Jul 20, 2022

Hot Desking Essentials – A guide on creating the ultimate Hot Desking Space

Hot Desking can be one of the most effective strategies for flexible workplaces and can work for a large set of industries. Let’s explore why some might be hesitant, and outline the essential practices needed to create success at your office

It’s not uncommon for employees to express reluctance to the idea of Hot Desking. After all, it imposes large changes to their office environment and overall work culture. But Hot Desking can be one of the most effective strategies for flexible workplaces and can work for a large set of industries. Let’s explore why some might be hesitant, and outline the essential practices needed to create success at your office.

What is Hot Desking?

Hot Desking is a form of shared workspace practice, meaning that workspaces are seen – and used - as a shared commodity in the office, similar to how meeting rooms are generally viewed. Instead of employees having fixed seating arrangements, desks are booked upon arrival at the office as a form of first come, first served type of principle. This of course means that the office becomes a flexible space, where employees and teams shift seating arrangements from one day to the next depending on the task at hand, how many are in the office for the day or the availability of spaces.

What is Hot Desking? A guide to Hot Desking for modern workplaces

The Growing popularity of Hot Desking – why is it so trendy?

Even though Hot Desking has shown to have many benefits for team building and employee productivity, many businesses actually adapt hot desking for economic and practical reasons. The growing popularity in hot desking strongly correlates with the rise of hybrid working models. Hybrid work creates a mobile workforce where employees tend to reduce office visits to a couple times a week. Taking this to account, it’s no longer reasonable to have individual workspaces that remain empty for a majority of the work week. The practical benefit of hot desking is therefore that more space can be allocated to team exercises or workshops – or even sub-leased to reduce property costs.

Because employees have the option to work from home, the general nature of which tasks are conducted where has changed. Individual tasks are more efficiently done from home, while workshops and teambuilding has become more important for the office space to support. When hot desking is implemented with a clear structure and goals, management can use it to improve productivity and promote collaboration. When barriers between departments are torn down, they become naturally interconnected. This is why hot desking is so popular – and why more and more business are choosing to opt for this model. Creating spaces more adapted for the new requirements for office space is absolutely worth considering.

Does hot desking improve productivity?

Why is Hot Desking so Beneficial?

There are many advantages with adapting hot desking practices in your office – some that you might want to consider - Here are some of the most important.

  1. Better connection between department and employees – there is a reason why seat-switching is an important part of networking at social gatherings, it helps people create more connections. This is also true for our office spaces. Sharing and switching spaces give employees the opportunity to converse with more people and build stronger bonds across your workforce.
  2. Improves Hybrid working schedules – Hot Desking helps you make hybrid working a physical reality. Moving away from fixed seating arrangement will reduce the stress felt by employees to be overly present at the office and will subconsciously make them more at ease with working from home. Hot desking communicates that everyone can come to the office when needed, instead of mandating presence.
  3. Improved space Management – individual desks will no longer be a sufficient way to manage space, and Hot desking allows you to make better use of the finite space you have. Desk areas can be replaced with workshop areas, and actually make your space more well-used and alive. Its only with a hot desking system that a workspace can reach its full hybrid potential.
  4. Potential cost savings – You might even realize that all the space previously reserved for individual workspaces aren’t actually needed. Hot desking might present opportunities for substantial cost savings that can greatly enhance your company’s economic returns.

Why is Hot Desking so beneficial?

What are to common problems with Hot Desking?

Even though hot desking presents many benefits to both employers and employees, it’s important to be aware of the common pitfalls of the workplace model so they can be successfully solved before a potential implementation.

  1. Increased need workspace equipment – Different departments need different types of tech. Developers might require certain graphic cards and computer screens, while some departments only need the laptop they bring. Needless to say, what equipment should be available where - and in what quantity - will be a question that needs clear answers beforehand.
  2. Teamwork and availability – even though hot desking presents some clear benefits for collaboration, teamwork might suffer is there aren’t any good tools for communication and booking. Teams might find it difficult to find each other in the initial implementation process, and new employees might have a hard time connecting with their team leaders without fixed seating arrangements.
  3. Cleaning and management – the practice of sharing spaces will amplify the need for rigorous cleaning practices. Companies will need to improve upon and evaluate existing cleaning procedures to ensure that the workplace is safe for employees in a post-pandemic era. Assess your existing cleaning schedule and if any structural changes are needed in order to guarantee a smooth cleaning process.
  4. Employee insecurity – having a fixed desk at your office might be an indicator to a fixed position within the company. Switching over to a hot desk model might make employees anxious and increase the feeling of insecurity. Always knowing where to be, and which colleagues you will be sitting next to, can for some people be an important part of feeling valued and connected.

Three common problems with hot desking – and how to solve them

The essentials – the best way to set up hot desking for a hybrid work environment

When planning for your new hot desking practices, it’s important to think about how the new space can be created with the employee experience in mind. As discussed above, there might be some issues with the new system that can negatively impact collaboration and security – but with the essential tools in place – hot desking can become a productivity booster that foster networking and company culture.

  1. Decide beforehand on the fixed seating arrangements – some employees will need assigned seating even if your office is mainly comprised of hot desks. The flexibility might not be appreciated by everyone, and some might gain more from keeping their fixed seating arrangements. Make sure that you map out the exceptions in advance to make sure that everyone can enjoy the office even in a hybrid work environment.
  2. Think of the employee experience first – the heart of the business will always be the employees; it doesn’t matter if they work remotely or not. A functioning office will still be just as important. Make sure to beforehand analyze the general workflow in the office so you can ensure that the right equipment is available with the right type of workspace. Desks are only beneficial if your employees want to use them. Consider the aspects of workflow - how employees will find a desk, how they can be guaranteed seating and how they will communicate with colleagues and find common spaces to collaborate. A functioning day-to-day system will be essential to ensure that employees enjoy the new work model without encountering small problems that disrupt them from their work task at hand.
  3. Create different spaces for different needs – It’s time to stop thinking of individual workspaces as possessing the same type of qualities. Instead, hot desking gives you the amazing opportunity to truly make your individual workspaces activity based. Make sure to think about the different individual tasks conducted on a daily basis and how the spaces you have can promote these types of activities. Some spaces might need to be in a quiet zone for focus, while others can be in an open area that invites to conversation and collaboration. Make sure you design your space after your specific needs.
  4. Make storage available – Proper storage will be of great importance in a hot desking environment. Make sure that employees can easily secure their belongings in reliable lockers, so they don’t have to carry everything with them on a day-to-day basis. Storerooms should be spread out across floors and zone for easy access. Depending on your specific needs, lockers can be either bookable or assigned permanently.
  5. Make good use of smart office solutions – hot desking will grant new levels of flexibility, but for that to work, you will need to think about what type of smart office solutions that will be needed to guarantee seating, connect with colleagues, and find your way around the office. It’s recommended to implement a hot desking solution, collaboration planning tool and interactive floorplans to assist employees in their day-to-day work.
  6. Create new rules and policies – even if smart office solutions are quickly adapted, no technology can work better than the people using it. Make sure you provide employees with clear guidelines on how the new system should be used and what happens if there is a double booking or discrepancies. This can include rules that desks needs to be booked in advance, or more advanced rule settings that only allow certain departments access to specific floors. But the most important thing is that these rules are agreed upon and clearly communicated to everyone in the organization.

The 10 most important things to consider when selecting a hot desking solution.

Are you ready to transform your office to a hybrid work environment?

Completely transforming your office environment is challenging, and no one should have to handle it alone. With the right tools and guidance, the adaptation to hot desking can become both effective and rewarding.

For us, it’s important to emphasize the fact that work isn’t where we go – but what we do. Our environments need to reflect this notion and allow for the needs of our teams as well as our own to be fulfilled. Businesses today need to provide a space that breathes creativity and efficiency. At the end of the day – hot desking is not about technology – but every workplace will soon need it to enable connection and employee security.

Great technology is the hero operating in the background – the enabler of frictionless workflows in the smallest of tasks. This is what we at Flowscape do. We want to help you reduce time-wasting tasks and remove barriers to interaction by incorporating smart technology that supports all employees in their daily work lives.

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Everything we do is about minimizing friction. Find out more about how we can support your business by requesting a demo.

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