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Tips To Make Hot Desking Work

30 May 2022

The rise of hybrid working has led to many businesses downscaling their office space as an effective way to cut costs. With space at a premium, how do you accommodate your large, and possibly expanding, workforce? Hot desking provides just the solution. So, what is hot desking and how can you make it work for your business?

What is Hot Desking?

Hot desking is a system whereby employees do not have a permanent assigned desk, instead they make use of any available desk for the work day on an ad hoc basis. This organisational system is adopted in both private and coworking office spaces.

Hot desking is ideal for businesses adopting a hybrid style of working, as it makes no sense for workers who are working remotely for half of the week to have an assigned desk which just sits empty in the office. Many companies did make use of a hot desking system pre-pandemic, however COVID-19 forced many more to shift to this arrangement.

Benefits of Hot Desking

In addition to the obvious cost advantages, there are a myriad of other benefits to adopting a hot-desking system within your company.

● Redundant office space presents a property risk, therefore businesses must downsize their office space as they factor in increased levels of remote and hybrid working.

● By bringing people together physically, hot-desking supports communication, collaboration and innovation. If the hot desk system is arranged effectively, it can also foster meaningful and innovative inter-departmental collaborations.

● Supports a hybrid working style by optimising the use of available office space.

● Allows businesses to scale up their remote workforce without incurring upfront operational costs.

● Hot desk workstations are likely to be tidier and clutter-free as employees are unable to leave their personal trinkets lying around and will be motivated to keep their space tidy for their colleagues.

How To Make Hot Desking Work

The benefits of hot desking are clear, but it can also bring a whole new set of problems to the office if not done correctly. There is some negativity surrounding hot-desking, with some employees concerned about a loss of personal workspace and others worried about the availability of desks.

We’ve got you covered, with some practical tips for transitioning seamlessly to a hot-desking system:

1. Keep your employees in the loop

When implementing your new hot-desking strategy, the worst thing that you can do is blindside your employees with it. Don’t just break it to them the day before, that is bound to create some unwanted office tension. Instead, get them involved in the planning stages and ask for their input as you make key decisions. After all, this is a significant change that is going to have a massive impact on their daily work life. If they know exactly what is going on, your employees are more likely to fully embrace desk sharing.

2. Use a reliable booking system

Just rock up and choose somewhere to sit. It sounds great in theory doesn’t it, but it is unlikely to work in the real world. The last thing you want is morning arguments over who is sitting where. For hot desking to work effectively, you should consider the use of an effective desk booking system, allowing employees to book their desks in advance. While this can be sorted out manually, by assigning numbers or colours to each individual desk and allocating desks based on employees working hours, this process can be tedious and time-consuming. There are plenty of automated desk booking software solutions that can streamline this process for you.

3. Keep shared desks clean

Post-pandemic, we are all concerned about the potential spread of bacteria and viruses, particularly within the office environment. Shockingly, office workstations are home to around 10 million microbes!

Shared desk spaces can present an opportunity for the spread of infectious diseases. To minimise the risk to employees, all shared desks should be thoroughly cleaned and sanitised between uses. Companies can help by providing a handy supply of antibacterial wipes and hand sanitisers. Employees should be encouraged not to eat at their shared workstations. These points should be clearly specified within the company's hot-desking policy.

4. Provide options for employees to own their space

We all like to feel settled and “at home” in our workspace. When hot desking, we can no longer cram our office desk with photos of our loved ones, sentimental trinkets and motivational quotes. This is one of the reasons why many workers don’t embrace hot-desking - they miss the sense of owning their own space. Companies must appreciate this and think of new and creative ways to allow employees to feel a sense of ownership. Maybe you could create an office board where all employees can display their personal photos. Or you could have a display cabinet for everybody to display their awards and achievements in. Employees would benefit from access to a locker to store away their personal items, such as their favourite coffee mug and items of stationery.

Closing Remarks

If you are starting the transition to hot-desking within your company, you should consider getting your staff involved in the whole process. Consulting with your employees beforehand will help to encourage their buy-in and their feedback will highlight potential issues that you may not have considered.