Many professionals are used to going to work and sitting at the same desk every day. This is a familiar system, but it's not effective for every enterprise.
Sure, if you run a corporation that has the same people show up each day, it makes sense to assign seats. However, in more dynamic organizations, it might not be the best use of time and space to give everyone a desk. That's where hoteling comes into play.
Don't let the term mislead you, this isn't the practice of making employees work at a Holiday Inn because the office is too crowded. Hoteling means that people show up at their place of business, find a suitable workstation for their needs and then stay there for however long they need.
The strategy is a far cry from giving everyone a cubicle or private office. If you want to get started with hoteling, read our tips for successfully taking this approach.
Most businesses that use hoteling have open offices. This ensures that the company can maximize the number of workstations it can install to support a large staff.
However, your office might not be designed for this strategy because of old plans. John Carr, federal real estate location strategies consultant at Deloitte, explained to the Federal Times that many federal agencies work in buildings that weren't set up for modern demands.
"You have a glut of old office space that is poorly designed for flow, communication and conversation," Carr said.
To combat this issue, you should ensure that the new design will promote collaboration among associates. For instance, it may make sense to keep employees close together so they'll talk about their projects instead of working independently. Consider installing groups of desks so teams can form within your workforce.
However, it's not enough to just think about the workers who come into the office. After all, the whole point of hoteling is people can find a seat if, not when, they make an appearance, so it's likely some staffers will work from home and others are on business trips. You need to implement business communications software to bolster collaboration between remote and in-office employees. Video conferencing technology will ensure everyone can work together regardless of location.
Reach the peak
The General Services Administration explains that you have to think about what your office looks like on its busiest days, not average ones, if your hoteling strategy is going to be effective. The GSA compares a hoteling office to an airline - every seat might not be filled on every flight, but there's enough room to meet high demand.
That's the exact philosophy you need for your hoteling policy. You need to bring enough desks and hardware to ensure that every employee can find a workstation when they're in the office. If you only have enough space for half of your staff, other workers will be frustrated, especially if you required everyone to come in one day.