Is Hot Desking Right For Your Office?

Here are some key factors to consider for introducing this organization workplace system in your facilities.

By Jessica Day
Hot desking is a hot topic.

With the number of people working in coworking spaces worldwide predicted to double by 2024 (to around five million), this trend is here to stay.

If you want to introduce this organizational workplace system to your employees, there are some key factors to consider. In this article, we’ll look at everything you need to know about hot desking, including how to make it work in your workplace (and keep your employees happy).

hot desking
Photo by Alex Kotliarskyi on Unsplash

What Is Hot Desking?

Hot desking is a flexible way for employees to inhabit coworking spaces. Essentially, all staff share a workspace — be it a desk or a workstation. There is no formal reservation system; employees simply find a place to work each day and claim it as their own. Employees either operate on a rota system to divide their time between desks or on an ad hoc basis.

What’s Good About Hot Desking?

Flexibility For Employees. Many businesses now embrace a flexible workplace approach with employees working from home increasingly frequently. Hot desking allows staff to come and go as they please and fits perfectly into the new hybrid working world.

Reduces Real Estate Costs. Hot desking maximizes the use of office space, allowing staff the opportunity to use any empty spaces left by colleagues working from home. And the less space you need, the less rent you may need to pay.

Fewer Hardware Costs. A call center for small business services that implements a hot desking strategy will have fewer hardware costs. Such an approach requires a business to make use of cloud-based software instead of clunky hardware. Cloud-based phone systems, for example, mean that not every staff member will require a dedicated phone. Whoever is on shift can simply dial into their extension from their hot desk, saving on equipment and maintenance costs.

Reinforces Social Interaction. Flexible working locations can promote a friendlier and more sociable and communicative work environment. Working from home 24/7 and sitting in endless audio calls is bad for the soul and can lead to the dreaded Zoom fatigue. Implementing hot desking helps employees get some face time with each other and, thereby, get to know each other better as they move around the office space.

Enhances Collaboration. Working closely with colleagues in a hot desk workspace boosts teamwork by making team members more accessible. Employees can discuss ideas and answer each other’s questions at will, making collaboration simple and instant.

Hot desking allows employees across all departments within a team to be involved in documenting important business methods so that you’re able to input a complete version of these into your business’s process mapping software.

hot desking
Photo by Visual Tag Mx from Pexels

What’s Not So Good About Hot Desking?

Tracking Down a Desk. An obvious disadvantage to hot desking is the challenge of employees actually finding a free workstation, especially if your company works on an ad hoc hot desk basis. Businesses adopt desk reservation systems to address this issue. Booking software enables staff to book a desk in advance, allowing them to locate and lock down a space for themselves in the office.

Cleaning Issues. We all want to be as safe as possible at work, so good practice is to plan buffer times between workstation shifts for cleaning. Consider the following options to keep workplaces healthy:

  • Employee screening
  • Health questionnaires
  • Capacity management
  • Trace contacts
  • Touchless sign-in
  • Temperature screening

Of course, having fewer personal belongings on desks can enable easier cleaning.

Network Jitter. Causes of jitter in some shared workspaces involve network congestion (usually too many active devices consuming bandwidth). Signal delays in network resources cause flickering display monitors and sub-standard processor performance. Address your network and bandwidth issues to rectify this common problem in a hot desk environment.

hot desking
Photo by fauxels from Pexels

Make Hot Desking Work

Introducing hot desking isn’t as simple as allowing all staff members to come and go as they please. Planning, communicating clearly, and using space intelligently are the keys to effective execution.

Here’s a round up of tips to help you implement hot desking at your organization:

Plan. Treat the move to hot desking like any other business decision and plan for it. Consider resources, budgets, and how the new system will be communicated to everyone involved.

Research. Survey employees and make use of space utilization data to work out how many desks are required and how the new workplace will look.

Transparency. Be open with your team about how hot desking will work. It’s natural for them to feel anxious about a new way of organizing themselves. Get staff involved and ask for feedback and ideas to maintain an inclusive work culture.

Equipment. Now is a great time to check if you need new office equipment. Consider adjustable chairs, computer monitors, and space-saving equipment. Determine the must-have equipment for each workstation, such as Bluetooth® keyboards and wireless connections.

Other Spaces. Rework the rest of your office space to include new areas for meetings, huddle rooms, and relaxed spaces. You’ll find collaboration increases with a positive change of environment.

Places for Stuff. Distribute lockers throughout the office for staff members to securely keep their belongings.

Flexible Working. Update your office procedures to implement flexible working into your business guidelines.

Feedback. It’s crucial to ask for team feedback continuously. They need to know they have a say in their workplace environment.

Consider running a hot desk pilot initially over one floor of your business. This will give you the data and experience to roll it out to the rest of the floors once successful.

Time To Start Hot Desking?

Achieving workplace transformation success can be challenging. Get your employees on board as early as possible by promoting the new opportunities the change will bring. Encourage them to see the shift as an enabler for collaboration and greater success and productivity at work.

Day is the senior director for marketing strategy at Dialpad, which provides tools to help businesses simplify sales and customer-service interactions, combining voice, video and text messaging in its app. Based in San Ramon, CA, it is one of the top alternatives to RingCentral. Day is an expert in collaborating with multifunctional teams to execute and optimize marketing efforts, for both company and client campaigns.

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