Oct 8, 2020

Three problems with hot desking, and how to solve them.

Even though the future of hot desking looks promising, some critics have approached the question of hot Desking with hesitation and with a word of warning. In this blog post, we will go through some of the problems with Hot Desking, and how you can solve them.

What is Hot Desking? Read about it here!


It is important to discuss raised issues regarding Hot Desking in order to find effective solutions, but also to highlight how technical developments and modern software solutions already has solved many of these concerns. It is also important to discuss office culture in general, and how our changing view of office work alternates the way we approach desk management in general, and therefore how desk seating is done. In this blog, we will discuss three of the most prominent concerns with hot desking, and how you can solve them.

Hot Desking and cooperation

One issue that is frequently raised regards the overall cooperation in the office. How do you make sure new employees receive the help they need if everyone is spread out? Is it even possible to have quick and small meetings? Teams need to be together so how does hot desking help the company?

Let us start with the question of new employees. How do you guarantee that new employees get seats next to the boss or the colleagues within the team? This can become a vast issue if hot desking is implemented without any form of software system, or without also having desk hoteling as an option. No one should have an office with only hot desks, it is important that employees can book desks for the reason stated above. One easy way to manage this is to give managers the freedom to book desks in advance for their team, so they can work together the days when it is needed. The new employees can then be sure to have a good introduction together with their team. With a software system, like the Flowmap in place, it is possible to plan the desks booking, keeping everything flexible and at the same time ensure stability for newcomers.

Secondly, the critique that quick meetings cannot occur with hot desking, meaning small two-minute talks here and there, assumes that we will work in the same way as we did 10 years ago, without the technology present today. The pandemic has showed us that teamwork and efficiency is managed completely different today. Instead of rejecting hot desking because of teamwork efficiency, the priority for offices is to focus on streamlining online communication and using common areas and desk hoteling for collaboration.

The most probable future scenario for office work is that most people will work at least 40-50% from home, meaning that most 2-minute-talks will be managed by different chat systems, quick calls, or emails already. What the office will be catered to is either for people who want to have a break from sitting at home, or people who travel to the office for specific team building exercises, workshops, or meetings. In this case, hot desking will not interrupt the everyday workflow of employees but enhance it. Because hot desking is more space efficient, more space can be allocated for these new types of happenings, creating an even more pleasant job experience.

Hot Desking and employee security


Another issue concern guarantees for employees; hot desking sends out the message that employees do not matter. According to this type of reasoning, the act of allocating permanent desks to employees is a way to show them that they are important to the company, a form of environmental signaling that your place is secure and solid. This is a good point and a point worth making. It is important that employees always feel valued by their company and creating that feeling is an important task for anyone who specializes in smart office solutions. But there are many ways in which a company can show their gratitude, and many ways in which employees can feel appreciated and valued.

For example, offices with hot desking solutions in place can make sure that the common areas encourage cooperation, social interactions, inspiration etc. When you are able to replace fixed desks with desk hoteling and hot desking, space can be utilized for common areas and activity areas, something that would not be possible with fixed seating solutions. Read about how you can combine these desk solutions here. Why not have a TV to watch the next soccer game after work? Why not open another cafeteria in the area that was comprised by fixed seats before? Or why not a new Ping Pong table?


In other words, ask yourself what your employees prioritize and what they want from their working experience. If most of you work from home, maybe the employees’ value social areas and meeting hubs more than fixed desks? Making employees feel like they matter is not about a single solution, it is about understanding your company culture, and giving valuable experiences to your employees.

Hot Desking and never finding Susan, or Steve, or...

Another issue raised regards colleague finding in the office, and that hot seating makes it more difficult to find people. But this premise is also based on the assumption that hot desking is implemented without a software system. It also assumes that it is easy to find colleagues with fixed seating, which is a prominent problem in offices with fixed seating today, especially offices with thousands of employees.

People generally move around, in and out of meetings, back and forth from the coffee machine.  Flowscape’s app system has a function called colleague finder, which enables employees to find their colleagues wherever they are, directly on the map with a guiding system. This means, that even if you have hot desking, finding colleagues in the Flowmap is still easier than before. Using Flowscape’s desk dongle, the employees name becomes visible on the desk when their computer is plugged in, making them easy to find, read more about the desk dongle here.  

In other words, the difficulty with finding colleagues has nothing to do with using hot desking or not, instead it depends more on which type of Desk booking software you implement.

Is Hot Desking for you?

In summary, one thing to keep in mind when deciding on implementing a hot desking solution at your office is making sure that the decisions you make follow the overall culture of your office. It is also important to not choose one type of desking solution over the other. Every office should have the opportunity to select between bookable desks and ad-hoc desks. Flowscape enables you to use both these in combination with fixed seats if necessary, to create the best office experience for your employees. You can contact us for a demo or read more about our desk management solutions here.