Some companies are moving to a system of seating for employees where the workspaces are not assigned to anyone in particular. Each employee can just pick any spot when they arrive at work. This system is called hoteling (but according to Wikipedia if reservations aren’t necessary, it should be called “hot-desking”).
The benefits from a company point-of-view are obvious: saving costs. If employees are in the office 75% of the time on average, then the company only needs to offer 75% as many work stations. And with people having to store their work items in lockers, they typically don’t accumulate as much paper and other items so that the work stations can be smaller.
In talking to employees about this system, I was surprised to learn that the most common concern is the lack of a space to call one’s own. I would have thought that other concerns would be greater such as the time it takes to bring work items from a locker and set up each morning, and more time to tear down each evening.
Another possible concern is the inevitable distraction that comes with denser seating. But, in informal polling, I’ve found that the biggest concern is not having a feeling of ownership over some space that can be filled with family pictures and other personal items.
While some employees grumble, the prospect of large savings will drive more employers to adopt some form of hoteling.