teams gathering to work on a project can book a section or floor of desks to ensure they are able to easily collaborate. 

The trendsetters

Google has fully embraced the hoteling workspace trend. The company offers reservable workspaces that automatically adjust to the employee’s preferences, including desk height, temperature and a display screen of personal photos, all at the swipe of their badge. Google also offers outdoor work areas for employees who prefer the open air.

Avant, a fintech company, allows employees to book a desk for a week at a time. Once booked, employees get an email about who else will be in the office that week and who will be sitting nearby. During that reserved week, they can store personal belongings in the locked desk. Interestingly, Avant reports that employees tend to book the same desk every time, preferring the consistency of a known area.  

Key takeaway

The style of flexible work you provide your employees may vary based on the size of your office, number of employees, budget and other factors. But it’s no question that companies who want to retain their employees and stand out in the hiring market (plus reduce their overhead!) should seriously consider adopting a hot desk or hoteling policy this year. 

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