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What does hoteling at the workplace mean?

What is hoteling?

Office hoteling is the practice in which employees book themselves areas at the office for the desired time intervals, instead of having permanent desks and individual offices. The seating arrangements are actively planned according to workers’ needs and preferences, creating a flexible but predictable work environment.

To coordinate employees’ schedules in real time this model of flexible work relies on specialized software – a desk booking system, which is a digital platform for managing workers’ reservations at the office. Employees use it to schedule their workdays, while the administration can use the same platform to manage the office and track performance. It provides the functionality necessary to run the modern corporate workspace:

·        booking places

·        planning meetings

·        seating layout adjustment

·        the generation of rich usage and occupancy metrics.

Hot desking is a similar work model in which shared desks replace permanent ones. However, sometimes this term is used to indicate a layout with only short-term booking.

What is the purpose of office hoteling?

This innovative model was invented to create a maximally flexible and efficient office space. While the work pace has only become more hectic than ever, the contemporary workspace is subject to constant commercial, social, and political pressures. The COVID-19 pandemic is an obvious stress factor, but it is not the only one. These conditions are highly demanding for employers and employees alike.

To remain competitive organizations must remain cost-effective. On the other hand, increased staff turnover has become a global issue. To minimize it companies must invest substantial resources in employee wellbeing and satisfaction. The adoption of flexible and hybrid work models helps achieve both goals, which explains their widespread popularity.

Thoughtful organization of the hybrid office space can boost corporate productivity, because, in simple terms, the difference between a hybrid office that employs a hoteling setup and a “traditional” one is similar to the difference between a smartphone and a regular mobile phone: the functionality and versatility are vastly enhanced beyond the basic purpose.

A workplace relying on advanced booking software is modular by definition. Therefore, the upgraded workplace becomes more than just a “workplace”. It becomes a place for valuable teamwork and enables a creative exchange of ideas.

Key features and benefits

Flexible work setups combine remote work with on-site work. Because employee autonomy and office space versatility are key to corporate resilience, managing such a dynamic environment calls for dedicated tools. This is why a desk booking system, such as POC Systems’ Seating Allocation Solution is essential to maintain a well-regulated office environment. The following key functions are designed to remove friction points and support a smooth workflow:

·        An intuitive graphical interface – Live color-coded maps faithfully represent area sizes and display features such as space subdivisions, furniture, and office amenities. The floor plans are automatically updated as employees book themselves desks and arrive at the office. This lets anyone easily find a desk next to their teammates, while executives can use the maps to understand how the space is used in real-time.


·        Easy digital control – fully mastering the system’s intuitive interface requires only a short online training. This means executives can use the Seating Allocation Solution to digitally control the office space all on their own. For instance, they can independently adjust the availability of individual desks and meeting rooms, assign them to specific groups, and even change the designation of any space.


·        An online booking application – the seating allocation solution works with a simple-to-use complementary booking application. This lets employees log in from anywhere and reserve desks as needed. Planning office activities for days, weeks, or even months ahead becomes as straightforward as possible.


·        Built-in planning and analytics tools – overseeing a hybrid office requires continuous monitoring and optimization. Manual occupancy management is timewasting and impractical. Hot desk booking software makes hoteling much simpler, as it automatically registers detailed occupancy data and patterns. Then it can generate rich customized reports based on the accumulated information.


The office administration can use this knowledge to identify overcrowded or underused workspaces and make changes accordingly, to improve office structure and save costs.


·        A software solution designed around usability – the Seating Allocation Solution is cloud-based, so no installation is required. It naturally expands the corporate ecosystem, as it can import and export data from Excel files and even communicate with existing human resources systems. Furthermore, POC Systems’ online service team and AutoCAD professionals provide users with full customer support.

What does hoteling mean for the users?

The seating allocation software is a coordinating platform for all corporate activities. Let us look at an employee’s and employer’s typical user experience.

The workday’s morning is calm because when a hybrid office employee arrives at the office, his day is already scheduled. A meeting room is reserved for his team’s weekly update meeting, and he joins his colleagues after a simple check-in. The seamless process lets him remain concentrated. During the meeting, the team needs to consult a member of the accounting department. As this accountant works from home today, he joins the meeting virtually – via a high-quality video connection. The projector in the meeting room lets him show them the relevant data.

After the update meeting, the worker we met moved on to other tasks. His department should finish a project within two months, and for this period he has booked a specific desk in his team’s “office neighborhood”. It is available for him on each of his regular days at the office. In his absence, the desk becomes available for booking.

During the day, our worker accepts invitations to several upcoming meetings at two other departments. As he is expected to attend these events personally, he books himself convenient desks in the relevant areas. By now, the workday is coming to an end.

Before leaving the office, our acquaintance checks tomorrow’s schedule and makes sure all the necessary reservations at the office are in place. Now he can enjoy a peaceful and refreshing evening.

What is his employer’s user experience? Today, as always, she is habitually multi-tasking, working hard to maximize productivity. Her department employs several dozen people on a hybrid schedule, and her busy calendar leaves little time for coordination and organizational issues. However, the company is in a transitional period and the department is hiring new employees.

The existing premises must remain optimized to accommodate everyone, without sacrificing either employee comfort or corporate success. Thankfully, she and her fellow executives can rely on the hoteling software to ensure a smooth workflow. At any given time, all of the relevant information is at her fingertips.  

The web-based platform lets her monitor office space use from any device. In case any action is required, the department head can use the seating allocation solution to adjust seating patterns. She can also use the platform’s interactive maps to find individual workers at the office, and join their meetings whenever needed. Seating adjustment is as hassle-free as possible, facilitating long-term coordination of actions between employees of different levels.


The automation of administrative processes is what makes hoteling and hot desking effective, letting everyone concentrate on their professional goals. This example shows how using our seating allocation solution upgrades the work experience for all employees.


Office Hoteling - POC System

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