What is Hot Desking? Hot Desks are Sizzling in the Workplace
By Noam Livnat
Chief Product & Innovation Officer
Hot desks are workspaces that lack a permanent occupant. They’re temporary workspaces that can accommodate regular free-floating employees, contract workers, on-site visitors, support staff, and just about anyone else who may not require a dedicated work area.
So what’s the big deal? Simple. Not having to dedicate desk space to every single employee means turning otherwise static square footage into a dynamic space anyone can use at any time. That means better space utilization.
Hot desking dynamics
“Hot desking” is more than just buzzwords. In agile offices, hot desks are a personal workspace staple. They’re a convenient way to optimize space utilization, accommodate employees, and foster productivity. But, to get the most out of a hot desks, facilities managers need to know how to set them up and manage them.
For an eager facilities manager, hot desking may sound like the answer to every space utilization problem. But, before eliminating permanent desk, consider the role they play. Turning an entire office into a hot desk free-for-all may create more problems than it’s worth.
Instead, think of hot desking as a versatile solution to a specific demand: occupancy. Say you’re workplace accommodates 100 desks, and 80% are permanently assigned. Future plans call for the addition of another 20 employees, which would push workspace capacity to its limit. With the popularity of flexible work schedules and remote work, you could add hot desks for employee use when they’re in the office. Expansion is kept to a minimum while allowing for maximum collaboration and productivity for everyone.
This example is one of several great uses for hot desks. Keep in mind that while they’re perfect for space optimization, hot desks do have drawbacks. It’s best to consider using them to accommodate a fraction of your workforce—not the whole staff.
Good hot desking policies
So, what’s the best way to manage hot desks? Here are a few tips for making it work:
- Use hot desks to fill a need with new employees and try not to displace existing ones. Taking away a permanent space from a tenured employee may cause undue friction. On the other hand, offering a new employee the flexibility to pick their workspace daily can be a perk.
- Create the right environment for each hot desk. Space may include an entire cubicle or one seat at a conference room table. Pick locations that provide enough workspace to get the job done and in areas where noise and other distractions are kept to a minimum.
- Provide a point of contact for hot desk occupants. Unlike departmental employees who may have a direct superior, hot desks are often staffed by remote, contract, and freelance workers. If they have questions or needs, make sure your hot desk occupants know who to talk to about them.
- Enact a “reset system” for workers who share hot desks. That means keeping areas clean and ready for the next occupant. One messy tenant can create a ton of ill will.
Read more on the pros and cons of hot desking.
Power of great hot desking software
Regardless of how you make hot desks available to workers, the crucial ingredient is good hot desking software. Such software provides facilities managers the hands-on control needed to assign, organize, and maintain hot desks. Here’s how it works:
- Employees check in for their shift and either select or are assigned a hot desk
- As desks fill up, facilities managers can see how many desks are occupied, where they are, and what the occupancy rate is
- When workers move or leave their desks, the system of record acts accordingly, providing real-time updates to facilities managers
- Using data over time, facilities managers can see how often their hot desks are being utilized, by whom, and for how long
A smart solution to occupancy obstacles
Hot desking creates opportunities to expand workplace occupancy without disrupting day-to-day operations. It’s a flexible solution that aligns with flexible working environments and creates unique opportunities to accommodate workers.
With hot desking, you may not always have the same desk, but you’re certain to always have a desk!
Also read, Hot Desk Booking for a Stress-Free Workplace.