NIH Hoteling Program

What is Hoteling?

The General Services Administration defines hoteling as an alternative work arrangement in which:

  • Employees work in one facility (facility A) part of the time and at one or more alternative worksites the rest of the time and
  • When working in facility A, these employees use non-dedicated, non-permanent workspaces assigned for use by reservation on an as-needed basis.

Example Scenario

  • An office dedicates a hoteling room with 6 desks (each outfitted with a corresponding laptop docking station) with access to a shared copy machine, printer, and phone line.
  • A shared calendar is associated with each desk so that employees can reserve a desk when they need to use a space in this hoteling room.
  • Adjacent to this hoteling room is a conference room which can also be reserved.

What are the benefits of hoteling?

  1. Minimizes space and real estate costs. The lower the square footage, the lower the cost to build or lease the space.
  2. Allows for more flexible staffing and scheduling options.
  3. Allows employees to be more mobile, moving among various work locations for meetings, different servicing areas, etc.
  4. Enhances quality of work life for employees.

Best Practices and Lessons Learned from the NIH Community

Technology Considerations

  • Information technology capabilities must be same whether on-site or off-site.
  • Calendar to manage space usage/reservations.
  • Docking stations at hoteling space for employee-issued laptops instead of desktops.
  • Phone capability (employee-issued mobile phone, landline access in space/desk, unified communications and collaboration system).
  • Effective tools for supervisors to manage hoteling employees
  • Shared calendars be informed on employees/colleagues’ schedules.
  • Communication tools (phone, Skype instant messaging and video chat).

Employee Preferences

  • Dedicated hoteling space (removes uncertainty of finding workspace as employee moves among locations).
  • Hoteling space allows mobility and continuity of work across different locations.

Other Considerations

  • Proximity of hoteling space to amenities, e.g., copy machine/printer, conference rooms, offices for travel, etc.
  • Standardized furniture/equipment for flexibility in space modifications.
  • Parking situation/availability at work location.

Additional tips


  • A toll-free conference number may save calling costs in the long term for hoteling participants.
  • Online meeting/video conferencing technology for desktop sharing/presentations to larger audiences, e.g., WebEx, Skype.
  • IT support knowledgeable with common technology issues faced by hoteling participants or teleworkers, e.g., VPN/remote access, mapping printers, etc.

Implementation of Hoteling Program

  • Communicate openly with employees to ensure buy-in and employee concerns, e.g., workgroup, community outreach, surveys.
  • Pilot with smaller group before launching organization-wide program.
  • Establish and enforce hoteling space etiquette/usage guidelines.
  • Consider storage space and office supply needs for participants as they move among locations.
  • Reinforce performance metrics and communications expectations between supervisors and employees.
  • Incorporate closed office space (or conference rooms) as needed for phone calls/meetings that may be of sensitive/confidential nature.
  • Create training for hoteling participants.
  • Continue to evaluate (surveys, feedback sessions, recordkeeping) hoteling program to assess benefits, challenges, improvement areas.


Hoteling programs (if available) are managed at the IC-level. Contact officials in your IC for more information. Email for any general hoteling questions.

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