What You Need to Know About the Unassigned Experience

Wondering if your organization should adopt a strategy like free address or hoteling? Have an office with unassigned seating, but questioning if it’s working? We’re here to help.

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A group of people work together at an expansive, bar-height worksurface. Nearby, two colleagues sit on stools at a bar-height table.

For many people working in offices, freedom from the confines of an assigned desk feels like a no brainer. For organizations, ditching traditional seat assignments makes it easy to adapt when the company grows or shrinks and reduces real estate costs.

85 percent of office professionals want a workplace where they can choose how and where to do their work.

of office professionals want an office where they can choose how and where to do their work 1

82 percent of people say they have their best ideas in flexible offices.

of people say they have their best ideas in flexible offices 1

70 percent of offices are open plan.

of offices are open plan 2

Two people work on laptops in a casual setting. One person sits at a bar-height table, and the other sits in an upholstered Eames Shell Chair overlooking a window.

Is Your Organization Ready for an Unassigned Work Strategy?

  • Does unassigned seating feel appropriate for your employees?
  • Are people comfortable working on the go?
  • Would an unassigned work experience feel like an upgrade?
  • Can you provide a variety of settings designed for independent work?
  • Will people get more from the experience than what is being taken away from them?
  • Will everyone from the CEO to the intern be expected to follow the same protocols?

What Unassigned Strategy is Right for You?

Not every unassigned work experience is the same. Check out the latest trends to see what might work best for your people.

A woman sets up shop for the day at a hot-desk, which is workstation that's available for anyone to use.

Free Address or Hot-Desking

People settle in and set up shop for the day at empty, available desks.

A pair of colleagues work together at a desk that they reserved ahead of time. One person sits in an Aeron Chair, and the other sits on cushion-topped storage.


People reserve or use non-dedicated desks as needed.

A trio of colleagues have an impromptu meeting in a semi-enclosed grouping of Public Office Landscape lounge chairs and screens.


People switch between an array of settings depending on the task at hand.

Dive Deeper into the Unassigned Work Experience

Two Behaviors to Encourage with an Unassigned Workplace Strategy

Why you should motivate people to connect and explore in the workplace.

See the Research
Three Signs Your Unassigned Workplace Strategy is Failing

What to do when your culture, management practices, and resources are turning your office into an adversary of your people.

See the Research

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    1. http://press.capitalone.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=251626&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=2297152
    2. https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2014/12/30/google-got-it-wrong-the-open-office-trend-is-destroying-the-workplace/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.d776b4caf7fe

    *All other content comes from Herman Miller Herman Miller Research, “The Unassigned Experience,” Fall 2016.