Office Hoteling 101
Just like pineapples aren’t apples and do not grow on pine trees, but do look like cones and are sweet like apples, hoteling is a confusing term.
Short for “office hoteling”, it describes a type of office setup more and more prevalent these days - instead of having each and every one of your staff members permanently assigned to a desk, cubicle or office, they instead get to “book” these resources for a limited amount of time. The difference between itself and “hot desking” is the reservation bit. With a hot desk, you merely show up, sit down and work. Office hoteling is somewhat stricter, enforcing reservations in advance.
Office Hoteling was pioneered by an advertising agency back in the 90’s. More on this from Techtarget:
“Office hoteling began in 1994 with the non-territorial office, conceived by the advertising agency Chiat/Day“ - and it is one of the first steps taken towards a virtual workspace. A stronger emphasis on technology, team flexibility and paperless operations followed and these are all widely-adopted now.
Before hoteling (or hotelling), businesses were experimenting with the NTO:
“In the 1980s, a series of research programmes began investigating the effects of technological developments on office space planning. Many of these took place in IT companies [...] such as IBM, Digital Equipment Company (taken over in 1998 by Compaq and part of Hewlett-Packard since 2002) or the Shimizu Institute of Technology in Tokyo.“
We’ve come a long way since then and, along with the advent of the open space office plan, hoteling seems to be here to stay. So you might as well make the most of it - here are a couple of tips:
- Make your spaces easily customisable - if your office plan involves hot desks or temporary offices, leave ample room for people to bring in their stuff and “claim” the space for as long as they have booked it. A selection of coloured pillows, mousepads or laptop stands may help.
- Leave room for mistakes - even if you have specialised software put in place, there are chances someone will forget to use it. Set aside a couple of desks and rooms, if you can, for cases such as these.
- Keep an eye on usage stats - have a look at your usage reports and identify your most popular rooms/desks, times of the day and days of the week or month. If someone books the same desk every day, for the entire day, maybe they should be taken off the system and keep their desk indefinitely. Don’t force a process where it’s not needed.
- Make sure your staff knows how to use your hoteling system - ask customer support to help you out with a company-wide training session
How do you maintain your hoteling infrastructure? What tools do you use, how do you keep track of who’s doing what?