Hot desking vs. hoteling: what’s the difference?


Hot-desking and hospitality are two increasingly popular methods of allowing employees to share physical and digital office spaces. Many think the methods are the same, but they are not. There are distinct differences between the two, including the types and needs of end users, the resources available, and the IT services provided.

Let’s see why shared offices and hosting are so popular and take a look at shared offices versus hospitality to determine which option might be best for your organization.

Why are hot desking and hospitality so popular?

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many companies to reconsider how employees work. Many have opted for a hybrid model, where only a portion of employees work in the office, while others work remotely. As a result, these companies now have more office space than they need. Sizing correctly eliminates unnecessary physical overhead, but also creates a situation where employees no longer have access to their own private office or cubicle. Instead, the technology is used to coordinate the sharing of physical spaces and their associated computing services, such as network and Internet access, business phones, and personal video conferencing and collaboration systems.

Another popular trend for small businesses and startups: coworking spaces. This is when the company rents office space from a third party to temporarily access office space and digital services.

What is a hot desking space?

The shared office provides workers with office and IT infrastructure services on a first-come, first-served basis. With shared office, employees walk into the office, find available office space, and claim it for themselves for as long as they are there, accessing computing resources as needed. This model is simple and often works well, but it has problems in certain situations, such as the following:

  • Ability. When more employees show up than office space is available.
  • Collaboration. If two or more employees must work together but are physically separated because no adjacent space is available.
  • Availability of Services. When certain IT resources are needed but are not available in free places.
  • Privacy. In situations where confidentiality is required.

If one or more of these issues occur regularly, hosting may be a better option.

What is a hotel space?

In business, hospitality has traditionally been relegated to shared conference room spaces. For years, employees had the ability to manually or digitally book a conference room for a certain amount of time, granting them and others the ability to use the space for collaborative and in-person purposes. Today, however, hospitality is also moving into single-person office spaces. When looking at office sharing versus hospitality, the difference is that with hospitality, spaces can be reserved, usually using a digital service. This way, the employee knows the following well in advance:

  • a workspace is indeed available;
  • the exact location of the workspace; and
  • what physical and digital resources are available.

Although hospitality eliminates many of the shortcomings found with shared offices, it does require the business or coworking facility to set up a booking service. Additionally, if the office itself only has a limited number of popular locations, the hospitality industry may only offer workers spaces that are not ideal for what they need on a given day.


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