Hot Desking & Desk Booking

Is Hot Desking Right for My Organization?

David Spence
November 3rd, 2015

For many of today’s growing companies, the heyday of the 1980s ‐ with its cushy private offices, mahogany paneling and minibars stocked with single malt ‐ has long past. If you’re leasing office space, especially in high‐rent markets (Manhattan, we’re looking at you) you’ll understand the importance of making every square inch count.

Hot desking, a catch‐all term we use to describe three distinct arrangements: hot desking, hoteling and shared space, can be an excellent solution for companies looking to trim fat and keep from shelling out unnecessary lease dollars. Or, if cost isn’t a concern, perhaps you’re looking for ways to facilitate collaboration and promote team building.

Read on to explore the pros and cons and determine if hot desking is a good solution for your company.


How does it work?

Team members show up for the day, sign in and take a desk on a first come/first serve basis. When they leave, they vacate the desk and sign out. 

Who is it for?

If you have consultants, a sales team that comes and goes, or contractors who are only in the office part‐time, consider reserving an area of your offices for hot desks. Hot desking works well for staff members who are relatively portable and pack lightly (laptop, briefcase). Hot desking can also be suitable for companies who have offices in more than one city; staff dropping in from other offices who need a temporary workspace don’t have to occupy the boardroom, for example.
If you use OfficeSpace Software at your organization, you already have built‐in functionality for hot desking. To learn how to employ this feature, get in touch.


How does it work?

Hoteling is a more structured version of hot desking – a little less edgy, a little more conservative.

Let’s call it warm desking. Hoteling uses a reservation system that allows workers to book desk space in advance. Bob knows he’ll be in the San Francisco office the week of November 16th, so he books a desk for the week. In a similar fashion to online hotel booking, users can tell in advance if there are desks available on the dates that they choose, saving themselves a trip that finds them setting up shop in the lunchroom.

Who is it for?

Hoteling is a potential fit for the same company profile that would consider hot desking: organizations with traveling sales teams, consultants, contractors who come and go ‐ and limited space. But hoteling has its drawbacks. Unlike a reservation at a restaurant, there’s no penalty for ‘no‐showing’, ergo less motivation to cancel or modify a reservation. Hoteling’s success hinges on the user showing up when they say they will, or cancelling their reservation if their plans change.

Otherwise, the desk sits vacant and the mix‐up can displace other potential workers. Reservation systems can be expensive to implement, so consider how much you need the advanced booking functionality (and how reliable your team is to actually use the software properly) before investing in a hoteling system.


How does it work?

A shared space is an office or area that is designated to a team, rather than a specific person. There may be a room with four desks or one large table where six workers are assigned, for example.

Who is it for?

Shared spaces are a great solution for organizations with staff that work in groups or pods, such as management consultancies, design firms or offices that have sales teams or interns. Shared spaces trim down square footage while facilitating collaborative environments, which are linked to increased productivity and happier workers.

If you use already use OfficeSpace Software, you can create shared spaces within your system. Get started now.

Want to give hot desking a try? You’re joining a fast‐growing group of businesses boosting space efficiency and saving money with this model.



photo credit: tiramisustudio at