What is hot desking?

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The hot desking trend is alternately celebrated and criticised. On the one hand, it can save billions on wasted office space and encourage innovation. On the other hand, it can make staff feel unsettled and less productive. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Like the office space that hot desking so often inhabits, the theory behind it is flexible.

What is hot desking?

Hot desking is simply the use of non-allocated workstations. These work spaces can be used by any employee, from any department or level, on any given day.

However, it was originally envisaged as just one part of Erik Veldhoen’s theory of activity-based working. This advocates reducing the number of work stations in an office suite while increasing the variety of spaces to encourage a more diverse range of working styles.

Who does it work for?

The theory is that not everyone needs a desk every day, and if employees move around they won’t build up clutter. Better still, they’ll engage with more colleagues and generate new ideas.

This is great for fostering innovation at companies with a mobile workforce on flexible hours. It’s not always ideal for 9-to-5 jobs where employees have regular tasks completed within the same team.

Co-working and your office space mix

Hot desking becomes more widely usable if it’s one component of your office space setup. For example, if you open a satellite office with lots of temporary staff, it could be beneficial to dedicate some space to hot desking, with separate meeting and break out spaces that can be used when needed.

Recent trends towards flexible workplaces have also been boosted by the rise of co-working spaces: shared offices that not only encourage idea-sharing within your business, but across multiple businesses, with the added goals of boosting your network and your visibility. These can be combined with other flexible solutions such as subscription services that give you access to work stations and meeting rooms in co-working spaces worldwide.