Amidst the rise of hybrid work coupled with businesses trying to maximise the use of office space, hot desking has become a staple of modern and flexible office design. While the concept of hot desking has been around for 20+ years, it has begun to gain momentum as more and more offices are moving away from the traditional workplace model. But is it suitable for every business? We look at the pros and cons of hot desking as well as IT Partners’ own journey with the concept.
Hot desking is a flexible way of working which allows employees to choose where they sit in an office, and for how long, with no assigned workstations or cubicles. By replacing permanently assigned desks with hot desking businesses can:
· Optimise space, collaboration, and flexibility in a more agile way
· Suit individual working styles (those who prefer to work from home and only come into the office on an ad-hoc basis)
· Unlock the potential for the physical office space that assigned desks often take up.
The rising popularity of hot desking is directly linked to the several benefits it can deliver.
1. It is cost-effective
Hot desking is an effective way for organisations to save on overhead costs. By no longer having to lease large office spaces or expenses such as individual desks, office materials etc businesses can redirect these savings into other more useful resources.
2. Supports collaboration
Hot desking allows employees to be fluid and change up where they sit and who they sit next to. This encourages cross-departmental interactions and contributes overall to a better company culture as well as supports a more collaborative workplace environment.
3. Perfect for a hybrid workplace
Workers have more autonomy to pick and choose when they come into the office. Hot desking allows them to remain flexible and change their day-to-day work environments with whatever suits their specific work requirements.
Of course, hot desking is no perfect model and there are some downsides that businesses should be aware of:
1. Resistance to change: A key challenge is getting team members on board who are happy with the status quo and may not necessarily be aware of the ‘why’ of hot desking.
2. Lack of personalisation: Some team members enjoy adding personal touches to their workspaces, so constantly changing workstations may cause some complaints.
3. Hot desking means you can choose where you want to sit in the office, but it doesn’t mean you can fully control who sits next to you. This can be a challenge if some colleagues are chattier, while others want to concentrate.
Hot desking occurred to IT Partners as a potential win for the business when we realised, that we consistently had team members working from home. Business performance had maintained during lockdowns, and it was clear we didn't need 1 workspace per employee for most days.
When the wheels of our move to our new Panama East location came into motion, we knew our new space would have a reduced floorplan and we were wary about the real/perceived issues with the change to hot desks (coming from an environment at our previous location, where there had been an abundance of workspaces). To mitigate any risk, our team opened the project with excellent communication, setting expectations and explaining 'the why'. Committing to a test period of a couple of months and taking regular feedback. At the end of the test period, we had data that showed support across most of the business, and it was clear that the concept would work.
Our team looked for an application that would allow us to manage bookings quickly and easily. After shortlisting and vendor selection, we landed on Waldo. Testing Waldo in our previous office location, allowed us the luxury to fine-tune and make any necessary tweaks. Once we changed locations it had already become part of the team's daily routine.
Hot desking certainly helps improve collaboration, creativity, and productivity. However, it may not be suitable for every business. Recommendations from experts focus on being transparent with your team and encouraging feedback. To learn more about hotdesking and how it could help your business, get in touch with our team at [email protected]