hot desking work space

By Bond Collective Staff

Hot desking and hoteling are two popular seating options for individuals and teams that can revolutionize the way you do business.

While these workspace arrangements are most practical and popular in collaborative environments, businesses that operate out of their own space can implement them to good advantage as well.

In this article, we’ll discuss the benefits and drawbacks of hot desking and hoteling as they relate to coworking spaces, but the same information applies to seating arrangements in dedicated and private offices everywhere.

The Modern Office Model

hot desking work space

In the more traditional office model of the past, the HR department assigned each team member their own workspace based on what was available at the time.

Each employee worked from their own personal space (their desk) until they left the company, moved to a different job, or HR decided to shake things up by rearranging the office and reassigning desks.

In the modern coworking office model where many different individuals, teams, and businesses work in the same collective space, the traditional office model just doesn’t work.

The shift from traditional office model to coworking office model necessitated a new kind of workspace allocation.

Enter: hot desking and hoteling.

What Is Hot Desking?

hot desking space

In hot desking, workspaces are allocated or occupied on a first-come, first-served basis. Desks, tables, and chairs have no permanent “owner,” and workers use whatever is available that fits their needs.

These arrangements can change at a moment’s notice — and tend to do so several times a day — as people come and go. Hot desking is very similar to the way many restaurants operate.

Customers arrive at whatever time suits them in the hopes of finding a seat to accommodate the size of their group. The restaurant may have something available, or they may not.

If they do have something available, it might not be the customer’s first choice (a table instead of a booth), but at least they’ll have a place to eat.

If the restaurant doesn’t have anything available, the customer can choose to try another business or wait for space to open up. Hot desking works in much the same way.

What Is Hoteling?

Entrance to hot desking space

In hoteling, workspaces are reserved ahead of time — typically for longer durations of several days, a week, or a month — via a booking app or service.

These arrangements are much more static and don’t change as often as hot desking arrangements.

Going back to the restaurant analogy, hoteling is like calling a few days in advance to reserve a table for a specific time so that you can arrive and be seated without delay.

Hoteling provides individuals and teams with more choice and control over where they work. With the right system in place, you can even search for team members working at the same time and reserve a desk nearby to make collaboration easier.

The Benefits And Drawback Of Each

workers utilizing hot desking

Benefits Of Hot Desking

1) Short-Notice Availability

Hot desking is ideal in certain cases because it’s available on short notice. Individuals or teams can just walk in, find a space, and get to work.

Hot desking is perfect for freelancers and team members working from home who need a change of scenery or don’t want to work at their kitchen table or the local coffee house anymore.

It’s also an excellent solution for travelers who need a business-centric place to work for a few hours before their hotel room is ready or their flight leaves.

2) Improved Cleanliness And Organization

The very nature of hot desking prevents individuals from accumulating personal belongings and clutter in and around their workspaces.

Hot deskers relinquish the space when they’re finished to make room for the next person. Anything left behind could be lost.

This lends itself to a cleaner, more organized, and professional-looking workspace that can help inspire productivity, focus, and engagement. It also makes disinfecting and sterilizing furniture much easier.

Drawbacks Of Hot Desking

1) Possibility Of No Space

One of the main drawbacks of hot desking is that there may not be any space available when you want to work. You’ll either have to wait for something to open up, or you’ll have to go somewhere else to work.

It’s like walking into a five-star restaurant at 7:00 p.m. on a Friday night with no reservation in the hopes of getting a table. Chances are, it’s not going to happen.

This can seriously affect your productivity for the worse and cause you to lose time that you may not have.

2) Limited Choices

With hot desking, available workspaces may not be conducive to productivity. The only open desk may be in a particularly noisy area with lots of activity going on.

If you need to concentrate and focus, the discussions and comings-and-goings of those around you can cause an unnecessary distraction that may prevent you from giving your full attention to the job at hand.

Benefits Of Hoteling

workers using benefits of hot desking

1) More Control Over Where You Work

The main benefit of hoteling vs. hot desking is that you have more control over where you work. Hoteling allows you to reserve a specific desk for any length of time.

If you know you’re going to need a week of intense focus to finish a project, hoteling can provide a sense of security and stability that can help you power through to the end.

Your desk will be waiting for you regardless of the time of day or night you arrive.

2) Improved Collaboration

As we mentioned earlier in the article, hoteling allows members of the same team to reserve desks in close proximity to facilitate teamwork and collaboration.

While hoteling might not work for large teams — a private office or suite would be better in that instance — groups of two or three can usually arrange things so that they can work together more successfully in a coworking environment.

Drawbacks Of Hoteling

1) Potential Reservation Flaws

In hoteling, the effective tracking of who has what desk and for how long relies heavily on reservation software and good record-keeping.

If the coworking space doesn’t keep good records or uses sub-par software (or their software crashes often), you may lose your reservation and have nowhere to work for the day.

That can be disastrous if you’ve got a deadline looming and absolutely have to finish on time.

2) Difficulty Reserving Desks For A Large Team

Hoteling for a large team of more than 10 can be difficult (just like hot desking), because there may not be enough desks nearby to accommodate everyone.

It’s very similar to trying to find seats for a large group at the theater. Unless you reserve everything you need early in the process, you may not be able to sit together.

If your team depends on collaboration to excel, hoteling can throw a wrench in the works unless managed just right.

As we’ve mentioned, hoteling a private office instead of separate desks — which you can do at Bond Collective — is an excellent solution to this problem.

Hot Desking And Hoteling In One Space

Inside coworking space

One of the many nice things about modern coworking spaces is that they offer a variety of workspace options to fit your needs.

Bond Collective, for example, offers hot desking, hoteling (dedicated desks), conference rooms, and even private offices (or suites) all in one beautifully decorated work environment so your business has the space to take on any job, large or small.

Bond Collective also offers industry-leading amenities you can’t get anywhere else, including:

  • Lightning-fast WiFi

  • Photo and sound studio (Gowanus only)

  • Guest reception and greeting

  • Regular on-site cleaning

  • Mail service

  • Complimentary beer, coffee, tea, water, and fresh fruit

  • Other food and beverages for sale

  • Office showers with towel service

  • Bike storage

  • Rooftop lounge area

  • Mothers’ rooms

  • Pet-friendly environments

  • Curated and networking events

Whether you’re a solopreneur, an entrepreneur, a digital nomad, a startup, a small business, or a team of 100 or more, Bond Collective can accommodate you with hot desking, hoteling, and private-office options.

Visit any one of Bond Collective’s many locations in the United States, including workspaces in New York, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C., Illinois, Tennessee, and Texas. Or call us today to find out more about everything we have to offer.

And while you’re at it, schedule a tour to experience first-hand how the boutique work environments at Bond Collective can benefit your business.