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How Does Hot Desking Differ from Hoteling?

Many companies are reimagining the ways workplaces are arranged. Hoteling and hot desking are two popular ideas––find out which is right for your office!

The modern workplace is becoming an increasingly fluid idea. While many companies continue to champion remote work, others have reaffirmed the importance of physical presence.1 In-person work is a cornerstone of many businesses; nonetheless, demand for modernized work environments is higher than ever.2

If you’re planning a return-to-work strategy, you may be reimagining how your shared workspace is designed to improve employee productivity and satisfaction. Desk hoteling is one such concept, revamping the more dated idea of hot desking.3 

Hot desking and hoteling both do away with the idea of assigned seating, but they each have distinct pros and cons. Which is right for your workspace? Let’s peel back the layers on the hoteling vs hot desking debate so that you can make the most informed choice for your business’ office management. For a more comprehensive look at hot desking advantages and disadvantages, make sure to check out our resource center so you can figure out if this strategy is right for you.

What is Hot Desking?

Hot desking is not a new concept; however, the demand for flexible workspaces as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic created a resurgence. The idea is simple: an agile, dedicated workspace in which employees claim their desks on a first-come, first-serve basis. Popular among companies with a hybrid work model wishing to decrease available desk vacancy, large desks shared by multiple employees are common in this model.

Pros of Hot Desking

Hot desking is often used to create an open floor plan, allowing companies to maximize their shared workspace and improve the workplace environment. Additionally, hot desking tends to cultivate a more collaborative environment. In traditional office spaces, different departments can be isolated from each other. By eliminating assigned spaces,  greater opportunities exist for cross-departmental collaboration.

The pros of hot desking include:

  • More efficient use of office space
  • Increased opportunities  for collaboration and synergy
  • Increased socialization by decreasing isolation
  • Elimination of desk vacancy among hybrid companies

Cons of Hot Desking

While hot desking is a valuable concept for companies that want to increase collaboration, decrease redundant space, and reduce overhead, its laissez-faire approach can be less popular among employees. There are some disadvantages to keep in mind when assigned spaces aren’t in play:

  • Scattered employees can make key people harder to find
  • Interdepartmental meetings require greater planning
  • Some employees feel pressure to arrive early in order to claim their desired space
  • Overall lack of organization can lead to stress
  • Can send a message that employee preferences  don’t matter

Many of these cons may not apply to smaller companies that don’t have sizable, firmly segmented departments; otherwise, many companies may feel the cons outweigh the pros.

Find the perfect workspaces at the height your team needs. Shop Desks!

What is Hoteling?

Hoteling is a more modern concept that solves the pitfalls of hot desking by offering the best of both worlds. On a design level, the two models are exactly the same: an open floor plan that eliminates redundant space. The difference, though, is that an office hoteling system gives employees the opportunity to reserve their desks.

On a daily or weekly basis, employees typically use an online platform to book a space, much like a hotel room. This puts the power back into the employees’ hands while also offering the benefits of hot desking.

Pros of Hoteling

Hoteling offers companies many of the same pros as hot desking. They can reduce overhead by creating a more efficient use of space, encouraging collaboration, and eliminating desk vacancies in hybrid work scenarios. Where hoteling comes out ahead, though, is the advantages it offers to individual employees:

  • Ability to book spaces with the rest of their department
  • Option for different departments to book spaces next to each other
  • Knowledge of where others are sitting
  • Lack of stress and pressure with respect to seating

Cons of Hoteling

As you know, one of the most glaring cons of hot desking is the stress of showing up to work each day without a seating arrangement. While hoteling solves this, it still isn’t a perfect solution. Employees still need to book their desks on a regular basis, inviting the chance they won’t receive their desired spot. This, in turn, could create an unnecessarily competitive environment.

Is Hoteling or Hot Desking Right For You

Companies that want to cultivate a more flexible, collaborative environment may consider implementing either hoteling or hot desking. Compared to hot desking, hoteling is a further optimized concept that puts employees at a greater advantage while offering similar benefits to the workplace as a whole. 

That said, when it comes to hoteling vs hot desking, you might not need to pick a side. In fact, companies can implement both into their workplace. Whether you opt for  assigned seating, hot desking, or hoteling, here are a couple of ways to optimize your workspace:

  • If you use assigned seating or hoteling, introduce optional hot desks for meetings and interdepartmental collaboration.
  • If you use hot desks, offer bookable spaces for those who need to collaborate with specific people or departments.

Creating a modern work environment is all about giving your employees options. In addition to an agile office plan, furnishings like office pods, phone booths, and lounges give employees the flexibility they need to thrive.

Optimize Your Workplace with Juniper

No matter which concept you choose, Juniper has everything you need to optimize your workspace. In addition to a wide array of furniture—from adjustable desks to office pods—Juniper offers completely free 3D office space planning. Just send us your floor plan, and we’ll provide a custom, photorealistic rendering of your optimized office space. 

At Juniper, our mission is to set up offices for success. Find out what we can do for your workplace today


  1. Forbes. How the top 10 Fortune 500 companies are bringing workers back to the office.
  2. CNBC. The demand for flexible work ‘will only accelerate’ in coming years as workers feel more empowered.
  3. LinkedIn. The Pros and Cons of Hot Desking and Office Hoteling.