Hot Desking & Desk Booking

8 hot desking benefits you may not have considered

David Spence
September 24th, 2019
hot desking

There’s no denying that the way people work is evolving. That’s why technology like hot desking, which allows employees to be more flexible and collaborative, is taking the workplace by storm.

We know how hot desking can benefit employees, but what about facilities managers? 

In this post, we’re exploring how hot desking can help facilities managers in different ways—from improving employee communication to cutting costs and much more.

What is hot desking?

Hot desking is a system that allows employees to select an open desk instead of working from the same assigned desk every day. Hot desking uses a first come, first served structure that grants flexibility for teams and opens up the lines of communication. 

A similar concept that’s also gaining popularity is hoteling, but it is a bit different from hot desking. Hoteling requires employees to reserve a desk through dedicated software that’s used company-wide. 


But how impactful is hot desking in an office?

A study cited in The Village Effect, written by psychologist and journalist Susan Pinker, found that employee performance can increase up to 20% when employees are given the opportunity to interact with one another. What’s more, disengaged employees cost U.S. companies anywhere from $450 billion to $550 billion each year, according to Gallup.

In other words, hot desking paves the way for engaging, collaborative work, which ties into one of the components of a facilities manager’s job: fostering a positive employee experience.

So how can hot desking help facilities managers when it comes to their productivity and day-to-day tasks as well as improving the overall employee experience?

Let’s take a look at eight of the top advantages of hot desking, particularly for facilities managers.

shared desk

1. Leverage free addressing

What is free addressing? Free addressing uses sensors to track desk availability. Technically, free addressing desks are “shared desks”. But unlike “hot desks”, there’s a sensor installed in each free addressing desk. This sensor tracks when the desk is available or occupied. And this information is reflected anonymously in your workplace management software.

One of the potential pitfalls with hot desking is tracking real-time availability. For example, an employee may reserve a desk with the full intention of sitting there, but maybe gets pulled into a meeting and forgets to free up the desk they booked. Consequently, space is wasted.

That’s where sensor technology, in the form of free addressing, makes its impact. Free addressing is when companies use sensors, like SenzoLive or Versesense, to track and monitor desk availability in real time. Sensors take the human error out desk availability accuracy because they update the status of the desk instantly. Thanks to sensors, employees can see directly within their visual directory software if a desk is in use, if it’s in standby mode, or if it’s open. Using a tool that centralizes this information in an easy-to-use interface eliminates the time spent trying to find a desk. 

So how does free addressing help facilities managers? Live occupancy data plays a significant role in building management, and the data collected by free addressing software is invaluable to facilities managers. 

Facilities managers can use live occupancy data to do several things, including:

  • Maximize occupancy and real estate usage
  • Fix shortage of workspaces
  • Understand workspace utilization 
  • Optimize existing workplace configuration
  • Improve change management processes
  • Increase energy efficiencies when integrating live occupancy data

Workplace sensors, together with IWMS software, will show facilities managers precisely how space is being used in an easier viewing format.

With this information, facility managers can make quick, high-impact decisions that improve productivity, optimize space usage, and accommodate the needs of all employees.

2. Improve communication and collaboration

A major part of a facilities manager’s job is to create a workplace environment where employees feel empowered to do their best work. Therefore, it’s crucial to make it easier for them to collaborate and communicate.

Without clear communication and opportunities to collaborate, other aspects of the company start to unravel. Take meetings, for example. According to online meeting software company Fuze, more than $37 billion is wasted on unproductive meetings annually. Plus, the same study found that executives consider roughly 67% of meetings to be failures. But hot desking makes more transparent communication possible thanks to its flexible nature. 

With hot desking, employees can sit in proximity to the people they work closest with, which is beneficial when tackling a big project or launch. Also, hot desking promotes networking among employees who may not usually sit near one another, which is great for company culture. 

The bottom line is that if employees can communicate better, other areas of work improve as a result.

office communication

3. Increase flexibility across the company

Cali Yost, the CEO and Founder of Flex+Strategy Group told OfficeSpace in an interview, “What I’m seeing with my clients is a recognition that you need to expand the definition of workspace to onsite and off and give people the flexibility to determine where they’re going to work best based on what they’re trying to get done.” 

She went on to say, “You’re still able to retain all the benefits of growth within the same real estate footprint, but you’re allowing people the flexibility to utilize that space in a way that allows them to get their jobs done most effectively.” 

In short, flexibility in the workplace helps all employees thrive and can have a lasting impact on company culture and productivity.


According to a study from Zenefits, 73% of employees report that flexible work arrangements increased their satisfaction at work, and 78% of employees say that they’re also more productive as a result. Plus, with remote work on the rise, accommodating this workstyle change is a significant part of a facilities manager’s job in terms of cultivating a great employee experience. 

The flexibility of hot desking allows employees to be near those with whom they’re working on the same project. This is great for any group of employees, no matter the department or team. The opportunity for employees to change up their workspace for the day, the week, or however long they choose, can do wonders for creativity and productivity as well.

Hot desking is also great for companies that undergo regular team restructures or reorganizations. It can mitigate the tasklist of facility managers, HR, and IT teams who oversee desk moves for employees.

4. Foster team building and networking

It can be challenging to build a company culture that values interdepartmental relationships. In fact, a study from the Queens University of Charlotte, 39% of the employees surveyed believe that people in their company don’t collaborate enough. 

Like open communication and collaboration, team building and networking are two critical components of a successful, healthy workplace. This is important for facilities managers because they can better connect with employees via hot desking, understand what their experiences are like, and see what needs to improve.

Because hot desking permits employees to sit near those who they otherwise may not have the chance to, companies who use this technology assume a culture of team building. Denise from accounting can get to know Steven from sales, which can lead to a clearer understanding of what each other does and bridge any gaps between their departments.

team building

5. Cut company costs

There’s no denying that commercial real estate isn’t cheap. Depending on where your office is located, it could be one of the highest expenses your company faces. Especially with the remote work boom, there isn’t a need for as much office space as there once was.

A great way to cut costs on workspace is minimizing the need for tons of space in the first place. Hot desking lets you do just that. 

Allowing employees to work where they want—whether it be from home, from a coffee shop, or at an available desk in the office—reduces the need for tons of space. Besides, according to Global Workplace Analytics Statistics, 55% of employees are away from their desk for most of the day. So giving them the option to choose where they work from is smart facility management.

Hot desking allows employees to work where they are most comfortable, which creates a better employee experience while cutting costs where companies feel it the most.

6. Reduce office clutter

Here’s the reality of a cluttered desk: it usually means someone with a cluttered mind sits there. 

A survey from OfficeMax found that to be the case; 77% said that clutter harms their productivity ad 90% noted that clutter hurts their lives and performance at work. 

Hot desking prevents employees from letting their spaces get out of control with clutter because each area is shared and not assigned. Because employees no longer have their own desks while using the hot desking model, personal clutter is kept at a minimum. 

Some companies even offer storage spaces or rolling backpacks for employees to transport their items to the desk of their choice. A reduction in clutter can result in a cleaner, more focused workspace for all.

clean desk

7. Create the right office ambiance

Another huge part of creating a flexible work environment is creating a space that employees feel most comfortable or prepared to work in. After all, not all employees work in the same way.

 A survey from Deloitte found that although 80% of HR and business leaders claim that employee experience was important to them, only 22% reported that their company was “excellent” at taking steps to make improvements.

Hot desking allows employees to find the perfect space for the day—whether they need to shut out distractions or collaborate with other departments. Facilities managers can empower employees to work in an area that will let them do their best work.

This level of flexibility is conducive for a productive office and an environment that caters to all workstyles and needs.

8. Improve employee autonomy

Everyone knows how harmful micromanaging can be to the employee experience, not to mention the health effects are devastating. It can be detrimental to company culture, it causes high turnover, and it wrecks employee autonomy. 

As a facilities manager, you have a role in creating spaces where employees can take full ownership of their tasks and responsibilities. Hot desking gives employees the autonomy to work in the location that’s conducive for them. If an employee wants to work in a quiet area for a few hours in the morning before a big afternoon meeting, they can do so with hot desking. 

Employees that feel trusted to do their jobs to the best of their ability are happier at work and will produce better work as well.

Hot desking solves common workplace problems

A major part of the facilities manager role is to create an outstanding employee experience, and hot desking is a tool that can help make that a reality. 

Hot desking is the answer to many of the other common workplace issues facility managers deal with regularly like communication, real estate logistics, and employee connectivity. It opens up a breadth of possibilities within an office for both employees and facilities managers.

Ready to integrate hot desking into your office space? Contact our team today, and we’ll help you get started.

Photo Credits: Rawpixel, Free-Photos, Pixabay, Ylanite Koppens, Proxyclick