Corporate offices are shifting from being workplaces to workspaces, according to Gartner analysts. Employees have become accustomed to the benefits (and drawbacks) of working from home, and there is a huge push for businesses of all sizes to adopt hybrid work models.
However, the office is far from forgotten.
74% of employees want to return to the office for at least a few days per week and work from different locations at other times.
Hot desking is the bedrock of this hybrid approach to work.
What Is Hot Desking?
Hot desking (also known as flex desking, hoteling, agile working, and flexible workspaces) refers to office setups where workers do not have a permanently assigned desk and instead utilize an available desk for a few hours / the day / week / month.
The term was originally popularized by co-working spaces where people share a neutral space that belongs to a third party. However, hot desking is increasingly becoming popular as the default structure of on-site work for office-based knowledge workers.
How Does Hot Desking Work?
There are typically two types of office environments that employ hot desking: private and shared.
Private office space is owned or rented by a single company.
Although some employees may have assigned desks, hot desking would involve many or most desks remaining unassigned and reserved for workers based on an as-needed basis or some schedule set by the company.
Shared spaces belong to a company that offers a co-working space, such as Regus, and several businesses or freelancers utilize the available hot desks.
In both scenarios, users typically pre-book a desk before arriving using hot desking software. In some cases, hot desking may not involve a pre-booking and workers can utilize any available desk, although taking COVID-19 health and safety requirements into consideration, this approach is becoming less common.
Once settled in, workers can continue working for the duration of their hot desk time or the day.
There may be informal or formal agreements that dictate how desk space is allocated or reserved.
What Are The Requirements For Hot Desking?
In order to be successful, hot desking has to allow staff to execute all duties they typically carry out using a personal workstation. These are the core requirements to ensure your hot desk setup is effective:
All hot desk locations should come equipped with the basics: power outlets, high-speed WiFi connection, copy-printing facilities and access to drinks and snacks. The hot desks themselves should be designed with ergonomics in mind, ensuring quality chairs and screen layouts.
Manually managing hundreds of employees hot-desking in a hybrid workplace is a near impossible task. Utilizing a software solution that seamlessly integrates with Microsoft or Google calendars, allows for quick bookings, booking preferences, wayfinding and more is critical to making hot-desking effective in an office or co-working environment.
Call, Meeting and Conference Rooms
Hot desking setups should come equipped with meeting rooms to allow for workers to be able to meet with colleagues or customers. Many hot desking softwares also support meeting room booking capabilities. In addition, having access to breakout rooms or phone-booths is a must so that workers can privately take calls or online video conferencing without the distractions of other colleagues around.
Usually, workers are given a locker or cubby-hole to store personal belongings or keep their belongings on the desk for the duration of their working day.
What Are the Benefits of Hot Desking?
Most companies find hot desking extremely beneficial. The associated cost savings are the most apparent benefit, but there are many others. Let’s find out how your business can benefit from hot desking:
1. Better Utilization of Space
By adopting a hybrid workplace model, businesses are finding they simply don’t need as much as space.
With 100% of employees not in at the same time, companies can even consider halving their real estate footprint, thereby saving hugely on monthly overheads.
Alternatively, they can reallocate space for real estate intensive permanent workstations and create game rooms, conference spaces, or cafeterias designed for collaborative work and socialization.
2. Safer (COVID-19 Protocols)
COVID-19 capacity requirements limit the number of employees that can share a workspace. By utilizing hot desks and a centralized on-demand booking system, office managers can simultaneously control how many employees are physically present in a single space.
3. Talent Acquisition Tactic
Many companies are moving towards flexible, hybrid working to provide employees with a better work-life balance. Employees are looking to limit their on-site work to client meetings, deep-work, events and socialization. Hot desking is considered a perk for many employees and helps attract talent.
Considering the fast pace of businesses, hot desking allows companies to scale up or down as their needs change. For example, a tech company might pull in a group of contract back-end developers to work on a specific project and then scale down again once it's completed. There's no need to rent a larger space.
Employees can enjoy the flexibility of changing desk locations based on the requirements or preferences of the day. One day a single monitor can be used while the next a dual monitor or a standing desk. Hot desking software like Zynq can be used to filter by desk types to choose an appropriate desk for any day.
6. Increased Collaboration
Moving employees out of their traditional silos and assigned spaces can boost creativity, communication, and productivity. By having staff exposed to different departments and employees, serendipitous sharing of ideas can boost intra-company collaboration and improve the bottom line.
What Are the Challenges With Hot Desking?
Depending on the nature of your company, there may be some challenges to hot desking.
1. Conflict Over Preferred Workspaces
Just like an open-plan office, hot desking won’t be appealing to everyone. There will always be employees who will prefer dedicated workstations or insist that they positively cannot sit next to the air conditioner or water cooler. (Luckily, for the latter concern, you can utilize a hot desking software with a first-come-first-served policy to avoid this!).
2. Complexities in Collaboration
When employees aren't all sharing a physical space, they may rely on multiple digital tools to communicate and find themselves balancing Zoom, Slack, Whatsapp, Skype, and many other productivity tools.
It's essential to have a transparent, centralized communication system(s) in place if you deploy hot desking.
3. Hygiene and Safety
With the pandemic still top-of-mind, shared space sanitization is a genuine concern for many employees.
In fact, it is one of the main reasons many employees are reluctant to return to the office. Companies have to ensure they comply with best sanitization practices to keep their people safe and thoroughly communicate the steps they are taking so employees feel safe and confident returning to the office.
Luckily, some software solutions like Zynq allow sanitization staff to be automatically notified if a hot desks has been used to ensure they are thoroughly cleaned.
Hot Desking: The Future for Workspaces
Along with hybrid working, hot desking is poised to become a staple of the workplace.
Companies can't avoid the impact that remote and hybrid working will have on workforce expectations and management in the near future.
Prepare by finding the best tools to enable hot-desking at your current and future workspaces.