What is Hot-Desking?

What is hot-desking? Explore the latest style of in-office work trend and see if it's a fit for your organization in the article below....
What is Hot-Desking?
Written by Brian Wallace
  • Hot-desking is an organizational workspace system in which desks are used by different people at different times, on an ad hoc basis. Typically, the aim is to maximize space efficiency and lessen real estate risk by reducing redundant office space. Hot desks can be implemented in private offices as well as coworking spaces. The flexibility associated with hot-desking is often linked to an increase in employee innovation, while the social aspect is cited as a way to encourage cross-disciplinary collaboration.

    How Does Hot-Desking Work?

    Find a desk, plug in, and get to work: Hot desks provide space for professionals to work as needed, in both private and shared office spaces. That means that the particulars for hot-desking may vary depending on the environment, but here are the primary factors to consider. It’s very easy to use hot-desking when your workspace has coworking management software. With it, you can book your desk online just in one minute.

    Access to power outlets and phones

    Hot desks typically come with their own power outlets and WiFi connection. In shared coworking spaces like WeWork, there are dedicated spaces away from the desk for taking calls—phone booths or in shared lounges, for example. In private office environments, particularly in sales companies, a permanent phone is likely attached to the desk for different employees to use as needed.

    Bookable meeting rooms

    Most hot-desking arrangements in shared coworking spaces allow you to book meeting rooms through an app or a web log-in. Amenity-rich solutions like WeWork also afford you access to shared lounges, kitchens, brainstorming areas, conference rooms, and a global network of professionals.

    Printing facilities

    Similar to booking conference rooms, hot-desking spaces often have a central printer that workers can use through an app or web log-in. These printers are managed by the community team in shared workspaces and internally by office managers in private environments.

    Storing personal items

    A frequently touted concern associated with hot-desking is the absence of a dedicated “base” for users to store their bags, coats, and work accessories. The way this is addressed changes between workspaces: In some coworking spaces, users are permitted to leave their belongings at a hot desk for a certain amount of time as they attend meetings or have lunch. Other shared spaces provide cubby holes or lockers for their hot-desk clientele. In private offices, it’s more common for an employee to camp out at the same desk for the whole day, regardless of meetings or lunch breaks.

    Technology and internet

    Hot-desking wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for laptops, tablets, and smartphones—and all offices with hot-desking arrangements should provide WiFi to accommodate. Some users, however, need more than their laptop to work effectively. For this reason, some hot desks come with a monitor and a VGA, DVI, or HDMI connection, allowing users to plug-in and use a second screen temporarily.

    Bathrooms, kitchens, and other common areas

    As in most office environments, amenities like bathrooms and kitchens are included in hot-desking arrangements and are cleaned, stocked, and maintained by office management. In all-inclusive solutions like WeWork, hot-desk agreements also give you access to free-flowing coffee, quiet rooms for meditation, showers, bathroom necessities like lotion and hair products, as well as perks like community meals and frequent networking events.

    Private space when needed

    Most professions call for some privacy during the workday, whether it’s for attending meetings, strategic planning, or discussing finances. These conversations are likely too sensitive for a hot desk, especially when you’re surrounded by people from other teams or other companies, and require a more private space.

    Both private offices and coworking spaces provide bookable conference rooms for holding private meetings or taking sensitive calls; however, workspace solutions like WeWork also provide sound-proofed private phone booths. Plus, intentionally designed lounges offer private nooks for taking calls or having conversations.

    Benefits of Hot Desking

    1. Increase collaboration

    Hot desking encourages people to move around the office, and this leads employees to talk to team members they normally wouldn’t interact with. It allows staff from different parts of the office to collaborate on projects.

    2. Tidier workspaces

    Your office will likely be tidier if you use hot desking because staff is unable to leave their personal items, such as knick-knacks and stacks of papers, behind at the end of the workday. Hot desking forces employees to become minimalists. Although people are unable to add a personal touch to their workspaces, the result is a much cleaner and more organized office.

    3. Autonomy

    Hot desking gives employees autonomy because it allows them to change their day-to-day environment and remain mobile. This gives them a lot more flexibility and autonomy over what their daily work environment looks like and feels like. People are no longer tied to their desks.

    4. Lower costs

    Traditional offices provide employees a specific spot to work in, and that space remains unused if the worker is out of the office, traveling from work, or working from home. Hot desking cuts down on this type of wasted space by allowing organizations to downsize their space and optimize the use of existing space. Not all employees need to have their own permanent desks.

    5. Improve performance and the circulation of knowledge

    Static seating arrangements tend to lead to people working in silos, while flexible seating arrangements made possible via hot desking help to improve performance and encourage the circulation of knowledge. Hot desking improves communications by leading to more face-to-face interaction and accelerating decision making.

    You might be concerned that hot desking could hurt productivity since people may need a quiet workspace to concentrate and focus their work. This is why it’s important to maintain a flexible, easily reconfigurable space that can be used for different tasks, from concentration-heavy solo work to team huddles.

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