Hot Desking & Desk Booking

How to Drive Hot Desking Adoption in Your Organization

David Spence
November 12th, 2015

Hot desking and hoteling strategies are becoming more and more popular with FM professionals in the modern workplace. The benefits of flexible working arrangements are becoming widely accepted, so where do you begin?

REPORT: Office Design Trends download now

This blog post explores how to get started with a hot desking strategy, and how to get everyone at your organization super stoked so you can start saving space (and inevitably, money)!

1. Give your employees the benefit of the doubt

Change is most likely to be adopted when approached with optimism. Even if the concept of hot desking is new to virtually all of your workers, don’t automatically assume there will be pushback. Hot desking presents benefits to your employees (not just you), the chief one being flexibility. Approach your hot desking beta run with the attitude that your workers will want to get on board.

Decide who will use the hot desks and invite input. Rough out an idea of potential workers who might be well‐suited to a hot desking arrangement (your sales team, contractors or consultants, for example) and ask them how often they plan on being in the office and if they’re keen to give the idea a try. You can also ask what – if any – equipment or technology might assist them in trying hot desking. Inviting input early in the process will also mitigate the potential for misunderstanding.

Once you know who is on board and how often they plan to be in office, you can make a best guess on a good trial desk‐to‐person ratio. That could be 1 desk: 2 workers, 2 desks: 3 workers, etc.

2. Choose the best location

Now, take a few minutes to flag potential locations for your hot desks. Below are a few considerations to take into account:

  • Best area to accommodate increased coming/going traffic
  • Proximity to printers/fax
  • Proximity to ample power supply
  • Adequate lighting

You can try setting up a ‘hot desking zone’ with X number of desks all in one area, which is much more practical for teams or pods. Or, you may want to spread out hot desks within the departments that may be able to adopt them.

3. Choose the right desks

Hot desking is all about portability, trimming excess and being nimble. Solid oak behemoths with 5 zillion drawers are going to be a waste of space, drawers and trees. Review the following considerations to decide what will work best for your organization:

  • Standup/sitdown workstations, or a combination of both?
  • Lightweight desks, or tables (consider need for privacy vs collaboration here)?
  • Technology: are docking stations, extra monitors or phones likely to be required?
  • Lighting: will it be necessary to provide individual lighting at each desk?

4. Implement a ‘clean desk policy’

In order for a hot desking program to be a success, leaving desks clear at the end of the workday or work session is a necessity. Ensure all participants are aware that they are required to leave the desks as they were when they arrived; otherwise, they’ll have to share that red stapler, and we all know nobody likes to do that. But speaking of staplers, it is probably a good idea to outfit each desk with the basics – of course, these things will be different for each organization (think monitor, USB dock, pens and paper, phone).

5. Make hot desks easy to identify

This one might seem like a given, but all it takes is one or two confused employees to get frustrated with the process and start badmouthing hot desks. Visually flag your hot desks by using different furniture, signage, different carpet colour, or cute little mini cactuses (get it? Because they like it when it’s ‘hot’).

6. Make software check-in easy

Spoiler alert: nobody will use your fancy schmancy hot desk booking software if it’s a pain in the butt. And if nobody uses the software, you’re wasting your money and people are going to get frustrated. Set up a sign-in kiosk near the hot desking area or enable mobile access on your employee’s devices so they can book a spot with ease. If you use OfficeSpace Software at your organization, hot desk booking is a snap. Learn more here.

7. Make hot desking fun

When you pitch the program to your staff, do it in a lighthearted way. Reducing desks can sometimes trigger anxiety (first the desks go…am I next?!) and that’s the last thing you want to do! This is about agility and efficiency, not scaring people. Hot desking presents a great opportunity for employees to sit in new areas, increase their network around the office and collaborate with others. You can even make a game out of it – every Thursday everyone has to sit in a different desk; or, take away a chair and make the last person to show up sit on the Swiss ball all day.

8. Gather feedback & measure results

Finally, once your hot desking beta run is launched, it’s time to start evaluating. Be open to the possibility that what you set up on Day One might not be working on Day 30. Poll users on their experience at your next staff meeting, or send out an email asking for feedback and suggestions.



If you use OfficeSpace Software at your company, your workers can ‘check in’ to the hot desk when they use it for the day. Then, you can easily run reports and analyze who used the desks, when, and which desks were used the most. This makes measuring results easy and will allow you to improve your hot desking program over time.

Photo: Rawpixel