What is hot desking?

Hot desking is a system of office organization in which employees are assigned desks and physical workspaces for temporary time periods. 

In a traditional working environment employees are typically allocated a permanent desk or a permanent office in which to work. Due to the fact that staff are not always in the office (either because they are part time, away on leave, or are required to work outside the office as a part of their day-to-day activities) this leads to an over-provisioning of desks to employees. 

Hot desking gets around this problem by having a pool of desks that are allocated on an “ah-hoc” or “as needed” basis. For the convenience of employees, hot desks are typically equipped with external monitors and laptop docking stations however this is not always the case. 

Because hot desking means employees do not have a permanent location in an office to keep their belongings, hot desks are often paired with bookable or permanently allocated lockers to give employees a place to store their belongings.

As employee demands for hybrid and remote working environments increase, organizations are increasingly looking to hot desking as a way of reducing their physical footprints. 

Below are several key considerations that organizations may wish to consider when looking to adopt a hot desking model:

  1. Is the decision about which days employees are required in the office a distributed or centralised one? If it is up to staff to self-coordinate, what tools are available for them to organize?
  2. What is your current desk to employee ratio and what ratio is your organization aiming to achieve?
  3. What systems are available for reporting on your office occupancy numbers?
  4. What spaces/resources will be provided to encourage employee collaboration?
  5. Will your organization be offering flexible working hours in additon to a hybrid working model?