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Office hoteling is a type of office setup that emphasizes sharing instead of dedicated space. In a traditional office setup, each office worker will typically have his own office, desk or cubicle, complete with photos of his loved ones and other things that personalize his space. Often, the traditional office worker will also have his own phone and computer. With hoteling, the opposite is true. In such a setup, each worker reserves these and other resources on an as-needed basis.
Office hoteling often means that workers have the opportunity to work from any location they wish. They can complete work tasks from home and on the road. Depending on the particular job requirements, they may even complete work-related tasks while lounging on a beach or snacking at a local eatery. Then, when they need to access company equipment, such as computers, or files and other resources, they simply schedule time to go into the office and take care of tasks there. An office worker may choose to reserve a workstation, office, piece of equipment, or resource for an hour, a full day or even a complete workweek, depending on the demands of his job.
The office hoteling setup may work best for employees who are self-directed and do not need a supervisor looking over their shoulders at all times. This may be a particularly beneficial setup for a salesperson who spends most of his time on the road yet needs a home base to return to from time to time. Also, those in such fields as accounting, project management, and consulting may do well with office hoteling while someone with a large amount of administrative tasks to tackle may find this setup difficult. In companies that create office hoteling setups, administrative employees may maintain in-office status and provide support for the other staff members who only visit the office from time to time.
Though office hoteling may help companies conserve space and avoid wasting resources on employees who don't need them on a daily basis, it is not without a downside. Some critics of this type of office organization assert that it erodes company and team spirit, as employees don't see each other regularly or function as a unit. Some say it may even hamper productivity, as some employees may have difficulty working and staying on task in non-traditional work environments. On the other hand, some believe office hoteling may actually improve communication and give employees a greater appreciation for the time they do spend in the office together.