Office hoteling: The pros and cons
When Covid-19 forced everyone to go remote, activities like grocery shopping, working out, date nights and happy hour began taking place inside the home rather than outside. Work was no different, with employers rushing to provide staff with access, tools, and Zoom so that operations could continue even when it was too unsafe to be in a public area. But as some businesses are literally reopening their doors, a new issue has emerged. When there is no longer enough space for everyone, how can you accommodate employees who may or may not be thrilled to return to a brick-and-mortar workplace? Desk hoteling, a method of establishing a hybrid workplace with some in-office employees, some remote employees, and the capacity for flexibility on who works where is one remedy.
How does desk hoteling work?
Desk hoteling is a workplace space-sharing concept in which staff members register their workstations in advance. It is one method of “hoteling” your office space. The way you book a hotel room is how the reservation system works (hence the name). You will schedule your reservation for the desired desk on a certain day and hour. You will check in when you get to work to let people know you are there and that you will be assuming the workstation. It is possible to check in digitally with software or in person. When you’re done, check out to demonstrate that the station is free once more.
Hot Desking versus Desk Hoteling
Hot desking and desk hoteling are similar, but there is one obvious distinction: the reservation process. Employees don’t have assigned desks where they spend all day working using either strategy. Desk hoteling, on the other hand, involves the reservation of workstations, whereas hot desking involves the first-come, first-served distribution of workstations. Both require check-ins from employees, but for different reasons. When desk hoteling, check-in secures your spot and aids in facility capacity monitoring, whereas when hot desking, attendance control and workstation occupancy are the more important factors.
By using hoteling space, employees can anticipate their workday before arriving at the office. Additionally, you can choose to work from home that day and visit the office another time if the workstation you desire isn’t accessible. With hot desking, it might be disconcerting to arrive at work and find yourself in an unproductive or comfortable location.
Which Kind of Workplace Is Best for Desk Hoteling?
For offices that require a lot of control over space utilisation, desk hoteling is the ideal option. Some employees may have to work from home every day if there aren’t enough workstations for everyone. Office workers want a consistent system for determining where to work and whether there is space for them to do so.
On the other side, hot desking is preferable for less formal workspaces without capacity constraints. There will be enough workstations if everyone chooses to come into the office on the same day. Not whether they can, but where they will sit is the only question. (However, in this situation, desk hoteling might still make for happy workers.)
If you decide to use desk hoteling, be receptive to employee input. Each person will have an opinion, regardless of who supports the change and who opposes it. Accept criticism and consider all suggestions. Your employees are the best people to ask about how being in the office affects them and their productivity.
Benefits and Drawbacks of a Hoteling Office
Flexible seating options are nothing new. Some businesses were experimenting with more flexible work arrangements even before COVID. And like anything else, using hotel space at the office has its advantages and disadvantages.
Pro: Customized Workweeks
Employees who desk hotel may plan their week in advance and choose where and how to work, which is one of the main advantages. This is but one example of how desk hoteling may accommodate your schedule. Additionally, since bookings are not reoccurring, employees are free to plan their week(s) in advance, whichever suits them. Additionally, you can plan for the possibility that you won’t be able to secure the office or technology you desire. Employees can ultimately have the kind of week they require to be productive without feeling overworked or burned out.
Con: Subpar Office Setup
Desk hoteling is still not foolproof, despite having much more personal planning and control than hot desking. Depending on who else has reserved a seat, employees can choose where to sit and who they’ll be seated next to, but what if some desks are still available? An individual can find oneself seated next to a coworker who is not a good fit for their work style once they get to the office. For instance, if an individual needs peace and quiet to concentrate on a project, they can be seated next to someone who must answer calls all day.
Consider designating areas for various types of work to combat this. For instance, people who need to chat a lot at work shouldn’t be near individuals who like a calm environment. You might impose restrictions on which employees are permitted to reserve space in specified locations or designate a specific area as a quiet space.
Pro: Flexible reservations
Picking a workstation out of a sea of cubicles is just one aspect of desk hoteling. There is a lot more flexibility built in. Workers can, for instance:
- If they need to work intensely and attentively, reserve a quiet desk.
- If they are more productive with sunlight or fresh air, request a desk beside a window.
- Whenever a collaborative workday is required, make arrangements for a conference room.
- A whole day, half a day, or an hour at a time can be reserved.
- If they are travelling or prefer one atmosphere to another, they may choose to work in a different workplace (for companies with multiple offices in different locations).
You can give workers a variety of options based on the amenities in your office.
Employees who have previously worked in an open workspace, especially one that used hot desking, may feel uneasy about switching to office hoteling. Giving away their comfortable, individualised workspace can feel like a stab in the back for workers who haven’t worked from home in a while, are anticipating their return, or who never worked from home in the first place. If they are no longer entirely in charge of their workstation, they might also be concerned about cleanliness.
Inform everyone of the company’s objectives and share your vision to win over these workers. Workers are more likely to understand and support changes when they are included in the planning process. A reminder of the greater picture, what everyone is working toward, and how desk hoteling fits into this can help restore priorities. It’s easy for the bigger picture to become lost in day-to-day obligations. Additionally, if your company places a high value on cleanliness and hygienic conditions, having the cleaning staff concentrate more intently on the workstations helps ease that concern.
Pro: Devoted workspaces
Not every person who works from home has a formal arrangement that makes for a productive day at the office. For those workers, having access to an office with a desk, computer, office supplies, and—most importantly—quiet is a tremendous improvement over their cramped-into-a-corner, dog-won’t-stop-barking “home office.”
Maintaining pleasant workspaces pays off as well. Keep them sanitary, inviting, and clean. Establish a mechanism to keep workstations clean for each person who reserves space, and includes eye-catching decorative items like artwork, plants, and instruments for sensory de-stressing.
Con: Modifications to Social Interaction
Working with others is a part of going to the office every day. Having a social life at work reduces stress, allows employees to share ideas, and makes it possible for them to just enjoy their workday more. Desk hoteling causes different coworkers to come and leave from the workplace during the week in addition to sitting in various locations, which might disrupt the social flow for some (yet improve it for others).
Pro: Remote work locations
Right now (and hopefully always), health and safety are major issues, which makes hoteling workspace solutions even more desirable. Desk hoteling ensures that everyone can safeguard their health whether they choose to work in the office or are better off at home, and physically separating work locations makes employees feel comfortable returning to their jobs. Additionally, a more thorough disinfection procedure can be performed as there are fewer workstations to clean.
Con: Extra challenges
Any time a method is put into practice, there will inevitably be unanticipated and strange snags. Desk hoteling is no different. Businesses will have to troubleshoot a new range of problems, including:
Dealing with exceptional demands, particularly when there aren’t enough stations to handle them all at once. For instance, a person who needs a standing desk but cannot find a workstation with one.
- Granting the individual the proper access at their workplace.
- Handling absences when a worker decides not to report for duty.
- Not that there aren’t answers to these issues; it just means that there will likely be new issues to resolve.
Companies can save a lot of money on real estate when they are not required to offer workspace for every single employee. Whether that workspace is eliminated or converted into a collaborative or meeting area, the business will probably require less space overall. Furthermore, you don’t need to reserve more office space if you decide to add more staff.
A reduction in space involves more than just the amount of space you are leasing, too. Additionally, you’ll spend less on utilities and have less room to furnish and decorate. Because fewer individuals would be consuming resources every day in the office, they will last longer before they run out or break.
Desk hoteling has addressed the ambiguity issue that more adaptable workspaces posed. Yes, when it comes to where, when, and how they work, employees generally want to have more options. However, they don’t want to question their ability to work when it’s necessary, or more particularly, whether they can function easily in a specific setting. To ease all the operational difficulties and more Neoffice tools could be your best solution. Neoffice offers several hybrid workspace management tools, including office hoteling, visitor management system and more.
Neoffice Workplace Management Solution
Neoffice is built with a suite of workspace tools that help employees choose how and where they work while providing organizations with a platform to manage their hybrid workplace with ease and complete control.
The solution comes with 9 features on one single app – Team planner to manage a collaborative effort for a team, Seat Scheduling, Meeting room Booking, Hot Desking, Car park Slot Booking, Digital cafeteria to pre-order your meals at work, Employee commute solution, Survey forms. All Features are modular and the client can choose to subscribe to the relevant solution.
To know more about the solution, do drop a mail to [email protected] or a call us on our Helpline +91 80 4680 5757