Everyone has probably heard of the concept of hoteling. Most likely, you’ve heard about it in the context of consulting firms, many of who’s staff are on the road predominantly. Hoteling provide a way to be more space efficient, providing enough desks for the number of folks in the office on a typical day, but not one desk per person including one for all those folks who are only occasionally in the office. The idea is that when folks know they are going to be in the office, they reserve a desk to use from a pool of those available.
The US General Services Administration is implementing hoteling as a way to reduce the amount of office space the agency needs, thereby reducing real estate costs for the agency. In these tight budget times, agencies are looking for every opportunity to reduce costs – and hoteling is one concept that seems to have arrived. Hoteling is just part of the trend toward increasing telework options and encouraging collaboration and information sharing among employees.
Are these concepts coming to research administration offices? Certainly some research administration staff are in front-line positions where face-to-face meetings with faculty and other staff are important on an ongoing basis. However, many staff perform backend functions that only occasionally require them to be in the office. Effectively coupling telework and hoteling with updated management practices could be a way to get more accomplished without having additional office space.