The pandemic has transformed the way we work, and hybrid schedules are here to stay. To make the most out of office floor plans, hot desk booking software has risen to the occasion. Hot desks (a.k.a. first-come-first-served desk reservations) allow employees to access unused workstations in a pinch. The distinction for desk hoteling is reservations for workspaces are submitted in advance.
Hot desk booking software describes one element of a new wave of space utilization tools. These systems also allow users to reserve other items like meeting rooms, equipment, or parking spaces. Beyond that, they provide management teams with detailed analytics, to uncover workspace trends.
In this article, I’ll review the 10 best tools for hot-desking and related space management functions. I’ll highlight their core features, as well as elements that make them unique.
Dynamic workplace solution with deep usage data analytics
Wondering what I look for when selecting the best hot desk booking software for this list? Here’s a summary of my evaluation criteria:
User Interface (UI): I prefer software with a clean, colourful, and visually attractive user interface that makes the booking process enjoyable.
Usability: I prioritize software that’s simple and straightforward to use, with clear menus and navigation for processes and preferences.
Integrations: To maximize productivity, I look for systems that integrate with commonly used office programs and calendars, to create a seamless experience and keep information organized.
Value for $: I appreciate software with transparent pricing models and the ability to scale up to add more bookable spaces easily. Since many systems have modular designs, pricing details are not always readily available as prices are customized based on the specific modules needed.
Hot Desk Booking Software: Key Features
Hot desk booking software is straightforward by design, to ensure the booking process is simple. Here’s a summary of the key features you can expect from the best hot desk booking software:
Self-service bookings: A feature that enables all employees to make bookings themselves, rather than bottlenecking requests through administrators or managers.
Mobile device accessibility: This is an essential feature, as it allows users to book from anywhere, anytime, while also enabling touchless check-ins via mobile devices.
Detail-rich floor plans: Users should be able to visually locate the workspace they want to book from an accurate, and often interactive map. Some platforms even include wayfinding features that help users orient themselves within the workspace.
Flexible booking types: Every workspace is unique with different types of work areas. The best platforms offer flexible booking types (e.g., for desks, conference rooms, parking stalls, and equipment) as well as flexible booking arrangements (e.g., hourly, all-day, multiple days, etc.).
Team zones or neighbourhoods: This feature creates designated areas for specific teams or departments, ensuring better team collaboration while in the office. This feature can also be used to create designated quiet zones too.
Search tools to find colleagues: To further enhance productivity and collaboration, hot desk booking systems allow users to search for other employees to find out when they’re going to be in the office, and where they’ll be sitting.
Health & safety features: This category includes a whole host of features such as built-in health screening questionnaires, occupancy limits, social distancing parameters, data to assist with contract tracing, and automations that flag desks for sanitization in between users.
Usage metrics: The best systems keep track of usage data to support higher-level workspace analysis processes. This helps management teams quantify the cost of unused space and understand where they can further optimize or reduce their floor space.
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Overviews Of The 10 Best Hot Desk Booking Software
Here’s a brief description of each hot desk booking software to showcase each system’s best use case, plus some noteworthy features, and screenshots to give a snapshot of the user interface.
Users can make self-service bookings through calendar views, interactive maps, or Skedda’s full-feature mobile app.
Skedda’s customized booking system allows you to control the usage of all your corporate spaces including desks, meeting rooms, studios, labs, or anything else you want to make reservable. Their system is designed to remove the hassle of manually managing spaces by automating the process and enabling self-service bookings. This means you only have to set up your bookable items and automated user rules once. After that, your staff will be able to help themselves.
Their floorplan maps are interactive, making it easy to view and make bookings directly from the map interface. Included in the floor plan is a time-of-day range-slider, so users can determine exactly when their favourite spot will be available again. Users can also make reservations through their booking calendar, which allows platform admins to review bookings using day, month, grid (all listings) or list (per space or user) views. For pay-per-use venues, the platform also makes it easy to collect payments from users during their initial booking, which is saved for convenient reuse.
To ensure easy access, Skedda has full-featured native apps for Android and iOS devices that work for users, as well as owners and administrators. The system also integrates with other commonly used calendar programs such as Google Calendar (and Google Workspace), Microsoft Outlook, and iCloud, and with communication tools like Microsoft Teams, Slack, Trello, Basecamp, Mailchimp, and many others.
Pricing for Skedda starts at $5 USD per month. A 30-day free trial of their premium version is available, as well as a free demo. They also have a freemium version with limited features for up to 5 bookable spaces.
Condeco makes it simple to search for co-workers from within their mobile app.
Hybrid workforces will appreciate the flexibility of Condeco’s system, which allows for different types of desk booking. Fixed workspaces are permanently assigned to an employee, but can be used and booked by others if the main assignee is away. Flexible workspaces can be assigned to one or more regular users, but reassigned if those employees don’t check in on the given day. And lastly, bookable workspaces have no regular users and can be reserved by anyone at any time.
Condeco supports self-service user bookings through their web tool, their mobile app, or through Microsoft Outlook. Users can browse their visual floor plan for the space they want, and book it immediately through the map view. Users can even reserve parking spaces – a very handy feature.
Condeco also includes some helpful teamwork and collaboration features. Users can search for other co-workers who are in the office, or set their own status as active so other colleagues can find them. For large organizations with sub-departments, Condeco can delineate zones by setting up ‘neighbourhoods’ where spaces can only be booked by members of a designated group, to keep team members together.
Condeco has integrations with 15+ software programs including Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Teams, Zoom Rooms, and others. They also have an API to support additional customized integrations.
Pricing details for Condeco are not readily available, but a free demo can be requested via their website.
Employees can reserve hot desks, conference rooms and more using Smartway2’s mobile app or web interface.
With Smartway2, users can book everything from hot desks, conference rooms, parking spots, or other equipment to enhance their productivity while venturing back to the office. Their mobile “book here and now” feature supports bookings on the fly, or users can book in advance using their calendar feature.
Room panels can be installed in meeting rooms or other common spaces so people can quickly make a booking, or check-in for an existing meeting using swipe cards, mobile device activation, or facial recognition. Through their Outlook integration, you can also book a room while simultaneously checking your colleague’s availability for a meeting.
Modern hybrid work challenges are well-integrated into Smartway2’s workplace scheduling tool. Their COVID-safe hot desk booking solution allows for social distancing between booked spaces, manages how many occupants can book spaces at the same time, and incorporates time for sanitation services in-between hot desk bookings. Their user analytics also facilitate contact tracing, should the need arise. Another useful feature is their Smart Desk Recovery tool, which scours the systems for any no-shows and releases the unused bookings.
Smartway2 is well-integrated with Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft Outlook, as well as Office 365.
Pricing details for Smartway2 are not readily available, but a free demo can be requested via their website.
Users can book desks directly from the floor plan map, or through Eden Workplace’s mobile app.
Eden Workplace’s desk booking software is modular by design, making it a really affordable option for small businesses who want to maintain a flexible, hybrid workforce. Their system includes separate modules for desk booking, room scheduling, visitor management, COVID-19 team safety, and modern ticketing for IT support.
Within their desk booking module, system administrators can limit which desks are available for booking, to ensure social distancing between workers. Their system also supports office neighbourhoods, allowing employees from the same department to book spots close to each other for improved collaboration. The system also tracks usage metrics, making it easier for operations teams to analyze their usage and reduce wasted space.
In addition to their desk and room booking modules, Eden Workplace also has an embedded ticketing system, which can be used for any type of employee service request, such as IT support, facilities needs, or document formatting requests. Designed to act as a central hub for service requests, this module also includes analytics so teams can understand what type of support their employees need the most.
Eden Workplace integrates with Google Calendar, Slack, Microsoft Teams, common HRIS platforms like Gusto, Hibob, and BambooHR, and many other access control and single sign-on directory service applications.
Pricing for Eden Workplace is very transparent and modular, depending on the type of booking services you need. For their hot desk booking service, pricing starts at $2.25 USD/desk/month, sold in sets of 25 desks. Their room scheduling software can also be added for free for up to 10 rooms, and their COVID-19 safety features can also be added for free for 1 location up to 50 employees.
SpaceIQ’s color-coded and detail-rich floor plan makes it easy for visitors to orient themselves.
Used in over 85 countries by 10,000+ organizations, SpaceIQ has three distinct workplace efficiency tools that address space management and space accounting:
SiQ – a streamlined workplace management and hoteling software for companies of any size that want to get started quickly
Archibus – an integrated workplace management system (IWMS) that organizes spaces, assets and facilities, which can be customized or run out-of-the-box
Serraview – an enterprise-level workplace management system for desk hoteling, with detailed analytics for companies with complex structures or needs
All combined, their products offer a full range of agile workplace functions like hot desking, hoteling, desk neighbourhoods, ratio seating, space inventory and layouts, workplace occupancy and vacancy management tools, and the ability to host plans for multiple office spaces easily. Their systems also help operations teams plan for new staff and relocate equipment easily with intuitive suggestions, next steps and notifications. Accounting teams will also appreciate the platform’s ability to allocate the cost of team spaces either by square footage or personnel.
SpaceIQ also has a Wayfinder Portal that makes it easy for staff to orient themselves in the space using interactive, easy-to-read maps with color-coding and distinctive shapes. As well, photos of workspaces can be uploaded to help users visually confirm they are in the right spot. Their maps also identify the locations of useful items like printers, washrooms, cafeterias, stairs, first aid stations, sanitizing equipment, and anything else worth flagging.
SpaceIQ products integrate with Google Drive, Namely, PeopleHR, Slack, Losant, and with common calendar programs like Google Calendar, Microsoft Exchange Calendar, and Office 365 Calendar. Their system also supports single sign-on, secure file transfer protocol (SFTP) data transfers, and other customizations through their open API.
Pricing details for SpaceIQ products are not readily available, but a free demo can be requested via their website.
WorkInSync’s sanitization workflow automatically flags desks for cleaning immediately after each use.
WorkInSync is a hybrid workplace scheduling solution with all the standard features you’d expect for a hot desk booking application, and more. The system helps managers stay on top of their hybrid employees by asking staff to fill out an Employee Preference Report once per week, indicating the days they would like to work from home or in the office.
When staff are ready to make a booking, they can browse the interactive booking platform to find seats near other team members, and search for workstations with special features, including cubicles with ergonomic chairs, or dual monitors. Within the same process, employees can also book parking spaces too. On the day of a booking request, the system automatically sends a health risk assessment questionnaire to ensure employees have no cold or flu symptoms before heading to the office.
The platform boasts several unique features that I haven’t seen in other systems. To improve productivity, their software has integrations with Google Assistant, Alexa and Siri so employees can reserve desk spaces during their drive to the office. Once they arrive, the platform’s Mask Detector feature asks employees to confirm they’re wearing a face mask by uploading a selfie of them wearing it. After that, the next step is a temperature check using WorkInSync’s digital thermal hand scanner, which checks and records employee temperatures to ensure no fevers are developing. QR code scans also work in tandem with their Contactless Access Management module and Digi-Pass, ensuring contactless check-in for booked desks or meeting spaces.
WorkInSync integrates with Microsoft Teams, Slack, Google Assistant, Microsoft Outlook, G-Suite Calendars, Microsoft ADFS, Okta, One Login, Honeywell EBI, and Siri.
Pricing for WorkInSync starts at $2.50 USD/user/month. A free plan is also available for organizations with less than 50 employees. A free demo can also be requested via their website.
Robin’s transparent usage analytics let users see how many assigned, hot, hoteled or unavailable desks there are at any given time.
Robin’s sophisticated desk booking system aims to empower employees, while giving management teams the tools they need to manage safety, security and space utilization effectively. Thanks to their real-time analytics, users always know how many desks are assigned, hot, hoteled or flexible at any given moment. Bookings can also be made easily through their mobile app, desktop interface, or through kiosks placed at strategic locations around your office, like meeting rooms.
Their system includes useful functions to improve employee productivity, such as wayfinding features, and platform searchability, enabling employees to find co-workers quickly, rather than wasting time walking around. For meeting room scheduling, Robin has space utilization features to ensure a meeting room intended for up to 10 people isn’t booked by groups or 2 or 3. Check-in features also remove ghost meetings, meaning a room booking will be released if no one checks-in for the meeting within a set amount of time.
Robin integrates with Microsoft Office 365, BlueJeans, Exchange, Google Calendar, Slack, and Zoom.
Pricing for Robin starts at $1,500 USD/year for their Basic service level. A free 14-day trial and free demo can also be requested via their website.
To ensure a safe working environment for all, Tactic prompts employees to complete a health questionnaire prior to entering the office.
Tactic’s workplace management software was designed to keep hybrid workplaces running safely and smoothly, while also incorporating some interesting engagement features to help with staff retention. Their flexible platform allows users to reserve desks or meeting rooms, and invite co-workers to join them in the office, all within the booking process. To further enhance collaboration, the system also asks users “who’s going to be in the office today?” and presents the information visually for all users to view at a glance.
To ensure a safe working environment for all, Tactic’s system includes mandatory health check-ins for office visitors, capacity management tools, and detailed analytics to support contract tracing as needed. On top of all that, the system can also track the vaccination status of your workers—a modern requirement for certain industries. Tactic also put a heavy emphasis on their user experience which was purposefully designed to eliminate common technology frustrations. As well, their interactive maps update in real-time, making it simple to find the best available spot on the fly too.
Tactic integrates with Slack, Google Calendar, Microsoft Outlook, and Zoom. All features are also available through their Android and iOS apps.
Pricing for Tactic starts at $249 USD/month/office. A free 14-day trial is also available.
Cloudbooking’s integrated wayfinding apps make it easy for employees to travel from point-to-point.
Cloudbooking’s software combines desk booking functionality with digital real estate planning tools. With so many organizations reducing their in-office headcounts, this is a useful tool that helps management teams make data-driven real estate decisions such as floor plan consolidations or office space downsizing plans.
In addition to their hot desk booking system that boasts up-to-the-minute updates, Cloudbooking also supports different desk type configurations (hot, fixed, flexible, etc.) as well as 3D floor plans showing live availability. More advanced features include occupancy sensors to understand usage patterns, QR code check-in/check-out abilities, and digital signage to improve space accessibility. The system is also available in multiple languages: English, French, German, Polish, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese.
Cloudbooking integrates fully with Microsoft Exchange, Office 365, Outlook, Google Workspace, and active directory + single sign-on applications like PingIdentity, Okta, OneLogin, Azure and ForgeRock, among others. Custom integrations with additional platforms can also be configured using their API.
Pricing details for Cloudbooking are not readily available, but a free demo can be requested via their website.
OfficeSpace’s user-friendly booking system includes interactive maps and touchless check-in capabilities using mobile devices.
OfficeSpace’s software supports hot desking, desk hoteling, free addressing (sensor activated check-ins), activity-based working, and booking neighbourhoods to keep team members closer together. Their user-friendly system works from all manner of devices and supports bookings via mobile app, touchscreen kiosk, desktop computers, or even from within Slack or Microsoft Teams. To help limit surface sharing, a touchless check-in feature is also included in their mobile app too.
The platform’s data analytics also aim to help with future demand forecasting by giving administrators access to usage and adoption data in their Insights Hub. Within the data dashboard you can identify seating preferences, track trends, and see which workstations go unused. This valuable data is intended to improve the flexibility of your hybrid workspace arrangements by optimizing how your desks are configured and used.
Beyond that, OfficeSpace also includes tools for scenario planning to experiment with different layout changes. To dive even deeper into your data, their portfolio reports combine your lease information with your usage data to form real estate reports that show you where your budget is going to waste, allowing you to address those issues head on.
OfficeSpace integrates with 35+ commonly used applications including Active Directory, ADP, LDAP, OneLogin, Oracle, PeopleSoft,
Pricing details for OfficeSpace are not readily available, but a free demo can be requested via their website.
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Other Hot Desk Booking Options
Here are a few more options that didn’t make the best hot desk booking software list:
HotDesk+ - Multilingual hot desk booking software with built-in tool to help companies achieve net zero emissions
Envoy - Straightforward hot desk booking tool with linked health questionnaire and modular configuration
Teem - Hot desk and desk hoteling software with touchless mobile bookings and flags for desk sanitization in between users.
Yarooms - Plug-and-play desk booking solution with digital signage and visitor management solutions.
Kadence - Desk booking platform with intuitive interface and fast set-up time - available as a 14-day free trial.
Gaia Workspace - Collaborative workspace solution with advanced employee screening plus vaccine & COVID-19 test tracking - available as a 30-day free trial.
Billie - Hot desk booking app with digitally rendered 3D floor plans and desk neighbourhoods to keep team members together or create designated quiet zones.
Fischer & Kerrn - Sophisticated booking system with desk booking panels, smart desk sensors, occupancy sensors, and ID card readers.
EMS - Comprehensive workspace booking system with integrated video conferencing and customizations for academic venues like on-campus classes and seating for exams.
CXApp - Workplace experience mobile app focused on agility, with wayfinding features like bluedot guidance, marked amenities, a desk availability map with interactive bookings, and contract tracing features.
SmartenSpaces - Advanced booking platform with AI recommendations, amenity bookings, a hybrid work scheduling tool for teams, in-app vaccine status checks, and employee engagement features.
Meetio - Touchless hot desking app with QR code check-ins, interactive layouts and find-a-colleague feature.
Flowscape Solutions - Desk management solution that supports bookings on behalf of other staff and booking spaces based on specialized equipment availability.
Fm:systems - Modern desk management platform with pan-and-zoom floorplans, touchless reservations and check-ins, QR code readers and auto-release features.
Officely - Fully integrated with Slack, this desk booking tool includes desk neighbourhoods, COVID-19 health surveys, contract tracing, and usage analytics.
Joan Desk - Straightforward, mobile-accessible reservation tool with embedded health screening questionnaire - available as a free trial.
NSpace - Easy-to-use hot desk platform with touchless check-in, teammate visibility, and automated notifications for desk sanitization, plus flags for any cleaning delays.
FlexO by Oomnis - Multi-resource booking and management tool for desks, conference rooms, huddle spaces, parking spaces, and mobile equipment - available on-premise, through a private cloud, or through SaaS.
Agile Quest - Agile workplace booking platform well-suited for landlords, government agencies, higher education institutions and co-working spaces.
Pronestor - Straightforward tool for booking hot, flexible and fixed desks in real-time, with auto-release feature - available as a 14-day free trial.
Tribeloo - Scalable space management system with AI-powered automatic assignments, actionable to-do lists customized per location, and other plug-and-play features.
MRI Workplace Central - Space utilization tool focused on optimizing floor plans to reduce cost and inform strategic decision-making, while validating employee needs.
Roomzilla - Advanced workplace reservation system with unique admin features like an approval queue, private meetings not visible by others, and tools to remove ghost reservations.
Smart Space - Modern desk booking solution with wayfinding features, occupancy sensors, and advanced desk utilization metrics at a granular level.
Space Connect - Easy-to-use desk booking platform with automatic ‘booking conflict resolution’, staff locator feature, and admin-level ability to make or cancel bookings on behalf of staff, executives or entire teams.
StaffMap - Customizable desk booking software well-suited for move management and asset management, integrated with Google Maps.
Zynq Workspace - All-in-one office management platform for configurable workspaces with tight access control features and quick setup.
OfficeRnD - Hybrid workplace tool with visual desk booking and employee engagement features such as in-app communications regarding events, benefits or policy updates.
Just How Common Is Hybrid Working?
As the global pandemic continues its ebb and flow, hybrid working has risen as the go-to workplace model of the times. Wondering just how common it is? Here are some interesting stats from recent research published in 2022:
80% of survey respondents expect to work from home a minimum of 3 times per week
63% of high-growth businesses are already using hybrid work models
66% of executives report considering reorganizing their office spaces to accommodate hybrid work
With that many employees shifting between home and office work locations, it makes sense to invest in technology that organizes the process and captures useful data at the same time.
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