Office Hoteling and Hot Desks – Returning To A New Way to Work

As people return to the office, company leaders are working out how to functionally reconfigure their workspaces to allow more flexibility.

Office work post-covid may mean workers will continue the variety they’ve come to enjoy… working from home as well as the office. This shift opens up new ways to look at office space and what is truly required. Employers may be able to increase employee satisfaction and save costs by reducing space.

With help from Tamara Howkins from our atWork Toronto GTA design team lets try to understand this growing trend of “hoteling” and “hot desking” in office space. Tamara predicts flexible space will be a more utilized plan for offices moving forward so it is a growing topic.

So what are we talking about?

“Hoteling” and “Hot Desking” are labels for workspaces designed without assigned owners. These workspaces are designed to be used as-needed by whoever requires a space. 

However, there are some distinct differences between Hoteling and Hot Desking, and knowing what type of design is more suited for your company can be confusing. Here’s what you should know about the differences and debated aspects of each to help make an informed space decision that is right for you. 

What’s the difference?

Hot Desking – Similar to nabbing a preferred or “best table” at your favourite restaurant. Hot Desking works the same way. They are available on a first-come, first-serve basis, with an unlimited time allowance. If there is nothing available, team members may have to wait. 

Hot desks are great for people who work primarily away (ie. mostly at home, or travel a lot) and need to head into the office occasionally. 

There is nothing personal left on hot desks. The clean, clutter-free space can be refreshing to the worker looking to have clear work area and a break from the noise and busyness at home. These desks can be easily cleaned and disinfected. 

That being said, hot desks may not be as conducive to productivity because you don’t know what might be available when you walk in.

Hoteling – A more formalized version of flexible workspaces. Companies often invest in specialized software for employees allowing flexible workspaces to be reserved ahead of time.

With hoteling, building culture and community can happen more effectively. People may plan ahead to have other team members book simultaneously and get a desk nearby. Knowing you have space to work may provide employees with a sense of stability and security to power through their work. 

Not every company will choose to incorporate hoteling into their office design.  Reservation software can come with a learning curve and also can be challenging for consistent collaboration and large teams to manage seamlessly.

What’s are benefits of Hoteling and Hot Desking?

Regardless of which functional design you choose, Tamara identifies that all stakeholders have great benefits with Hoteling and Hot Desks. 

1 – Employee Flexibility

After a year of change, businesses will be moving to provide greater flexibility around where and how people work. The critical element about these two office usage styles is that people can choose to work remotely or in the office.

2 – Enhanced Inclusivity

Offices demonstrate more inclusivity and equality with hot desking and hoteling. Power and hierarchy can be subdued when workspaces are the same everywhere. The traditional “bigger and nicer” office is gone, and people of various levels and departments can work together. 

3 – Offers Smart Space Solutions

Offering flexibility and fewer people in the office at one time is a considerable advantage for space considerations. Cutting down on the required space footprint is advantageous for any business shaving costs.

4 – Organization and Order

With hoteling and hot desk office design, clutter is not an option. Employees become more minimalist in terms of personal items and hoarded paper. Working in these types of environments enhances digital order because materials and documents are saved and printing is rare. But having no where to put belongings or have a sensitive and quiet business call can be challenging in these clutter free shared spaces. In turn, companies can provide office phone boothsmobile drawer units or staff storage lockers to offer privacy when needed for conversations or belongings.

Regardless of whether you choose Hoteling or Hot Desks for your office design, there are ways to enhance your space to address the new challenges they bring to your office functionality.

If you need design and planning help as organize for your team to work in a flex space, reach out to our atWork team.