Building Agile Workspaces with Hoteling

Hoteling is an emerging office management practice fit for the future. Discover tools and techniques for setting up desk hoteling for your organization.

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Johann Weber
Program Manager


Key Takeaways

Hoteling is an office management practice where workers reserve desks and workspaces to use when they need them.

Launching an effective hoteling strategy can be accomplished with careful deliberation and effective software.

There is a wide variety of hoteling software available, so it's easy to find a solution that meets your unique needs.

Thinking outside the cubicle

Managing staff that splits their time between a central office and remote work can be daunting – especially while also navigating the end of a pandemic. However, you may be able to make the situation easier with hoteling.

Hoteling is a practice in which individual employees can reserve unassigned workspaces for short periods.

Letting employees reserve the space they need for as long as they need it can be an efficient way to embrace a more flexible workforce. This model lets you ensure safe distancing practices, optimize how your office is used, and grant employees more autonomy to plan their return to the office.

How do you implement a hoteling system? There are a few steps you can take to establish an effective plan. It’s also helpful to use software to manage the process, and there are many great options available.

What to think about when hoteling

Setting up a hoteling system can be simple and low-cost or highly integrated into your building systems. Here are some initial considerations to discuss:

  1. Capacity: How many people do you want in the office at a time? Will this change as public health improves?
  2. Frequency: How often do employees plan to work from home? How does this vary across roles?
  3. Demand: What tasks do employees intend to do on-site, and what types of space or equipment will they need for those tasks?
  4. Tracking: How will employees know when a space is available or booked?

Steps to getting started

  1. Involve as many voices as possible right from the start. Consider hosting a company-wide survey or meet with groups who will be most affected. Use this information to determine how many workstations could be unassigned and if any renovations are necessary, such as repurposing space into additional meeting rooms or installing lockers for personal items.
  2. Choose a desk booking software solution that offers the configuration and control needed to meet your company’s specific needs. (More tips on that below.)
  3. Provide training on new software well before staff return and provide printed guidelines on-site to reiterate procedures and expectations.
  4. Monitor and adjust your hoteling process where needed. Collect feedback through observation, face-to-face conversations, and online surveys. After the first few months, determine which policies and procedures need to be tweaked.

Selecting the Right Hoteling Software

There are many products available to help coordinate your hoteling program. What product will work best for your organization depends largely on your company size, your budget, and desired features. Taking some time to compare your options carefully can help you find the solution that’s right for you.

Small teams can try hoteling with a basic calendar-based system (such as Outlook, Google Calendar, or Microsoft Shifts) by listing workstations and other spaces as meeting rooms.

If your company is closer to medium-sized, though, your team may benefit from the added features of dedicated hoteling software. Affordable options such as Skedda, Envoy Desks, and Robin Powered let employees make reservations from their smartphones, view a map of available desks, or see who else is in the office.

Leading hoteling software companies such as SpaceIQ, AgileQuest, Chargifi, and OfficeSpace appeal to large organizations with features like occupancy sensors or QR codes that track vacancies without requiring staff to check in each time they move. Pricing can be scaled to your organization’s size or needs.

Some platforms support entire commercial properties: SerraView, EMS, and Condeco offer hoteling features as part of their robust real estate management platforms.

Hoteling software can help your employees more easily return to work by coordinating the safe use of desks and meeting spaces. The big question is, which software do you use? (Scroll down for a guide that can help!)

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Additional Research

Hoteling Case Study: Booz Allen Hamilton

Explore this four-minute video and extended case study PDF of Booz Allen Hamilton's Innovation Center and Hoteling Programs in Washington, D.C.

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Office Layout Pros and Cons

Compare hoteling to other office layouts, including open offices, cubicles, coworking, and low partition.

Read More
Unassigned Workspace Etiquette

Download Knoll's unassigned workspace etiquette guide for an example memo to introduce hoteling to your staff.

Read More
Quick-Reference Guide

Hoteling Technology Guide

We’ve prepared a quick-reference guide to help you review which hoteling software might be best for your workplace. Plus, if you download this resource, one of our Balanced Work experts will reach out to you to chat about helping you launch the ideal hoteling system for your business.


This Was Made With You in Mind

Our team crafted this eBook to help you create a more balanced workday, even in the face of ever-changing circumstances. Learn how we can bring more support to your company right now.

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