Hot desking is the practice of allowing office workers to “check-in” to an open seat and/or an open desk rather than having a specific, assigned seat.
This essentially means that seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis for members, employees, flexible staff, or contractors of the organisation.
Hot desking can be defined as reducing the number of workstations in an office suite while increasing the space to encourage a more diverse range of working styles.
Hot-desking has gained the support of some managers, who like and encourage the idea, while others are clearly opposed to it, as is to be expected with new ideas.
Why Is Hot Desking Rising in Popularity?
Large corporations have begun to incorporate hot desking and hot desking strategies into their office layout design.
This office planning method is also popular among startups and smaller businesses. It is useful when a second office is opened and new employees are hired, which usually results in the establishment of hot-desking areas on the floor.
The need for flexibility, speed in establishing new office spaces, and lowering the costs of launching an office space, such as furnishing and renovating, have all contributed to coworking spaces’ renewed interest and relevance.
Shared office spaces, also known as coworking spaces, encourage idea sharing not only within your company, but also across multiple companies, with the added benefit of increasing your network and visibility.
Furthermore, coworking memberships are more adaptable than office space rentals, making them an appealing addition to a company’s office space strategy.
Membership in a coworking space can also work with other services that complement the hot desking strategy well, such as instant access to additional workstations, meeting room access, or international coworking membership.
Who Benefits From Hot Desking?
Employees who are more productive while being mobile and independent, and who have a well-defined work process, benefit the most from hot-desking.
It is critical to consider which employees, or groups of employees, will best handle this new situation in the workstations. As we’ve seen, there are numerous advantages to taking this factor into account.
Discipline is also an important factor for those who work at a hot desk. The ability to choose a workstation or area based on individual needs and preferences is seen as a benefit for those who can work well without supervision or the need to consult team members frequently (that is, more senior staff members).
Hot desking is common in workplaces with flexible schedules for employees, where not all employees work in the same office at the same time or on the same schedules. Employees in such workplaces use existing offices only infrequently or for short periods of time, leaving offices vacant. Employees make better use of company space and resources by sharing such offices. However, there are some drawbacks to hot desking, such as a lack of permanent space, an unclear work hierarchy, and potentially inconvenient communication between team members.
Another version of hot desking can be found in a workplace where employees have multiple tasks and multiple employees may require a specific workstation, but not for all of their responsibilities. As a result, a permanent workstation can be made available to any worker as needed, with employees sharing the station as needed. This could be for a single aspect of one’s job, such as when a salesperson needs an office for a client meeting but does not otherwise require a personal office. Another example would be when employees are required to perform specific tasks at work stations set up in an assembly line fashion.
Individual workstations are not set up as personal offices there. A collection of such workstations is sometimes referred to as a mobility center.
Hot desking can now include the routing of voice and other messaging services to any location where the user can log into their secure corporate network, thanks to the growth of mobility services. As a result, their phone number, email, and instant messaging can now be routed to their network location rather than just their physical desk.
Hot desking is not a good option for teams or departments that need quiet spaces and want to avoid interruptions. It is, however, a welcome approach for those who can work autonomously and want to feel more flexible in their office!
Companies That Use Hot Desks
Here is a list of well-known companies from around the world that have made the switch to an open office and have no plans to go back.
Deloitte jumped on the hot-desking bandwagon when they relocated to Amsterdam’s Edge, a futuristic and “green” building. The consulting firm added 1,000 hot-desking desks for approximately 2,500 employees.
In response to a failing collaborative environment, Microsoft implemented an activity-based workplace. The goal was to improve communication between Microsoft customers and employees. And it was effective. Like the products it represents, the traditional Microsoft office model has evolved into a communal, flexible, and progressive workspace.
Every morning, employees at Citigroup have a choice of desks thanks to the company’s open office plan. The bank made the switch to improve communication and employee energy while also saving money.
When you walk into LEGO’s London headquarters, you’ll be greeted by flexible work zones with no specific seat assignments. Employees select the setting that best supports the activity or task at hand. No one needs to leave the office for a change of scenery, thanks to a mix of central, open booths and areas, small huddle rooms, private meeting rooms, and plenty of wall space to write on.
5. Macquarie Group
According to a staff survey conducted at the Macquarie Group’s Sydney headquarters, the majority of its 2,500 employees have no desire to return to traditional seat assignments or work styles. The office was built to accommodate 2,500 people on any given day.
How to Know If Hot Desking Will Work For You?
The advantages of hot-desking are very real. Though it may not be appropriate for every company (for example, those that are overly formalised and hierarchical, or those that deal with sensitive data on a regular basis), hot-desking can be a perfect solution for a variety of businesses.
Organisational culture is crucial to this shift. Thus, before implementing hot-desking, you should consider the cultural aspects of the workplace, as well as the size of your team, business needs, and employee interests:
- Do you want to save money on real estate?
- Do you want to promote collaboration and drive innovation?
- Is your workplace casual enough to allow you to work efficiently in a flexible environment?
- Do you allow your employees to work from home?
- Will they be okay with sharing a desk?
- Will you be able to set up separate co-working areas for team members whose processes may distract others?
If you answered “yes” to at least some of these questions, there’s a good chance that hot-desking will work well for you.
(RELATED: Will coworking continue post-covid in Asia?)