How to Manage a Hot Desking Workplace

Hot desking—the workplace organization method wherein there are no assigned workstations—has an assortment of pros and cons to it, but many companies are finding the more fiscal benefits to be worth the trade-offs. Let’s explore some of the pros and cons of hot desking, and go over a few tips and strategies that will help if you choose to implement it. 

First, let’s try to get a better handle on what hot desking really is.

Hot Desking is, in a Nutshell, Allowing Employees to Choose Where They Work Each Day

Instead of assigning each of your employees a dedicated workspace to use, a hot desking strategy consists of unassigned desks or shared work areas where team members come in and use what is available each day, or the work area they have reserved (more on this later). While hot desking isn’t practical for all departments in your organization—it isn’t as though reception can hide in a back office, for instance, and human resources will have needs that necessitate a devoted workspace—it can work quite well for many, if not most, of your team members.

This flexible workplace strategy brings about some real benefits…but it is important to also recognize some of its inherent drawbacks as well.

Pros of Hot Desking

There are a few advantages of hot desking that should not be overlooked:

  • Cost Savings – With remote and hybrid work policies more common than they’ve been ever before, hot desking is one way to facilitate efforts to downsize your office space. Downsizing in this way leads to reduced costs in a variety of contexts, like utilities and insurance.
  • Employee Satisfaction and Anti-Siloing – Speaking of remote work, hot desking in-office time helps by allowing your workers to diversify the colleagues they work amongst. Rather than a member of your sales team exclusively spending time with other sales team members, they can mingle with members of other departments and learn more as a result.
  • Opportunity for Improved Collaboration – On a related note, this co-mingling between teams and departments helps to naturally encourage collaboration amongst your staff as a whole, helping boost productivity and outcomes alike.

Cons of Hot Desking

It would be insincere of us to neglect to mention some of the drawbacks of hot desking along with the benefits it presents, so:

  • Challenges Finding People – Due to the flexible nature of hot desking as a strategy, it can become more of a hassle to track people down in the office. This makes those ad-hoc meetings harder to hold, ultimately slowing processes.
  • Feelings of No Support – Interspersing members of different departments, with different responsibilities and work styles, can leave people feeling out of place and on their own. Plus, hot desking mostly eliminates the opportunity to personalize the workspace, leaving many less comfortable as a result.
  • Unpleasant Competition – Without a fair and equitable system for your employees to use to claim a space to work, prime office real estate will likely become a point of contention for your team members. Furthermore, the different work styles we alluded to above can also create distractions between coworkers depending on the tasks they are assigned.

How to Manage a Hot Desking Workspace

If you’re interested in trying out hot desking in your office, we advise you to prioritize a few things (trust us, you’ll thank us later):

Document Your Hot Desking Policies

Obviously, this really applies to any business policy, but it is crucial that you comprehensively lay out the expectations and standards you have of employees who will be participating in a hot desking implementation. What responsibilities will these employees have? What processes will they need to follow? Setting a precedent in writing will help to reduce some of the drawbacks outlined above.

Set Up a Reservation System, and Zone Your Office for Different Needs

If hot desking leads to fewer places in the office itself to work, it becomes critical that your employees have a way to claim a workspace—otherwise, you could easily have days where there aren’t enough workplaces for your team to use. Requiring an employee to reserve a desk or work area ahead of time helps mitigate this issue.

You may also consider establishing different work zones for different tasks in the office. Whether someone’s work responsibilities might distract others or a group needs a shared space to collaborate, determining different areas to be used for different tasks can help cut down on friction.

Give Your Team Members a Space for Personalization

We discussed that a workplace devoid of any personal expression can lead to stress, and that hot desking makes this kind of expression more difficult. If you can, give your team members some secure storage space to keep personal items that can be displayed and put away each day. In addition to this, don’t hesitate to incorporate various customizable elements into each workstation—things like standing desks, adjustable monitors and chairs, and the like—so that each person is as comfortable as possible wherever they happen to be working.

Keep Things Clean

You’ll also want to enforce a clean desk policy while hot desking, just in case some employees neglect to take care of the space they’re using—after all, they might not be using it tomorrow. Provide cleaning materials, such as antibacterial wipes and hand sanitizers, and establish that your team is expected to use them.

It is also important that your team observe good data hygiene practices as well. Whether in physical or digital format, all work materials need to be properly stored at the end of the day. We recommend that the cloud is used to facilitate this, as no files are stored on the hardware used to access this data.

Use Technology to Your Advantage

Today, modern IT solutions exist that make hot desking relatively seamless, so long as they are implemented properly. Making sure that all of your technology, from your networking equipment to the workstation hardware to the software your team relies on, is in proper working order is absolutely critical.

Interested in Implementing Hot Desking? We Can Help!

Managed IT services, like the ones we provide, are ideal for modern office needs. Regardless of whether your team members are working remotely, in-house, or a mix of the two, we can help deliver the IT support and services your business needs.

With our monitoring and management capabilities, we’ll make sure that the technology aspect of your business is covered. Give us a call at (505) 242-5683 to learn more about us and our services.