Mar 7, 2023

Understanding the Hybrid Work Model: What is a Hot Desking Policy?

understanding the hybrid work model

Hot desking is a practice that enables employees in hybrid workplaces to work from any available desk, rather than having a fixed workstation. This approach helps businesses create a more adaptable and dynamic office environment that meets the needs of their workforce. By providing employees with clear guidelines for booking desks and ensuring there are enough desks and equipment, hot desking can be successfully implemented. It not only helps to reduce office overheads by using space more efficiently, but it also enhances employee engagement by fostering collaboration and connection among colleagues.

The origins of the hot desking policy

Covid-19 sparked the beginning of hybrid work and the flexible office space. According to Jones Lang LaSalle (​​JLL), 30% of all office space will offer flexible office seatings in ten years.

Hot desking and online desk booking will be an important part of the experience, letting employees book their preferred seat in advance. 

The pandemic created a tough situation for everyone. When employees could not be present in the office 9-5, managers and team leaders had to tackle the realities of hybrid and remote work. However, results show that hot desking and flexible schedules actually can be an advantage:

  • Reduced overhead costs, since the companies have less unused office space. A traditional business needed to assign one desk to each employee on a daily basis. If someone quit, went on sick leave or on a prolonged vacation, the desk was suddenly unused. With hot desking, businesses can downsize the office space and still offer the right amount of seats. 
  • Increased productivity. When people are seated differently a few times per week, chances are they will get to know someone from another team. People will avoid working in silos and new ideas are formed. Team members can book desks next to each other in a certain designated area and collaborate to a larger extent.

What are the benefits of a hot desk policy?

Hot desking policies are essential in order to make sure that employees are equipped with everything they need to perform their daily tasks. A hot desk policy should be implemented for practical and psychosocial reasons.

Streamlined desk booking

First and foremost, a hot desk policy lets you build a more flexible working environment. With Flowscape’s workplace management solution, employees have the possibility to book seats in advance.

The office can be set up according to usage analytics. Space managers will be able to follow up and implement new changes.

When all processes are in place employees will feel less frustrated and embrace hot desking more fully.  

Better access to IT-services and equipment

Complex tasks often require several computer screens. Make sure that all the equipment the employees need is close by. Most employees dislike chasing around the office to find a functioning keyboard or a fully charged wireless mouse. Cables, chargers and dongles should be at everyone's disposal.

Since most software is cloud based, an unstable internet connection takes a toll on productivity. Make sure that everyone can use online communication and have access to the different IT-systems, around the clock. 

With a remote or hybrid team, it’s more important than ever to run effective online meetings. A solid video camera and headphones are crucial. Take the opportunity to get everybody up to speed in the meeting. Most hybrid workers feel more motivated if they see some friendly faces early on Monday morning.

Ergonomic office furniture for everyone

We spend a lot of time in front of the screen at work, and it’s easy to get stiff necks and joints after a long day.. Therefore, ergonomic chairs are a must. The employees should have access to different chairs and stools in order to maintain good posture. Examples of other ergonomic tools are pilates balls and adjustable desks.

A practical and comfortable workplace experience

When you develop a hot desking policy, desks placed in a calm and comfortable environment should be top priority.  Make sure that cleaning and maintenance are performed on a regular basis. Hand sanitizers and wipes should be made available by the desk space. Since team members tend to switch to a new desk a few times a week, offer them a locker where they can store bags and other belongings securely. 

The office is full of disturbances and whereas one employee needs to concentrate, another one has to attend an important meeting. Therefore, we encourage you to create different hot desking areas in the building for different purposes.

One area could offer available desks for online meetings and another for improved collaboration. A visual floor plan in every area makes it easy to locate a desk, meeting rooms or coworkers in the building.

Motivation and team spirit in the hybrid office

A team is made up of many different individuals, and if the company was founded years ago, there are probably senior employees who have been around for a while. They might be reluctant to change. On top of that, everyone has a different skill set and is motivated differently. A hot desking policy will most certainly tackle these obstacles.

Workplace and hot desking etiquette

In order for everyone to work as a team, both hybrid- and remote employees, the policy should strengthen collaboration further. The manager or team leader will have to establish some sort of etiquette. Important questions to ask are:

  • How can remote/hybrid workers feel included?
  • How do we celebrate wins together?
  • How do we communicate absence?
  • How can we easily get a hold of team members?

In the practical daily life at the office, it is important to set certain ground rules. One example is to avoid bringing many personal items and putting them on the desk, since that seat might be assigned to someone else the next day. 

No one should be allowed to take personal calls at their desk or eat lunch in front of the computer. Playing music and chatting loudly with a co-worker in the workplace are off limits too. Workers should be reminded not to monopolize a desk, so that people can switch desks freely and collaborate with different team members regularly. 

Pro tip: Employees do not like to start their day with tidying someone else's mess, both literally and figuratively, so make sure everyone wipes off dirty surfaces and throws away trash before they leave. Or else, hot desking might leave a bad aftertaste and engagement rates will drop.

All of these etiquette rules above can be stated in a written document so that new employees can learn the hot desking guidelines. Don't forget to ask for feedback from the employees regularly!

Ready for a zen office space?

A hot desking policy lays the groundwork for a flexible office space and agile team with motivated and productive members. If you have the right procedures in place, simplify desk booking with booking software and set reasonable expectations - well, then you’re halfway there!

Want guidance on how to set up your hybrid office for success?

Feel free to schedule a meeting with one of our product experts to learn more about our solutions and how technology can help you streamline your office processes without interfering with employees' day-to-day work.

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