How to Make Hot Desking Work

Flexible employment arrangements are becoming more common these days. And, because employees can work from home at least part-time, their desks and workstations may be idle for a significant chunk of the week. This is an example of the inefficient utilisation of office space and corporate resources. But how do we overcome this issue? Hot desking can be an excellent solution.

What Is Hot Desking?

The Hive Carpenter Singapore
The Hive Hot Desks

The concept of offering a pool of desks and allowing users to choose where they sit — ideally, in a different location each day – is known as hot desking. This replaces the traditional practice of sitting at your personal desk in the same position every day.

The concept stems from the open-plan office format, which was first adopted in the 1950s. And, just as open-plan offices heralded the end of the private office, hot desking may speed the collapse of the personal workstation.

In other words, when a business uses hot-desking, it establishes a co-working space with a pool of individual desks or a shared workspace. When necessary, an employee comes in and takes over any free space/desk/workstation for a set period of time. They may return to the office the next day but sit at a different workstation. As a result, the only permanence that hot-desking provides is daily movement from one workstation to another.

The Pros and Cons of Coworking Space Hot Desk

Hot desk singapore
Benefits of hot desking in Singapore

Setting up shop at a new desk each day allows workers from different teams and departments to mingle and create networks that extend beyond the formal organisational structure. This aids in the dismantling of silos and cliques, as well as the facilitation of “chance” interactions that can assist organisations to become more innovative.

Because it reduces unused space, hot desking can also result in significant cost savings. Assume you have a 50-person team, but 10 of them work from home on Mondays and Wednesdays. That equates to 20 vacant desk spots every week that can be repurposed.

Despite these advantages, hot desking is not widely used.

Some employees feel unsupported as a result of the loss of a familiar workstation and the isolation from coworkers and managers. Others claim that severing close-knit teams reduces communication and creativity and has a negative influence on morale.

Furthermore, rivalry for the “best” desks might generate issues. “First come, first served” may seem fair, but it isn’t in offices when everyone doesn’t work the same hours. If you arrive later in the day, looking for a free desk might be aggravating and unpleasant.

How to Make Hot Desk Singapore Work For Your Business

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Hot desking is not for everyone, so how do you make it work?

1. Make a policy and convey the rules to everyone.

Switching to hot desk Singapore can be a significant cultural shift for your company. However, if you give them the opportunity to help develop the policy, they are more likely to support it.

How will hot-desking be implemented in your organisation? Will it affect all employees or just certain groups and departments? Will hot-desking employees be given new duties and have to adhere to new routines?

To get their support, explain the advantages of hot desking. Explain how it will work and be forthright about how it will affect their working lives. Extensively (but clearly) describe the rules and method, and don’t forget to share the information with your team. Inviting individuals to reply shows that you care about their issues and their well-being. It may also bring to light difficulties that you had not previously considered.

You might also consider incorporating home working into a broader strategy on flexible working. This would free up more desk space and may persuade hesitant hot deskers to embrace the change.

2. Use the hoteling method.

To ensure that everyone who wants to come to the office has a place to work, apply the hoteling method, which requires a person to reserve a desk for a specific period of time. As a result, you will be able to match the demands of your team members with office resources and minimise overcrowding.

3. Use zoning and designate a separate meeting area.

Distractions should be kept to a minimum, if not completely eliminated. As a result, it is preferable to create a distinct space for everyone who is capable of causing them. Furthermore, you can secure particular zones for individuals in need to work together (at least temporarily) and construct bookable meeting rooms to help staff interact more efficiently (and obtain high-quality training).

4. Maintain cleanliness in the shared workstations.

Fears of getting sick with coronavirus remain high. As a result, you must pay close attention to keeping desks nice and clean. Equip each workstation with safety kits containing hand sanitisers, antiseptic wipes, and cleaning materials to prevent healthcare hazards. Encourage your team members to wear facemasks and sanitise their desks before and after the workday. Check employees’ body temperatures at the door, and don’t forget to set the desks in accordance with social distance standards.

Finally, to ensure that everyone is aware of the safety standards, including a section in your hot-desking policy that emphasizes the necessity of excellent cleaning and self-protection behaviors at work.

5. Make technology available.

Proper hot desking necessitates the use of technology. As a result, provide your co-working space with functional office equipment as well as high-speed Internet access. Additionally, ensure that each employee has access to the required collaboration and project management tools in order to stay in touch and be aware of what is going on in the team.

6. Allow staff to personalise their workspaces.

Choosing where to work is only one aspect of having control over how an individual spends their day. They must also be able to customise their experience. Workplace experience apps like Comfy allow users to request temperature and lighting adjustments to help them feel more at ease in their chosen workstation.

7. Launch a test pilot.

Try a pilot on one floor with a dedicated team and iterate to demonstrate to others that it has been tested and proved before rolling it out more widely.

8. Get your employees excited.

Communicate frequently and early in advance of the launch. Motivate employees by emphasizing all of the new conveniences and benefits that this change will bring to their work environment.

9. Get feedback on a regular basis and analyse the data to figure out how to improve.

Once you’ve launched, it’s vital to keep an eye on what’s going on and how well it’s performing. Survey employees on a regular basis to see how they are reacting to the shift, and examine the data carefully to see if the space planning ratios are effective. Could you raise the ratio while still keeping staff happy? Make intelligent adjustments based on the data to establish the proper balance.

Summary

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Is hot desking for you?

People no longer have assigned workspaces in a hot-desking office. Instead, they rotate around new desks each day. This can both free up space and save money. It may also discourage the formation of cliques and promote innovation, collaboration, and networking.

However, there are several disadvantages to hot desking. Some workers may feel “shut off” from their team or a lack of “ownership” of their environment, which can have an impact on productivity.

If you’re adopting hot desk Singapore in your organisation, you may avoid these risks by speaking with employees to gain buy-in, and then carefully managing the transition.

Make sure that you have the necessary technologies in place to support the new method of working. Consider whether workstations will be assigned on a “first come, first served” basis or via “hoteling” or “zoning” method. Provide secure storage for personal items, and ensure that desks are kept clean. Finally, ensure that your team members feel supported throughout the process.

arthur-truong osdoro

Enterprise software development experience. More recently in positions including CTO, Lead Developer and Head of Product in Australia. Deep expertise in property and legal technology in Australia with a specialty in lead generation and tech scalability across Asia-Pacific.

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