In today’s ever-evolving working world, “hoteling” is a commonly discussed concept.
The term refers to the concept of operating all or a portion of your office without assigned seating or workspaces for employees. Instead, your team can book workspaces when they need them—similar to how you would reserve a hotel room.
While it may seem strange to transform your office into an on-demand destination, rolling out a hoteling program has been proven to optimize space usage, reduce the costs of running your workspace, and provide a more flexible and dynamic working environment.
Here’s what you need to know.
What is hoteling in the workplace?
The concept of hoteling isn’t new—it first emerged in the late 1990s.
But it has taken off in the last few years, driven heavily by technological innovations that have made it even more feasible than ever before paired with rising real estate costs and an increasingly mobile workforce.
As more and more employees began working remotely, many organizations started to realize that a big portion of their workspaces remained unused at any given time.
This meant that these companies were paying for more office space than they really needed—and this accounted for a significant capital expenditure.
Hoteling emerged as a way for companies to optimize the use of their workspace and to eliminate these unnecessary cost outlays.
Rather than having an office to accommodate their full team each day, these organizations could now reduce their desk count significantly by allocating all or a portion of the desks as hotelling desks to accommodate those employees who are not in the office on a regular basis.
With hoteling, employees can book a desk for the day, whenever they wish to come into the office. This model allows for dynamic office space utilization based on actual demand rather than estimations.
Five benefits of hoteling in your workspace
Depending on how your organization currently operates, implementing a hoteling model in your office can be a significant undertaking.
But when done correctly, it can offer some significant upsides for both your company and your team.
1. Optimized space utilization
Today, a growing number of companies are embracing some form of remote work. You may allow your team to work from home a few days per week, on a shiftwork basis, or even full-time.
In any case, hoteling allows you to provide a workspace that employees can use when it aligns with their needs.
Since your staff can book a desk when they want to come to the office, you’ll be able to use your workspace more efficiently, reducing the number of empty desks at any given time.
You can have a smaller office space that maintains a high level of occupancy rather than a large office space that is generally less occupied.
2. Cost savings
When it comes to your office, space efficiency can have a direct correlation to cost efficiency.
With a reduced need for permanent workstations, you can save significantly on real estate costs by taking on an office that accommodates a portion of your workforce rather than the entire team.
For example, if your office space only needs to host 50% of your team at any given time, you can reduce its size—and the corresponding monthly cost by half.
3. Increased collaboration
Since employees don’t have assigned desks with a hoteling model, they get opportunities to sit near different colleagues over time.
This can foster stronger interpersonal bonds, better communication, cross-departmental collaboration, and networking among your team, in turn helping to support a better company culture and stronger business outcomes.
Efficient space utilization means a reduced carbon footprint. Less space requires less heating, cooling, and lighting, and the efficient use of resources can contribute to your company’s green initiatives.
5. Reduced clutter
Since employees don’t own a permanent space with a hoteling model, there’s less accumulation of personal items and paperwork, leading to a cleaner and more organized workspace.
Four potential challenges with hoteling
While hoteling can be incredibly beneficial, there are a few challenges you should consider if you’re thinking about implementing this model in your office:
- Resistance to change: Some employees, especially those accustomed to traditional office setups, might resist the change, valuing their personal space.
- Logistical hurdles: Without a robust reservation system, hoteling can lead to overbookings or conflicts.
- Security and privacy: Shared spaces can raise concerns about data security and personal privacy, necessitating clear policies and guidelines.
- Space management: With traditional office space, the occupier is responsible for procurement, cleaning, maintenance, tech support, and more. With only a portion of the team on site each day, these things can be hard to coordinate and upkeep remotely.
While these challenges exist, there are options to help mitigate them—like operating in a flexible office/co-working environment.
Why flexible workspaces make hoteling programs easier to implement
1. Dynamic configurations
Unlike traditional offices, flexible workspaces are designed to be reconfigured quickly to meet various requirements.
This adaptability plays well with hoteling as it allows you to cater to varying requirements on different days.
2. Flexibility and adaptability
At its core, hoteling is ultimately about flexibility, and flexible office spaces cater to this spirit.
Rather than signing a long-term traditional office space lease, flexible workspace agreements allow you to choose terms and rental lengths that better align with your company’s needs.
This means that you can easily modify your workspace needs as your business grows or contracts.
3. Mix-and-match options
As an extension of the previous point, flexible office spaces offer a wide variety of membership options, making it easy to create the ideal hoteling structure for your company.
For instance, you can have a small for core team members and then offer flexible for the rest of your team, allowing them to be in the same building together without paying a higher rate for a larger office.
Alternatively, you can opt to have a larger private office that accommodates a portion of your workforce and set up a booking system that allows your team to drop in and work when they need to.
4. On-demand meeting and conference spaces
In a traditional office environment, you’ll more than likely be leasing a suite with its own meeting and conference spaces. As a result, you’ll be paying for those spaces in your monthly lease amount.
This accessibility without full-time commitment aligns perfectly with the hoteling model.
5. Multiple work areas
There’s a certain degree of freedom that your employees enjoy when you remove the confines of assigned seating. It allows them to sit wherever and with whomever they wish.
Flexible workspaces take this freedom to the next level by providing them with an abundance of options for where they work—both inside your office and throughout the entire space.
In addition to choosing which desk they want to work at, they can also opt for a change of scenery, such as:
- Communal lounge areas
- Outdoor seating areas
- Private phone booths
- Spaces that are tailor-made to help them unwind and recharge their batteries when they need a break
Providing these options allows your team to choose where they wish to work based on how they wish to work at any point during the day.
6. Turnkey spaces
Implementing hoteling in your company might mean physically revamping your workspace set-up to better accommodate this model.
What happens if you have too much furniture? Too little? Not the right kind?
All of these possibilities can mean significant expenditures of time and money to get right.
These challenges are easier to mitigate in a flexible office environment since they offer turnkey spaces.
Rather than having to purchase furniture, like desks, chairs, filing cabinets, and more, flex spaces have these items included so your company can move in and get to work easily and efficiently.
7. Unparalleled amenitization
There are plenty of reasons why companies want to have their people back in the office. But what is the incentive for remote employees to work together in person, even on a part-time basis?
This is especially true when you’re implementing a hoteling model in your company. Flexible workspaces cater to the philosophy of providing unparalleled amenities. These workspaces often offer fitness facilities and wellness areas paired with events and networking opportunities.
If you’re in search of opportunities to reduce your company’s capital expenditures and optimize the efficiency of your workspace, hoteling might be the right option for you.
With a strategic approach and some careful planning, hoteling can be the optimal solution to maximize your company’s space usage while providing your team with an outstanding work experience.
is the co-founder and CEO of , the largest independent Canadian-owned co-working operator with offices in Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. iQ Offices provides beautiful office spaces with safety, service, privacy and design at the forefront.