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May 12, 2017

A Crash Course on Hoteling

By Tom Potts, VP of Technology Consulting at SiteREADY

As today’s workforce seeks flexible jobs, employers are thinking outside of the traditional “cube farm” mentality and implementing hoteling systems. Much like checking in at a hotel, employees reserve a desk or office on an as-needed basis – whether by the hour, the day, or the week.

The goal of hoteling is to maximize physical space and allow your staff to come and go more freely. You can dedicate sections of your office to hoteling, and also keep remote hoteling offices in cities that employees travel to frequently. Harvard Business Review explains, “At its most advanced, ‘hotel’ work space is customized with individuals’ personal photos and memorabilia, which are stored electronically, retrieved, and ‘placed’ on occupants’ desktops just before they arrive, and then removed as soon as they leave.” However, even a minimalist hoteling system can be just as effective. You might also hear the term, “hot desking,” which is the reservation-less counterpart to hoteling – same use of space, just with no reservation required.

History Of Hoteling

Hoteling started in the 1990s, when consulting and accounting firms realized they could: 1) make use of empty office space while employees were traveling, and 2) provide employees with office space while they were traveling – simultaneously. In 1994, IBM made a pivotal shift toward the “alternative workplace” (essentially telecommuting), turning thousands of full-time office positions into remote-flexible jobs. Hoteling was the on-site extension of the initiative, and helped the company save more than $100 million annually. Soon, other tech giants followed suit, namely AT&T, which was able to free up more than $550 million in cash flow through telecommuting and hoteling.

Today, companies in virtually every industry are identifying that assigned offices spaces can be an unnecessary financial burden. In a workplace survey by Knoll, employers reported that desks were in use only 47 percent of the time on a given workday. The study also found that meeting rooms are only used roughly 50 to 60 percent of the time. That’s a lot of wasted space that costs a lot of money! It’s easy to see why hoteling is reshaping the modern office.

Benefits Of Hoteling

Let’s put the cost savings and statistics into real-world context. Why does hoteling work? Because it gets people connected when and where they want, minus the dead space in between. Your team can share computers, or everyone can “BYOD” (bring your own device). The result is a lower-volume need for office furniture, which means you can use that extra budget to invest in higher-end desks, chairs, computers and software. Sharing top-of-the-line computers and technical solutions is preferable to each employee having a dedicated lower-end device that hinders productivity.

And then there’s the remote element. Employers want productivity, and employees want flexibility. Enabling your contractors and employees to work where they can be most productive–whether at a coffee shop, home office, or hoteling station–is a win-win. Statistics from Global Workplace Analytics show that 36 percent of employees would choose the ability to work from home over a pay raise, and 80-90 percent of the U.S. workforce wants to telecommute at least part time. These numbers directly align with your desire to reduce office costs.

Hoteling Can Work For You

Investing in hoteling is not a “plug and play” project, especially when it comes to the technology behind it. If you are exploring the possibility of hoteling, SiteREADY can work with you to develop and launch a customized hoteling system that addresses your business needs. We are a full-service technology design and implementation team, working in tandem with your IT, CRE and HR departments to provide solutions that challenge the routine. Read about our latest hoteling project for a Fortune 500 client here.


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