It is now widely acknowledged that businesses must provide employees with flexibility and choice in how they work. Working from home and hot desking are both viable options, but how do they differ and what are the advantages of each?
What Is Hot Desking?
A hot desking setup is one in which employees are scheduled to come to the office on shifts in order to maximise office space efficiency. Employees typically share a workstation or desk when they are in the building. Employees who are not present in the office will frequently work remotely, such as from home, a café, or anywhere else.
Hot desking makes better use of space, especially if you work in a small office with limited movement. Rather than cramming 20, even 30 employees into an office at the same time, perhaps 10 to 15 people will work in the office while the remaining employees work remotely. These employees may not even be in the office at the same time.
Even if you have a larger office, hot-desking may allow you to reduce office space while also lowering real estate costs. There are also promises that hot desking will foster greater collaboration and bonding among employees because they will be working in close proximity.
Employers can reduce space demand by up to 30 percent through hot-desking by shrinking the office and lowering your carbon footprint (not to mention your expenses) with fewer people in the office.
However, hot desking is not suitable for every business. If you have a small business with 30 or fewer employees, hot desking may work for you. The same is true if some of your employees already work remotely or are frequently out of the office on business trips.
The Advantages of Hot Desking
- Fewer empty desks result in a more cost-effective use of space.
- Increased interaction among employees
- Implementation of a clear desk policy
The Disadvantages of Hot Desking
- Staff might prefer to have ownership of a space
- Comprehensive wayfinding may be required
- Not enough seats when everyone is in the office
What Is Remote Working/ Work From Home?
Remote working allows employees to work with the least amount of constraints and the greatest amount of flexibility. The practice has been assigned to the entire workplace, where employees can work from any location they choose — whether it’s a traditional desk, a standing desk, a break room, or even the staff kitchen. In a remote working setup, employees may prefer to work from home or in a nearby café. It is important to be as open and flexible as possible in your company’s approach to where and when employees work.
(READ: Is Remote Work the Future?)
In other words, when your office implements remote working, you give all of your employees the option to work remotely if they so desire. Remote working is based on the idea that “work is an activity we do, not a place we go.” If employees believe they can do their best work from home or a café rather than the office, you should give them that option. They can also work in the office if they prefer.
Some people mix up WFH and flexible working. Opens in a new tab, but they are not the same thing. There is no need for a nine-to-five schedule when working from home. Employees can instead plan their days around the hours that are most productive for them, allowing them to get the most work done.
Remote working or WFH promises more flexibility in terms of where you work, whereas flexible working allows employees to choose when they work. That is the primary distinction between the two.
Remote working is thought to benefit both employers and employees in a variety of ways. Your office staff believes you trust them by granting them more autonomy in order for them to do better work as a result.
Creating a more autonomous culture based on WFH can be a huge help in attracting and retaining top talent. It is viewed as a source of competitive advantage for employers as well as an employee benefit, though it requires an enabling IT infrastructure and appropriate technology to function.
The Advantages of Remote Working/ Work From Home
- Improved sense of autonomy and freedom for employees
- Improved job satisfaction that results in better engagement and retention
- Less floor space required, reducing operating costs
The Disadvantages of Remote Working/ Work From Home?
- A culture shift is required for both employees and management
- Should be implemented to the entire organisation and staff can’t choose to opt-out
- More stringent technology and IT infrastructure requirements
How Are Hot Desking and Remote Working Different?
While hot desking and WFH/ remote working have many similarities, they are not the same workplace model. Here are some key distinctions between the two.
1. Hot desking is not entirely remote work.
The primary distinction between hot-desking and WFH is how remote work is incorporated into the equation. As we discussed in the previous section, remote working allows your employees to work from home or elsewhere 100 percent of the time. They are welcome to come into the office, but it is neither guaranteed nor required. Hot desking, on the other hand, is not centered on working remotely. It’s mostly about desk-sharing, and in order to share a desk, your staff must be present in the office.
2. Hot desking benefits the employers more than the employees.
While both hot-desking and remote working are beneficial in many ways, the latter offers more to employees. In a hot desk office, the benefits are more for the employer, such as cost savings and potential productivity increases.
3. Employees have less freedom in hot desking.
There is also a significant difference between hot-desking and remote working in terms of freedom or lack thereof. As a remote worker, you have the freedom to choose where you want to work every day. When it comes to hot-desking, there’s no point in getting too comfortable with your remote working setup if you’ll have to abandon it the next day to work in the office on a shift.
Hot Desking vs Working From Home: Which Solution Fits You?
The office space rental industry is evolving, both in terms of design and purpose.
Business leaders and employees alike are rethinking how and where they work – video conferencing, collaborative software tools – and where they work – at home, in a coffee shop, or hot desking.
One of the best ways to determine which workplace solution is right for your company is to consider your company culture as well as the changing needs of your employees. Look for a solution that integrates with your existing tech stack and keeps your space flexible. If your office prioritises safety, efficiency, flexibility, and mobility, you are more likely to reap the benefits of hot desking. If your focus is freedom for your employees, then working from home is your best bet.