Hot desking is the process of taking workers away from the traditional office. Instead of putting up walls that force workers to move about the office and become unproductive, hot desks allow for collaboration by creating breakout spaces. When combined with modern technological components, there can be dramatic improvements in overall staff productivity.
It is quite beneficial for teams that are very mobile and rarely need to be in the office. It is also a good solution for teams that bring in telecommuters every so often to get everyone on the same page.
Hot desking has certain advantages and disadvantages which should be considered before going all-in on this type of workspace design.
List of the Advantages of Hot Desking
1. It is an affordable way to design an office.
When the open spacing of a hot desking design is appropriately implemented, it will use less overall space than the typical office-style design. Large teams may find that they can cut the costs of running their office by 30% with hot desking while saving 15% to 25% on the amount o of space they require.
2. It creates an open design.
Hot desking creates an open design which facilitates more collaboration within the team environment. The design can be completely open, permitting full contact between co-workers at all times. It can also include light separation, giving workers some privacy and personal space while still encouraging people to work together without needing to completely move to a new location.
3. It keeps remote workers in contact with the team.
Remote workers should still have access to an office space whenever they are in the office. If those workers aren’t in the office, however, it becomes the perfect opportunity for hot desking. These areas can become another meeting room, a place for an informal creativity session, or even temporary storage. You’ll find that when these spaces are available, the environment for the entire team becomes more relaxed.
4. It encourages a social culture.
Many workers grew up in an environment where work responsibilities stayed at work and personal responsibilities stay away from work. Having a social culture at the workplace may sometimes create productivity inefficiencies. It may also reduce the amount of interpersonal tension which can occur on some teams. Individual seating assignments will also cause most workers to adopt a silo-based approach, which can reduce performance. Hot desking makes the office feel more like a communication tool than real estate.
5. It organizes the office.
When a work space remains organized, people become more productive. In the traditional office setup, you might find some offices completely organized and others completely trashed. That visual aesthetic can affect team productivity. With hot desking, it becomes easier to implement cleanliness policies because the space is so open. That reduces the amount of clutter that is present, which ultimately lets your teams and your future customers get the right first impression.
6. It disperses the hierarchy of the office.
In the traditional office, there is a certain hierarchy which causes workers to avoid those with seniority or important titles. Even when an “open door policy” is available, it is rarely utilized because the doors are not always truly open. With hot desking, the traditional structure is disrupted. Flexibility is built into the workspace because it encourages teams to come together, regardless of their title, status, or talent.
7. It is flexible enough to meet your needs.
You can decide to have hot desking for your entire team. You can also decide to have hot desking for specific job functions. You don’t have to be 100% all-in to take advantage of the benefits present with this design option.
List of the Disadvantages of Hot Desking
1. It may require new IT strategies.
Many teams are location-based from an IT perspective. That means a worker must log onto a specific computer to access their work. With hot desking, a better strategy is to allow workers to login at any available desk. To avoid the chaos of workers crashing in on favorite locations, it is helpful to have a system which allows workers to book their preferred desk before they arrive at work for the day.
2. It may cause some staff to miss their personal space.
Although working together encourages better productivity out of most people, some team members may become less productive. Some people need to have some privacy or personal space to stay focused on what they need to do. Being able to identify these workers during the transition process to hot desking allows you to seek out alternatives for these quality employees, such as remote working, telecommuting, or giving them their own space somewhere out of the flow of the milieu.
3. It may cause leadership disruptions.
For more than a generation, the career goal of many workers was to make their way into the corner office with a window. Disrupting the hierarchy of the office can cause resentment in the employees who felt like they were close to reaching their goal. Hot desking does put someone with 20 years’ experience next to someone who may have just started and treat them as equals. Not everyone will enjoy that type of experience – on both sides of the equation.
4. It may require an increase in IT resources.
Hot desking requires modern technologies to work properly. If you’re running on a shoestring IT budget, there’s a good chance that implementing a hot desking approach will take some time. You need to have all workers connected with the best possible IT resources to encourage better overall collaboration. If you’re not at a place where you can do this, then this might be a design option you’ll want to hold off on implementing until you can afford it.
5. It may restrict employee access when accommodations are necessary.
Before implementing any type of hot desking option, it is important for your HR team to review any requested accommodations which have already been made. Some employees may have specific needs which must be met as part of their conditions of employment. Hot desking may not meet those accommodations. That would create some potential trouble for your business, as health and safety issues must be addressed for all workers – not just those who do not have any accommodations requested.
The advantages and disadvantages of hot desking involve bringing people together to become more productive. There will always be outliers that do not benefit from this structure. You have two options: look for ways to include them or find ways to let those people go. At the end of the day, hot desking tends to provide more benefits than negatives, which is why it is becoming a popular design option for companies all over the world.