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Hot Desking vs. Desk Hoteling: Which is Right for Your Office?

In today's dynamic work environment, companies are exploring flexible workspace strategies like hot desking and desk hoteling. This article delves into the pros and cons of each approach, helping you determine which is the best fit for your organization's needs and culture.

Hot Desking vs. Desk Hoteling: Which is Right for Your Office?


As businesses adapt to the changing nature of work, many are turning to flexible workspace strategies to optimize their office space and accommodate a more mobile workforce. Two popular approaches are hot desking and desk hoteling. While both involve shared workspaces, there are key differences between the two that can impact employee experience and organizational efficiency.

open office layout with shared desks

What is Hot Desking?

Hot desking is a workspace strategy where employees do not have assigned desks but instead choose from available workstations on a first-come, first-served basis. This approach encourages collaboration and flexibility, as employees can sit wherever they like and work alongside different colleagues each day.

Advantages of Hot Desking

  1. Cost savings: By reducing the number of dedicated desks, companies can save on real estate costs and optimize their office space.
  2. Increased collaboration: Hot desking encourages employees to interact with a diverse range of colleagues, fostering cross-functional collaboration and knowledge sharing.
  3. Flexibility: Employees have the freedom to choose their workspace based on their daily needs, whether they require a quiet area for focused work or a collaborative space for team projects.

Disadvantages of Hot Desking

  1. Lack of personalization: Without assigned desks, employees may feel less connected to their workspace and struggle to create a sense of ownership and belonging.
  2. Potential for disruption: The daily search for an available desk can be time-consuming and disruptive, especially during peak hours.
  3. Hygiene concerns: Shared workspaces may raise concerns about cleanliness and the spread of germs, particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

What is Desk Hoteling?

Desk hoteling, also known as office hoteling, is a reservation-based system where employees book workspaces in advance using office hoteling software. This approach allows for more structured sharing of desks and resources, ensuring that employees have a guaranteed workspace when they need it.

employee booking a desk using a mobile app

Advantages of Desk Hoteling

  1. Predictability: By booking desks in advance, employees can plan their workweek and ensure they have a suitable workspace when they need it.
  2. Improved space utilization: Desk hoteling allows companies to track workspace usage and make data-driven decisions about office design and resource allocation.
  3. Enhanced employee experience: With the right workplace experience software, desk hoteling can streamline the booking process and provide employees with a seamless, personalized experience.

Disadvantages of Desk Hoteling

  1. Reduced spontaneity: The need to book desks in advance may limit impromptu collaboration and serendipitous encounters.
  2. Technological dependence: Desk hoteling relies on robust technology solutions to manage bookings and ensure a smooth user experience, which may require significant investment and ongoing maintenance.
  3. Change management challenges: Implementing a desk hoteling system may require a significant shift in company culture and employee habits, which can be challenging to manage.

Choosing the Right Approach for Your Office

When deciding between hot desking and desk hoteling, consider your organization's unique needs, culture, and goals. Hot desking may be a good fit for companies that prioritize flexibility and collaboration, while desk hoteling may be better suited for organizations that value predictability and structure.

office manager evaluating hot desking and desk hoteling options

Regardless of the approach you choose, it's essential to involve employees in the decision-making process, communicate the benefits and expectations clearly, and provide the necessary tools and support to ensure a successful transition. By carefully weighing the pros and cons of hot desking and desk hoteling, you can create a flexible workspace that enhances employee experience, boosts productivity, and supports your organization's long-term success.


In today's evolving workplace, companies have the opportunity to reimagine their office space and embrace flexible working arrangements. By understanding the differences between hot desking and desk hoteling, and carefully considering the needs of your organization and employees, you can make an informed decision that optimizes your workspace, fosters collaboration, and drives business success.

modern office space with a mix of hot desking and desk hoteling areas

As you embark on your journey towards a more agile work environment, remember that the key to success lies in effective communication, employee engagement, and a willingness to adapt and iterate based on feedback and data. With the right approach and tools, you can create a dynamic, efficient, and inspiring workspace that empowers your employees to do their best work.


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