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Hot Desking vs. Hoteling: 3 Key Differences You Should Consider

Learn the key differences between hot desking and hoteling to maximize your office space and increase employee productivity.

Marcel Deer - Writer for POC System
By Marcel Deer
Michelle Meyer - Editor for POC System
Edited by Michelle Meyer

Updated December 23, 2022.

Hoteling and hot desking are two popular ways to save office space, especially in the hybrid working model. Both methods move away from the assigned seating approach of a traditional workplace, opting to rely on desk availability instead.

While these terms are often used interchangeably, it's important to understand the difference so you can implement the method best suited to your organization.

1. Accessibility

Hot desking has high accessibility because it works on a first-come-first-serve basis and allows people to sit at any available desk.

Hoteling is less accessible. It requires employees to reserve a desk in advance, usually through hoteling software.

2. Flexibility

Hot desking offers great flexibility. The freedom to choose any seat means that employees from different departments or industries can sit together and collaborate. This is especially relevant in coworking spaces.

Hoteling can be limiting because employees have access to the space they've booked only. They must stick to the schedule and can't move to another unoccupied space to join a colleague.

3. Urgency

Hot desking can provide workspace on short notice—provided all the desks aren't full when employees arrive.

While hoteling guarantees an employee a workstation (if they've booked in advance), it doesn't lend itself toward impromptu meetings or emergencies.

■ What are hot desking best practices? Here's how to optimize hot desking for employee satisfaction

Automate Your Seating Processes with POC System

Although hot desking and hoteling are very similar, their main difference is how employees can access workstations. Whether you want to give your employees the freedom to choose their desks or if you want a more structured system, consider automating this process. POC System's electronic seating booking system can be accessed by employees directly and will automatically update while capturing and analyzing usage data.

■ Want to try the seating allocation app for yourself? Request a demo