Thanks to the flexibility that hot desking provides to employees and workplace teams, hot desks are likely to become one of the most common seating strategies we’ll see in hybrid workplaces in the years to come.
If you’re trying to understand whether hot desking is a smart move for your organization, read on. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at hot desking—what it is, when to use it, and how it can support hybrid companies achieve business goals while providing the level of flexibility and freedom that employees now demand in the era of the Great Resignation.
Hot desking is a workplace system where employees use available desks at different times on a first-come, first-served basis. Companies generally turn to hot desking to maximize space utilization, improve desk efficiency, and reduce real estate costs.
Discover the strategies leading organizations are using to make hybrid work.
You might still be wondering: Why do we call it hot desking? The term is said to have derived from the term “hot racking”—the practice of sailors with different shifts sharing the same bunk at different times.
Hot desking provides benefits to both team members and employers. However, benefits change depending on how organizations offer hot desks:
Although hot desking has many perks, it also has a few downsides. For example, without the right tools in place, it can be a hassle to find a hot desk for the day. And as a result, employees aren’t always enamored with the thought of changing desks each time they come to work. And teams don’t always get the chance to connect like they would in a traditional office with permanent desks and private offices on the floor plan.
Here’s how to resolve the most common hot desking issues that arise in the workplace.
Hot desking can be an effective workplace strategy when it is deployed in the right office environment, especially when it is used to support a flexible working strategy, collaborative workspace, or hybrid workplace model.
Here are the working environments that typically benefit most:
Hot desking is when employees sit down at any available desk for the day without booking, whereas hoteling is when employees book unassigned seating in advance. Many people incorrectly use the terms hot desking and office hoteling interchangeably, but they are not the same thing.
Both hot desking and free addressing both offer unassigned seating to employees on a first-come, first-served basis—no booking required. The difference is that free addressing desks use workplace sensors to track when each desk is occupied or empty. In a hot desking scenario, an employee casts their eye around the space to figure out which desks are available. With free addressing, employees simply open their company’s workplace management software or app to see which desks are available.
Integrating hot desking isn’t a one-and-done experience. Tracking desk usage and ensuring that available hot desks reflect the needs of your team takes time.
Teams should keep a close eye on the following metrics to measure the success of hot desking in their organization.
Workplace analytics can help companies analyze office desk utilization, facility planning, and other areas that impact the success of an organization. This provides a high-level view of exactly what a company needs to gain insights leading to intelligent decisions that affect the workplace. For example, monitoring hot desk usage will help workplace teams spot usage trends, understand the seating needs of employees, and provide a better seating setup on the floor plan.
This metric shows how space is divvied up and used by employees over time. For example, tracking space utilization can help companies understand where people gather, identify wasted space, improve office design, and optimize which types of desks are made available on the floor plan.
Tracking and improving occupancy rate is one of the simplest ways companies can create a more efficient office space. And it’s also the best way to ensure that they have the right ratio of hot desks to support the needs of in-office employees.
Keep reading: Using workplace analytics to embrace workplace trends
Hot desking and hybrid go hand in hand. From supporting hybrid work to improving space utilization, driving cost savings, and improving employee engagement, hot desking has a range of benefits for companies team members alike. But it’s hard to make it work well without the right tools on hand.
Workplace management software can streamline every aspect of the experience. For example, it can address everything from setup to day-to-day usage and management, give employees and teams the hybrid working tools they need, and improve many other aspects of the workplace experience for workplace teams and individual employees.
An effective workplace management platform has the following features:
Photos: iStock, Uneebo Office Design