AV Insights

Desk Hoteling vs Hot Desking

Have you got hot-desking burn out? Maybe Desk hoteling can re-kindle your love for flexible working…

It’s not often a new craze in workplace management emerges, but if the last 18 months has shown us anything – it’s that we need to be fully adaptable when it comes to our working practices to react to the ever-changing climate. The latest craze, if you go by the trending articles on LinkedIn that is, is a new form of desk booking known affectionately as Desk Hoteling.  


Like Hot-Desking, desk hoteling is a way of choosing a certain desk, cubicle, or area to work in instead of having a permanent workspace. The difference is, with Desk Hoteling you can pre-book your chosen area before you go into the office and keep it for a specified length of time. Like a hotel (hence the term) you would ‘check-in’ at your chosen area, and ‘check-out’ when you leave, thus providing a sense of continuity in your workspace, whilst avoiding the mad scramble to get that perfect desk (you know, the one near the window that’s a short walk away from the coffee machine).

When Hot-Desking first entered our workplaces, it was the 1980’s and was seen as a fresh, modern, and fast-paced way of working. Some felt that the traditional way of working with set desks that were cluttered with paperwork, mugs, and full ash trays (ah, the 80’s)was an aged and tired solution that didn’t match the bustling energy of a modern workplace. Others thought it threatened the personalisation of the office and would create panic as everyone would have to franticly run for a desk each morning.

As time went on Hot Desking became less of a scary idea and was implemented in offices throughout the world, usually as an option to those employees who wanted it with permanent desks still available to those who preferred the more traditional way of working.

Let’s have a dig into the Pro’s and Con’s of the more traditional system of Hot Desking, compared to the new-kid-on-the-block Desk Hoteling.

Desk Hoteling Pro’s

1. Capacity control

In the modern workplace, controlling the number of people that can safely work in one office is paramount to an effective and safe workplace. With desk hoteling, the capacity of employees present on each day can be managed easily.  


2. Freedom and order

Desk hoteling gives you the freedom of working where you want to work, paired with the order of pre-booking an area. The ability to pre-book your desk in advance, avoids the stress of not knowing where exactly you're going to be on each day, you can use that time saved to be more productive.

3. Health and Safety

In the modern climate, keeping desks clean and sanitised it more important than ever. With desk hoteling, cleaning can be managed by 'stay' rather than each desk in the building needing to be cleaned daily. This saves on cleaning resources, and ensures that your cleaning management is as effective as possible.

5. Completely scalable

 One of the main benefits of Desk Hoteling is that it is completely saleable for your business. Whether you're a company of 5 or 500, this solution can work for all sizes and work well by combining order, freedom, safety, and capacity management with ease.

Desk Hoteling Con's

1. Larger reservations can be difficult

If you need to book a section of desks in advance for your whole team, this may be a difficult feat with desk hoteling. A selection of desks could have multiple, overlapping bookings that end at different times. Booking a big area where all the desks are available for the same length of time could be a potential difficulty, especially if a large space is needed at short notice.

2. Not as reactive

As much as pre-planning is a great way of being organised, on the days when you need an impromptu meeting or last minute trip to the office, having a space to work when you haven't booked in advance isn't guaranteed. This can be solved by ensuring there are certain desks reserved for 'walk-ins' who would have to sign in at reception for logging reasons.

Hot Desking Pro’s

1. Increase collaboration

Hot desking encourages people to move around the office, and this can lead to employees collaborating with different teams in different parts of the office they may not have had the chance to get to know beforehand.

2. Tidier workspaces

Hot desking forces employees to become minimalists. Although people are unable to add a personal touch to their workspaces, the result is a much cleaner and more organized office.

3. Autonomy

Hot desking gives employees autonomy because it allows them to change their day-to-day environment and remaining mobile as they are no longer tied to their desks.

4. Lower costs

Hot desking can cut down on wasted space by allowing organizations to optimize the use of existing space as not all employees need to have their own permanent desks.

5. Improve performance and the circulation of knowledge

Hot desking improves communications by leading to more face-to-face interaction which can accelerate decision making.


Hot Desking Con’s

1.  Loss of personalisation in the office

Whilst your office will be cleaner and less cluttered, some employees may miss the personalisation of their desks with their personal belongings such as photos of family, their favourite coffee cup, and stacks of their work.

2. Less of a community feel

Although you don’t want your teams to close off from one another, having a strong community feel within teams and/or departments is known to improve workflow and encourage collaboration within a team. If they are spread out around the office, they may not have a tight-knit feel within their team.

3. Time wasting

When members of the same team are spread across an office space, the time spent trying to find where they are on different days or spent walking across multiple rooms to ask a simple question, is time that is wasted and taken away from the productivity of the team.

4. Management

As much as nobody enjoys being ‘micro-managed’, a manager needs to keep an eye on their team to ensure they are completing their tasks and doing so to a high quality. When the manager isn’t directly near their team, tracking productivity can be difficult.

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