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Hot desk office: learn how to make the most of a shared environment


March 18, 2024


March 19, 2024

Say goodbye to the personal desk cluttered with mementos; it’s time to embrace a hot desk office. As a CRE or facility manager, you are pivotal in transforming offices into more dynamic, efficient environments. Hot desking is your opportunity to create a place that not only maximizes efficiency and flexibility but also boosts employee morale and productivity. By smartly using space and considering the surroundings, you’re setting the stage for success.

As the trend of remote work continues to rise, desk-sharing offices become an increasingly attractive option. This offers your team the freedom to choose their workspace based on their daily needs. This approach promotes a vibrant, connected workplace ready to adapt to modern work challenges. Want to make the switch? Let’s explore how you can make your office flexible and innovative with hot desking.

What’s a hot desk office?

The meaning of a hot desk office

What’s a hot desk office? Basically, hot desks are flexible workplaces where employees share a desk or workstation in a common space. That’s the opposite of a fixed desk in a traditional place of work. In flex-desking or hot seating, people reserve a desk or shared table for the day or even a few hours.

Hot desks replace assigned seating with a first-come, first-served system that lets you pick your desk whenever you want. This approach allows for efficient use of the working space and adapts daily to staff needs and preferences. It makes the office of the future more dynamic and adaptable to the changing needs of the team.

The difference between hot desking and hotelling

Hot desking and hotelling are both designed to maximize office space efficiency, but they cater to different needs. Hot desks promote spontaneity and choice every day because there’s no need for reservations. Similarly to hot desking, hoteling refers to booking a desk for a longer period of time, such as a week or more. This is what you can do with the deskbird’s assigned spaces feature.

You need to understand these differences to decide which model works best for your organization. Both strategies can improve space efficiency, but you should choose one that fits your team’s working style and your business’s demands.

🎬 Discover the features of the deskbird app in less than two minutes in this video and learn how we can make your flexible work environment thrive!

What are the benefits of designing a hot desk office?

Hot desking advantages for business

Optimizing the office space

Hot desking tackles the common issue of unused office space. With first-come, first-served desks, your office adapts to your team’s needs every day, ensuring you get the most out of your space. By doing this, you’ll use every square foot of your rooms effectively, reducing dead zones and bringing more life to your workplace. This means managing a dynamic and efficient space that caters to different tasks and collaboration styles without wasting space. It can also help minimize clutter and make your workplace more aesthetically pleasing.

Lowering costs

Transitioning to a hot desk office can save you a lot of money. With a lower footprint per employee, you can either downsize into a smaller facility or use existing space better without adding square footage. Because of this flexibility, rent, energy, and maintenance costs drop. 

Having less furniture and equipment also saves you some expenses. It means you can spend your budget more strategically, investing in things that enhance your staff’s well-being or drive business growth. This could include putting money into technology, or better ergonomic furniture to reduce physical strain on your employees.

👋 Try our hybrid office calculator and discover where to save costs in your workplace!

People working at communal table
People working at communal table

Creating an agile office layout boosting productivity

The hot desking approach promotes a more flexible office layout, which is a great way to boost productivity. Here, people have the freedom to move about and work together openly, allowing them to break down silos and foster a dynamic work environment.  

As a facility or CRE manager, your job is to design workspaces that support both solo and collaborative work modes. Office environments help you to get the best out of your employees. Also, agile layouts adapt quickly to changing business needs, so your workplace stays responsive and innovative. 

Pros of a desk sharing office for employees

Adapting the workspace to the type of tasks

Desk sharing matches workspaces to tasks based on your needs. With hot desking, your employees can choose the right setting for their current work, whether it’s working alone, collaborating with others, or brainstorming in a quiet space. 

Having this kind of adaptability to your job can lead to better performance and a greater level of job satisfaction. Your role as a facility manager is to ensure that your staff are in the right environment to succeed.

Enjoying easier collaboration and interactions when coming on-site

A great thing about desk sharing is how easily it facilitates collaboration and interaction between coworkers. By choosing where to sit, employees can position themselves near team members or departments they’re working with on any given day. 

This proximity can lead to more spontaneous meetings and cooperation, breaking down silos and encouraging a more cohesive group dynamic. As a result, your office becomes a hub of activity and exchange, where ideas flow freely and collaborative work is effortlessly promoted.

Evolving in an agile and employee-centric work environment

Adopting hot desking is a step towards a more agile and employee-centric work environment, where your team’s freedom, creativity, and ideas are valued above all. By removing assigned seating’s static nature, hot desking fosters a dynamic environment. Plus, when people move around and work in different spaces, they’re exposed to various stimuli and perspectives, sparking creativity. 

Collaborating spontaneously with diverse team members across different days encourages fresh conversations and idea exchanges that wouldn’t happen at a fixed desk. This benefits your employees’ experience and has direct consequences for your business. It's definitely a win-win!

How do you transform your traditional workspace into a desk-sharing office?

Analyze the current use of the office space

To analyze your office space usage, start by tracking occupancy rates across different zones using sensors or check-in software. Then, map out your work areas to visualize high-traffic zones versus underused spots. Finally, implement feedback tools or surveys to gather employee insights on space preferences and needs. Use this data to adjust your hot desking strategy, reallocate resources, and redesign spaces to match real usage patterns. Make sure you encourage people to report any issues with access or office usage.

Discuss with your employees about their expectations regarding the physical workplace

Your employees are the ones who use the space every day, so their input is invaluable. Hold discussions or surveys to gather their expectations, preferences, and any concerns they might have about moving to a desk-sharing setup. This feedback is crucial for creating a workspace that not only meets your business objectives but also supports and enhances your team’s work experience. Engaging with your staff early on fosters a sense of ownership and enthusiasm for the new office design.

Redesign your office layout to match the hot desking principles

Armed with insights from your space analysis and employee feedback, it’s time to revamp your office arrangement. This redesign should prioritize flexibility, collaboration, and efficiency, with various zones dedicated to different work styles and tasks. Integrate technology solutions that facilitate hot desking, like booking systems for workstations and meeting rooms. A well-thought-out setup that embraces hot desking principles can transform your workplace into a more dynamic and adaptable environment.

📆 Start a free trial of the deskbird app to give your employees more flexibility with workspace booking and week planning while saving costs!

open concept office
Open concept office with hot desks

Keep an eye on your workplace analytics for potential improvement

Once your desk-sharing office is up and running, continuously monitor its performance through workplace analytics. Tools like the deskbird app can provide valuable data on space usage, peak times, and employee preferences. Use this information to make savvy adjustments to your layout, policies, or available resources. Regularly reviewing insights ensures your workspace remains aligned with your team’s needs and expectations, driving ongoing improvement and satisfaction in your hot desking environment.

How can you maintain a flow and high level of efficiency in a hot desk environment?

Analyze the potential downfalls ahead

Before you start hot desking, identify possible issues with your office’s layout. As a facility manager, keeping an eye out for potential problems, like scheduling conflicts, is key. Overcrowding in popular spots or deserted zones affects the overall workflow and atmosphere. You can prepare for these challenges by proactively assessing space usage and distribution. Make sure it fits your team’s preferences with a mix of collaborative and individual areas. You can refine the arrangement over time by regularly evaluating how desks, meeting rooms, and resources are used. 

Make sure everyone gets access to basic equipment and resources

Ensuring everyone has access to the basics, like plugs and sockets, is crucial in a hot desk setup. Imagine arriving with your coffee, ready to conquer the day, only to find there’s nowhere to plug in your laptop. Frustrating, right? It is your responsibility to make sure the essentials are within reach for all. This means having enough outlets, chargers, and Wi-Fi that doesn’t drop when you move desks. 

This aspect goes beyond simply being handy. It’s about providing your team with what they need to work and perform efficiently every single day. No one should have to waste time hunting for a spot to plug in when they’re ready to tackle their tasks.

Consider implementing a BYOD policy

Considering a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy? It’s a smart choice for hot desking. Allowing your team to use their personal devices can boost comfort and efficiency. Just remember, it’s not all smooth sailing. You need to think about security and make sure your IT setup is up to scratch. The goal? Keep your network safe while making life easier for everyone. Getting this balance right means your office remains flexible, and your staff stays happy and productive without missing a beat.

🔐 Worried about security? Check the best BYOD security solutions to apply to your work environment!

Man working at desk
Man working at hot desk

Keep in mind that sharing desks doesn’t suit every employee

Hot desking might not fit all your team members’ work styles. Some people need their own space where they can pin up pictures of their dog or put that lucky plant. Recognizing this isn’t about one-size-fits-all but about providing options. Maybe include a few dedicated desks for those who thrive on consistency. This way, you’re ensuring that everyone’s working preferences get a nod, keeping your employees’ morale and productivity high. This thoughtful mix of flexible and fixed desks creates an inclusive environment and makes your workspace universally welcoming and effective.

Create a hot desk policy with rules and best practices to follow

Setting up a hot desk policy is like laying down the ground rules for a collective sport. Everyone needs to know how to play fair. You want to cover the basics: how to tidy up after yourself, share space nicely with others, etc. Highlighting shared desk etiquette is crucial. It’s the playbook for avoiding hiccups. With all your team members aligned with the dos and don’ts, your hot desking setup can thrive, enhancing both the atmosphere and output of your workspace. This approach prevents potential conflicts and promotes a sense of community and collective responsibility. It makes your office a model of productivity and positivity.

Use a hot desking app like deskbird

Diving into hot desking? Make it a breeze with deskbird, your go-to app for managing those flexible workspaces. We make the entire process seamless, not just finding a spot. Thanks to its integrations, deskbird synchronizes with your existing systems, like MS Teams, Slack, and your calendar apps, to keep everything running smoothly. With real-time updates on who’s in and what’s happening, planning your week or booking that perfect desk becomes easy. Let deskbird handle the logistics so you can focus on the work that matters.

With a hot desk office, your company becomes a hub of efficiency and collaboration, reflecting the evolving nature of the modern workplace. Planning your space carefully, creating clear guidelines, and using smart tools like deskbird promote productivity and support diverse working styles. Be flexible, communicate regularly, and strive for continuous improvement as you move towards a desk-sharing office. Be open to change, listen to your team, and refine your approach to foster an environment where everyone blossoms. Let’s make your business a place that meets today’s office challenges and prepares for tomorrow. To understand how our software can help your company and your employees thrive, request a free demo of the deskbird app and discover our amazing features for modern workforces!

Hot desk office: learn how to make the most of a shared environment

Paulyne Sombret

Paulyne is a highly respected expert in hybrid work. She's known for her writing on sustainability in the hybrid office, flexible work models, and employee experience. With a strong background in content and SEO, her work explores the exciting trends and latest news in the world of work.

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