Make a hotdesking / hotelling booking tool

Copper Contributor

Most office workplaces need a simple tool to manage staff returning to in-person attendance in the building. With a little work, Bookings could be that tool.


A 'booking' or reservation should be the allocation of a desk space for an entire day. That's all.

The 'customer' in that booking is the person using the desk. THERE IS NO NEED TO ASSIGN A STAFF MEMBER.


Booking based on staff member doesn't work, because that person will *always* have some other appointment in their calendar, and therefore is 'unavailable' for an all-day booking in the bookings app.


A typical office (or a single floor of a tower) might have, say, 100 desks available, but perhaps 300 staff who could use a desk for a day. This should be easy, but it isn't at the moment.


I want to create a resource (a standard work desk) and then state the number that are available (lets say 100), and let any staff (from 300) reserve a desk for a day. The resource should let me state the number of available desks, not make me create 100 individual resources and label them individually and then have staff search them all to see which one is available. Just let staff know that they have successfully reserved a desk (and maybe which specific number they got). Let other staff EASILY know that there are still a few desks available.


Yes, staff will go to meetings during that day (which is probably why they're in the office). That is NOT a time clash, so don't tell people that they aren't available for the entire day.

Outlook Calendar should show an all-day appointment (perhaps with desk number), but the time is not 'busy' - it's shown as 'available'.


Then update the status in Teams to show "in the office today and available (or not) right now", not simply "online and available (or not) right now".


All staff should be able to view the bookings page and see which people are in the office on that day. (Ooh look, Geoffrey is in on Wednesday next week. I'll book a desk as well and we can catch up - or perhaps I'll book a different day and avoid him).


Perhaps some workflow could be added to approve the booking. The office manager might perhaps want that power, because, well: megalomania.

The security guard at the front door might also want to ask: Do you have a desk assigned to you? Are you on the list?

The fire department or the health department might want to know how many people are in the office today (for covid regulations, or whatever).

A manager might want to reserve a desk for a visitor (ie: they are not staff, so can't access the system, but someone else can do so on their behalf).


Perhaps there will be a report available that shows who has been in the office and how often they have been there. HR might insist on 10 days per quarter, or two days per week, (or whatever), and the report will show who has/has not met that requirement. Finance might insist on billing the usage of desks to the appropriate department. Very low, or very high, utilization will help the property department know how many desks are actually needed.


As an aside, we'd use this tool for car parking spaces as well (this tower, like most others, doesn't have many at all - it's for VIPs only). No one cares *which* space they get, they just want to know if they have a space allocated to them or not.

2 Replies

@Geoffrey McNaughton 

I agree with you on this one, I have had a need for a similar requirement for a while.

I run a test and integration facility and have a requirement to book out resources on a daily basis. Having each resource have an email address is a massive pain and most of the time people just skip the booking system and ask me directly for a slot. What should have made my life easier just makes it more difficult.


I saw many restaurant table booking systems during the lock down which would have been perfect but im saddled with MS Bookings.

I have been reviewing different solutions for desk hoteling software and the market seems pretty mature. The long standing leader is Condeco. They have been in the game the longest and have most of the bugs worked out. They have also led the way with added features. However there are now quite a few competitors and my question is which of the vendors seems to be most easily integrated with Exchange. Or is MS working on a client solution for desk hoteling that contains features standard to other vendors such as a mobile app, visual floorplan, grouping, auto select, multiday reservations, etc.?