Musical Chairs

The Inhospitable Hotel

Paying attention to details is no casual matter. A poorly developed hoteling arrangement may wind up costing, rather than saving, a company money. One risk is that the company will, thanks to its new office setup, become unattractive to new recruits. That's especially true when it comes to recruiting senior executives, says Hoffman.

"People who've been in the work force for 10 years or more are used to having a luxurious corner office," Hoffman says. "It takes a certain amount of salesmanship to make the candidate understand that hoteling helps the company, which in turn helps the employee."

Existing employees may also become estranged by an inhospitable hoteling setup. It pays to treat the implementation of hoteling with the same care Conrad Hilton might have used to open a new resort. For instance, major issues concerning lighting and office supplies arose not long after Hoffman's company began hoteling.

While the problem with the lamps in the temporary workstations was easily remedied, the office supply dilemma was more difficult to solve. People who came in to work were frustrated to find that the station's previous occupant had absconded with pens, paper and other supplies, Hoffman says. His solution? Assign a housekeeping staff, similar to what a hotel uses to keep its guest rooms in order, to stock hoteling desks with necessities.

Hoteling may not be the easiest change you've tried to implement, but those who have tried it say it works a lot better than you might have imagined. "I'm amazed more people don't do it," Hoffman says, "because the benefits are so compelling.

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This article was originally published in the April 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Musical Chairs.

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