Nov 23, 2021

Why is Hot Desking so Beneficial?

Hot Desking can increase employee productivity, empower flexibility, and promote collaboration – while simultaneously optimizing your office space for a hybrid work model. This is how you make it possible.

“Why should my business start Hot Desking?” is one of the most frequently asked questions in the post covid era. With the rise of the hybrid work model, it comes to no surprise that many businesses are looking for new ways to manage their office space and optimize office usage.

The Rise of Hot Desking and the Hybrid Work Model

What is Hybrid Working?

What is a Hybrid Work Schedule?

The increased popularity in Hot Desking Solutions for offices is in many ways correlated with the rise of the new hybrid working trend. Employees and their managers quickly realized that working from home was a suitable option for many work tasks during 2020 – and many are planning to continue even when countries loosen restrictions. Hybrid working has proven to give a number of benefits for employees, like increased mental health, better work-life balance, and improved workplace safety. For the business as a unit, hybrid working provides opportunity for cost reductions and improved productivity in the workforce.

What are the Benefits with a Hybrid Work Model?

With that said, as with anything that is new and trendy, it comes with its own set of challenges and questions. With Flexible work schedules and employees planning to continue to work from home at least 2 days a week, Facility Managers now wonder what can be done with all the unused space. Workspaces and desks remain empty which greatly decreases the motivation to keep them. Optimizing space in 2022 will largely revolve around how the number of desks can be reduced while simultaneously keep employees secure and happy – and Hot Desking is one of the best solutions for that.

The solutions you need to reduce office space

What is Hot Desking?

Hot Desking is said to originate from the common space optimization practices within military organizations, specifically in naval ships where many people shared a tiny space with limited sleeping areas. Sharing beds with team members working other shifts meant that bed capacity could be reduced by 50%, hence the word “hot” for sleeping in a bed still warm from the previous user.

A beginners Guide to Hot Desking – The basics

Even if Hot Desking as a concept originated from the lack of space, it is today considered one of the most effective ways to deal with surplus of space. Hot Desking is an organizational workplace system where work desks or workspaces are shared between employees, in contrast to fixed seating arrangements, when each employee is assigned a desk that is theirs for the keeping during their tenure at a company. Hot desking has the ability, similarly to bed sharing practices within military organizations, to optimize space and reduce the number of work desks needed in one single office space.

Co-working spaces where the first to adapt the Hot Desking model, and if you have ever visited one, Hot Desking is probably something that you have encountered. How Hot Desking is used in practice depends on the company implementing it. Some Choose to only allow ad-hoc seating, meaning that desks are not booked in advance and only taken ad-hoc, while others allow for pre-booking of workspaces days in advance. Hot Desking can also be combined with fixed seating arrangements in certain cases, for example if you have some
parts of your workforce who needs specific equipment for their work tasks or deals with sensitive information. The possibilities are in many ways endless.

What are the benefits with Hot Desking?

Now when we have covered why Hot Desking has risen to prominence and what is actually means, what are the benefits that we can expect to see by spending time and effort into both planning and executing a completely new Space Management Strategy?

What is Space Management?

Why is Space Management Important for an Office?

1. More Available Space

One of the key benefits with Hot Desking is that you will have more available space, either to create more activity-based areas or to sublease to other companies. No matter what your company decides to do with the space at hand, the benefit of having more options to choose from is a great start to re-do your office space to cater to employee needs and to foster
a strong company culture and spirit. 

2. Promote Collaboration Cross Departments

Another benefit with Hot Desking is that it promotes collaboration across departments. In a traditional mode of working, employees are often seated with their own team members that perform the same task. By providing desk sharing, people from different department will have a higher chance of meeting and working together. This can in turn promote new bonds to
be built and make work tasks dependent on cross department communication more effectively executed. Hot desking also makes it easier for people from different teams to work together in workspace areas, instead of using meeting rooms for tasks that can be more effectively performed from a workspace.

3. More Freedom for Employees

Hybrid work models and Hot Desking are known for giving employees more freedom and a chance to control their own work-life balance more effectively. 

4. Cost Savings

Depending on what you want to use the surplus office space for will govern how much cost savings can be made. Hot Desking has the potential to greatly reduce the office space needed, and the surplus can be sub-leased to other companies to decrease overall facility costs, which can save companies a great portion of their facility costs overall.

5. Increased Employee Engagement and Productivity

The point of hot desking is to provide employees with flexibility. This is important for many reasons, including productivity. Some workers prefer to have a conversational environment, while others enjoy a quieter setting. Regardless of how a person works, they can choose their
workspace with the freedom to move around. With hot desking you give the employees the flexibility to sit and work in the place they are most comfortable.

Moreover, when more space is available to create activity-based zones for teambuilding, collaboration, networking and workshop activities, employees will have more areas to choose from that fit their specific needs at the moment. Creating an office environment that is equipped to manage the task at hand play a vast role in increasing employee engagement and productivity.

Enhance productivity in a hybrid work environment

What are the disadvantages of Hot Desking?

It’s clear that Hot Desking has some clear benefits, but there are some cases when hot desking might not work for you.

Three problems with hot desking and how to solve them

1. If You Are a Small Company

If you have few seats to begin with, or have a staff between 3-15 people, Hot Desking, and the costs for new IT solutions and office re-builds might be too expensive for the expected gain.

2. If Your Work Requires Special Equipment

Because Hot Desking revolves around sharing desks with other employees, it needs to be taken into consideration what equipment is needed for each part of the workforce. Some departments might require special computers, direct access to printers, drawing boards or more for their day-to-day work, and equipping all desks with these required tools might just cost a fortune. In these cases, Hot Desking might be a cause for frustration for those who are dependent on it.

3. If You Work Closely With Your Team And Need A Lot Of On-Site Collaboration

Some departments might be highly dependent on close collaboration and because Hot Desking means swapping seats on a daily basis, these employee groups might experience loss in productivity and collaboration if they are not guaranteed seating next to each other or have a clear schedule where everyone is in the office at the same time. There are often team booking capabilities included in Hot Desking solutions on the market, but it can be worth thinking about how Hot Desking might affect groups that are highly dependent on close collaboration with certain team members.

These problems can however be solved if only one or two departments in your company faces these particular issues. Hot Desking can often be combined with fixed seating arrangements so that the people who need certain space or equipment can have that reserved for them on a fixed basis.

How Does Hot Desking work?

Now when we have covered why Hot Desking has risen to prominence and some of its key benefits and downsides, it’s time to think about how Hot Desking actually works in practice. What solutions, if any, are generally used in a Hot desking work environment? And how do employees conduct their day-to-day work in a flexible office?

Firstly, Managers generally need to gain insights on how the employees view the concept of Hot Desking as a whole, valuate if it will be appreciated and if it will work with the general workflow within the company. Before adapting Hot Desking, Facility Managers together with HR and upper management generally work together to create a work plan that compasses all different aspects of this office change.

  • How Many workspaces will be reduced?
  • What levels of utilization do we have at the current moment and what is a reasonable reduction?
  • What should we do with the surplus space? Sub-lease or create new activity areas?
  • What should the budget be for re-doing the office space to fit the new hot desking model?
  • Are there any specific employees or departments for which this model will not work?
  • Are there any objections to implementing Hot Desking? What is the general concern and how can we mitigate these problems?
  • Are we going to allow booking in advance? How will employees book workspaces?
  • How do we make sure that employees know what is available?

These are just some of the questions that might arise in your own discussions about your new Hot Desking model. The most important thing to remember however is that Hot Desking in its pure essence can be a massive change for employees that are used to fixed seating. From the employees’ point of view, they will now have to do one extra thing, and think one extra step when evaluating their office attendance. With fixed seating arrangements, no thought has to be given to finding workspaces, if the office is crowded or even where you should sit if you want to work with teammates. To handle this increased flexibility, some form of software solution for desk booking is often necessary.

Hot Desking solutions often differ in function and design, but it is important to remember that Hot Desking generally does not work in and of itself just by reducing the number of desks. Interactive office maps, booking software and sensors can be necessary to ensure that desk availability is visible and registered correctly. 

In Summary, it is important to note that even if adapting Hot Desking seems easy enough at a glance, there will be many questions that needs answers, and many companies often needs to do some level of planning and budgeting before adapting it. If you need some expert guidance, you can reach out to our consultant here for some advice completely free of charge.

Hybrid Working Post-covid – this is what you should think about

What do I need to start Hot Desking at my Office?

Now when we have covered what Hot Desking is, why it’s so beneficial and situations where you might want to find other solutions, it’s time to go through how you can implement Hot Desking in the best way possible. To make sure that desk sharing actually work, you will need Desk booking software to enable employees to book workspaces, together with some basic sensors that makes sure that usage is always shown correctly.

Flowscape in 30 seconds

Moreover, it might also be necessary to change some parts of the overall office layout and structure to make sure that your space is prioritized right, and that you can mitigate some other problems that might occur in a hybrid work environment.

What is Activity Based working?

How smart office technology can enhance the employee experience

Hot Desking Software that will make Hot Desking Easier

1. Interactive Floorplan For a Good Desk Availability Overview

Let’s tackle the first tool that you will need for a well-functioning Hot Desking solution. Because workspaces are no longer guaranteed due to lower numbers of desks, employees will need some sort of tool where they can see how many spaces are available and if they can take a space upon arrival. Interactive floorplans of your office that can be accessed through a web browser or smartphone app makes sure that employees can see availability status for desks even if they are at home. An interactive floorplan often includes booking functionality, making it possible for employees to book desks before coming to the office or days in advance, helping them to effectively plan their week.

2. Possibility To Add Different Desk Types

You might have some workspaces that needs to be bookable and some that are aimed to be completely ad-hoc. The best Hot Desking software can show availability for both bookable desks and ad-hoc desks by using sensors that register presence, hence always showing the correct availability status for all your desks. Software can take you a long way but is generally not enough if you have a wide range of desk types. Make sure that the Hot Desking solution you opt for can provide sensors that can cover all needs at your office.

Sensors for Desk Management – what you should choose and why

3. Automatic Desk Check-in

Another thing is to consider what you can do about ghost bookings, employees using desks without bookings or colleague finding when you adapt a hybrid work model. Automatic check in for Hot Desks is a greatly beneficial tool that makes sure that bookings are confirmed when someone is seated or released if no one shows up. An USB Desk Sensor automatically check-in employees when they connect their laptop and does not require any additional steps. Because the USB Desk sensor can recognize computers, an employee’s name can be shown on the interactive Floorplan making them easy to find even if they don’t have a designated seat. The automatic check-in also makes sure that the availability status of each desk corresponds with reality.

Automate your desk management with automatic Check-in

4. Weekly Office Attendance Schedule

The ability to effectively plan attendance is a requirement we work in hybrid work environments. Adapting Hot Desking Solution needs to include more than just booking desks, it also needs to show employees if their team members plan to be in the office, and where they have booked their desks. By using an attendance calendar, employees can register attendance for weeks ahead and plan their attendance based on the occupancy rates of the office and how many of their team members will be in. An attendance calendar also shows the workstation booked by each employee making it easy for others to plan their week around when they will be the most productive.

What are the key benefits of a Smart office?

Things you should change in your office to make Hot Desking Work

We have covered some basic Hot desking software needed to start Hot Desking, but there might also be a need to change some other things in your office to make Hot Desking work. Here are some key things to think about.

1. Bookable Meeting Rooms

Because Employees in the same team might be more spread around the office, and because less space will be dedicated to workspaces in general, it is important the Meeting Rooms in the office can handle the new need for conversation and collaboration meetings. For this to work, meeting rooms need to be easily bookable and accessible for everyone. Make sure to evaluate the meeting rooms available and if they are optimized to a new activity-based work environment.

What companies can gain from a conference room scheduling system

An introduction to Room Types

2. Desirable Seating

People will not be required to be in the office 5 days a week with a hybrid work model, so how will you make sure that employees want to come to the office to use your workspaces? One of the most effective ways is to make sure that your workspaces are equipped with the right tools, and that they provide something that most people don’t have at home.

Ergonomic Desks - Make sure that everyone is comfortable, and people want to come to the office because you provide the best equipment.

Screens - Have screens for more effective work where employees can easily plug-in their computers, this also makes sure that you can have automatic check-in.

Power Outlets - Make sure that there is a good power outlet so people can charge their phones and other equipment

3. Storage For Personal Items

Because workspaces are no longer ours to keep, you will need lockers in your office so employees can put away their personal items at the end of the day, without having to take them home.

4. Private areas

Make sure to have smaller meeting rooms like phone booths so people can have private conversations or work quietly if needed.

5. Parking Spaces

Parking Management is a relatively new concept within hybrid workplace solutions but is worth considering in a more activity-based work environment. By giving employees the ability to book parking spaces when they want to work in the office can give employees extra security and make the overall office experience both better and easier.

Introducing the concept of parking management

Want to start Hot Desking?

Do you feel like Hot Desking is something that can work for your company? There are numerous ways in which it can be implemented, and so far, we have only scratched the surface on how to make the hybrid way of working reality. If you want more information and guidance. You can always request a meeting with one of our consultants, the meeting is always free of charge, and they can help you create a Hot Desking solution that is specifically designed after your needs.

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Learn more about our Hot Desking Solution and what it can do for your business.