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Office Hoteling is More Than a Hot Desk ... it's an Experience

Strategies to help boost your company’s office hoteling experience that will keep your employees coming back for more

By Anne Moser
Head of Office Division, Key Accounts

There’s no question that the post-COVID workplace looks a lot different, and it’s not just about the physical office space but rather when, where, and how people work. Companies are re-thinking their corporate real estate strategies to respect their employees’ new work styles, preferences, and comfort levels, while faced with a fierce race for attracting and retaining top talent in a time of an unprecedented global labor shortage and high turnover rates.

In such a volatile labor market, striking the right balance between the employees’ values and the workplace model best suited to the company’s corporate culture is critical. What most people are looking for — or expecting — from their employers in the post-COVID workplace is a hybrid work model that allows more flexibility.

In the past, the five-day in the office workweek was the nucleus for building culture, connection, and collaboration across teams. In the new hybrid workweek model, these once-organic, casual collisions need to be reimagined in new ways … and office hoteling is helping to do just that.

Unlike "hot-desking," which offers workstations on a first-come, first-served basis, “hoteling” enables hybrid employees to reserve a workstation or designated space in advance via a desk reservation software or an app. As a key feature for employees and tool for companies, office hoteling bridges both sides' needs by offering employees the flexibility they’re looking for and companies a way to encourage people back into the office.

But office hoteling is only as good as the workplace experience that comes with it.

While offering office hoteling as an option is a great hook to get employees back into the office, building a worthy experience around it is what makes people stay and want to come back. This is where carefully curated employee experiences, strategic office layouts, and technology play critical roles in helping to achieve a successful hoteling model that keeps employees coming back for more.

Curated Employee Experiences

It’s one thing to get employees back into the office, but it’s entirely another thing to keep them wanting to come back. Offering hoteling as a feature hooks employees into returning to the office, but it is the experience that is the bait.

From the moment they walk in, to the minute they leave, the workplace experience must create meaningful interconnections between the employee and their place of work. Whether that’s from the front of house service experience, complimentary snacks and beverages, superior food offerings, or tailored social events, it’s these moments that create lasting impressions, build culture and connection, and leave people wanting more.

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Office hoteling is only as good as the workplace experience that comes with it."

- Anne Moser

Hoteling Purposeful Occupancy

Thoughtful office configuration is crucial for an optimal hoteling experience. No one wants to come into work only to find the seat they’ve reserved is in a remote or underwhelming area of the office with difficult access to their co-workers or amenities.

A smart office reconfiguration to meet the needs of the hybrid workforce should create opportunities for casual collisions and collaboration amongst employees and spark creativity and productivity in new ways. Creating a mix of office neighborhoods, break-out rooms, and collaboration spaces offers access to different work settings, and serves to meet the needs of cross-functional teams as well as different segments of the workforce.

The hoteling model not only ensures everyone has a desk when they arrive to work but equally serves as a valuable tool for gauging space utilization, helping companies make informed decisions on workspace styles and space requirements that best suit their organization, team dynamics, and hybrid workforce.


Sophisticated technology is what drives top-tier experiences, efficiencies, and convenience within workplaces, and is a critical component to the success of office hoteling. To ensure an optimal office hoteling experience for employees, the company should invest in an intuitive reservation software and app that conveniently schedules seating. Additionally, for employees to perform effectively, the company’s IT infrastructure must be well maintained and upgraded as needed to guarantee smooth connectivity, security, and easy access to company networks and drives while working in, or outside of the office.

Smart reservation software is often coupled with location beacon and sensing technology, enabling users to view available spaces and easily reserve their desk, collaboration space, or meeting room of choice without having to physically go to the space. This type of ease and efficiency creates a positive user experience and makes office hoteling an effective workplace model.

In today’s volatile labor market, office hoteling serves as both a talent attraction and retention tool and a way for companies to maintain use of their space while also meeting employees’ evolving preferences and workplace behaviors.

As more and more companies adopt office hoteling, optimizing the workplace experience to include exceptional service experiences, meaningful connections, and moments of collaboration supported by sophisticated technology will be the key to its success. 

About the Author

Anne Moser

Head of Office Division, Key Accounts