Everyone is well aware of how mobile technology is changing everything. Therefore, it's a matter of time before we see new tech drastically change the office layout. This is what's happening in forward-thinking offices with a trend called "hoteling." If your business enjoys mobile technology and you want to get the most collaboration out of your staff, then hoteling is right for you.
The Shortcomings of the Traditional Office Layout
Hoteling takes the flexibility that mobile devices offer to restructure your entire office layout. If you think about the modern office with its cubicles and workstations, you quickly come to a conclusion: It's an inefficient way to do get work done. Think about it. You're literally wired to one location, doing work that often requires face-to-face input with coworkers located all throughout the building. Also, nothing kills creativity quite like cubicles.
With the traditional office layout, office managers will attempt to position workers next to each other in such a way as to maximize efficiency. Usually, workers from the same department are grouped together. Given the circumstances of using workstations, this kind of layout is the best that one can do with what they're given. Hoteling offers a better way.
Keeping People On the Move Keeps Them Productive
The term "hoteling" comes from the idea of using a hotel room. Just like renting a room is temporary, so too is an employee's workspace when they are "hoteling." This temporary dynamic means that a worker won't get too comfortable in one spot, and they would be unlikely to hang personal decorations, like cat posters and whatnot. One would think that an employee losing personal space would be upsetting, but most workers would gladly sacrifice a poster or two if it means gaining more flexibility.
With hoteling, the ideal setup is an open room with tables and chairs that can be easily moved to accommodate a worker's needs. When you view workers that are in the act of hoteling, you will notice pockets of team members from different departments sitting at the same table working on the same project. You will also find the more introverted workers huddled in corners by themselves, knocking out projects--and loving it.
Hoteling Diffuses Arguments and Improves Collaboration
Think for a moment about how many problems are caused simply by two workers being stationed next to each other for 40+ hours a week. If the two co-workers have opposite personalities and they're next to each other all the time, then the chance of conflict is high. This can lead to outbursts and arguments which can hurt morale. Instead, if an irritated worker could just fold up their laptop and move to another part of the room, then your office would be a much more harmonious and productive place.
From a productivity standpoint, the most attractive benefit to hoteling is improved team collaboration. If your office is large enough to have multiple departments spread across a single building, then you've likely experienced the frustration of having different departments fail to communicate on a specific project, simply because they didn't communicate well enough. With hoteling, anytime a project requires input from anybody in any department, a worker can just move to where they need to and sit next to the resource that they're working with, thus, benefiting from face-to-face communication.
When the project is completed, then, for their next project, the worker can take their mobile device and move to a new spot that puts them closer to other people that they need to work with. This is what maximum team collaboration looks like.
How Can Your Business Implement Hoteling?
Many startup companies are taking advantage of hoteling. For established companies that have a fleet of workstations wired into cubicles, it may be difficult to overhaul the office like this by cutting cords, tearing down walls, removing personal decorations, and equipping employees with mobile devices (or encouraging them to use their own). Additionally, an office that switches to hoteling will have to upgrade its bandwidth in order to accommodate the newly added wireless devices sharing data over the cloud.
Making a transition to hoteling may be a lot of work, but for the sake of gaining maximum collaboration out of your staff, many businesses will deem the transition to be worth the effort. A successful transition like this will require careful planning and the design of your company's technology strategy. Tahoe Tech Group can help your business achieve your productivity goals by equipping your organization with the technology you need, like mobile devices, wireless routers, and even a network security solution to account for the new risk your business will face when having more workers access the network with mobile devices.
Call us at (530) 550-0999 to learn more about hoteling and other technology-centered productivity measures you can take to improve collaboration.