Exploring Hot Desking: The Future of Flexible Workspaces

Hot desking

What is hot desking?

Hot desking is a flexible work arrangement in which employees do not have a designated, permanent desk or office and can book a hot desk or available desk on an ad hoc basis. Hot desking means that employees can sit at any available desk when they come into the office rather than being assigned to a specific desk or having their own private office.

Hot desking has been around for quite some time. Still, it has only recently gained widespread popularity in the business world, particularly with the rise of remote work and the emergence of the hybrid workplace, where staff may work from different locations and in various configurations.

How hot desking works

It works best when the organization has a flexible, open office layout with plenty of seating options. Companies usually allocate individual desks for hot deskers, marked with a sign or a sticker indicating they are available. Employees can claim a desk as it becomes available and use it until they need to move on.

Hot desking also uses technology to make the process simpler. Organizations typically have an app or system that staff can use to check in and out of their hot desks. These systems are often integrated with other workplace tools and communicate availability to the rest of the organization.

Benefits of hot desking

There are several benefits to implementing hot desking in your organization. These include:

Cost savings

One of the critical benefits of hot desk arrangements is that they can help organizations save money and reduce their office real estate costs. Traditional office setup requires a certain number of desks and chairs and has a fixed layout, which can lead to the under utilization of own office space. Hot desks help organizations reduce the cost of their office space by allowing them to fit more workers into less space.

Increased flexibility

Compared to permanent desks, hot desks also allow organizations to create a more flexible environment and how they structure their teams and departments. Organizations can easily adjust their teams and departments to accommodate changes in the workforce, such as hiring a new employee or adding roles.

Improved collaboration

Another critical benefit of hot desking is that it allows employees to collaborate effortlessly and work together. As hot deskers typically move to different desks throughout the day, they are more likely to interact with various colleagues with different perspectives or ideas. It can lead to increased collaboration and innovation within the organization.

Improved employee morale

Hot desks also help create a sense of equality among staff, as everyone is on the same level and has access to the same resources. The best setup encourages staff to collaborate and work together, leading to improved employee morale and job satisfaction.

Overall, hot desks are an excellent way for organizations to increase efficiency, reduce costs, and create a more collaborative office space for their employees.

Drawbacks of hot desking

While hot desking has many benefits, it is not without its drawbacks. One potential downside is the lack of personal space and the need to set up and take down one's workstation constantly. It can be especially challenging for staff who are used to having their dedicated desk or own space, as adjusting to a new environment can be challenging.

In addition, transitioning to a hot desking model can be complicated for some staff, requiring a certain level of adaptability and flexibility.

Another potential drawback of hot desking is the potential for reduced productivity. Without a dedicated desk or private office, it may be more difficult for an employee to focus and get work done. In addition, the lack of a permanent workspace may make it harder for staff to keep track of their personal belongings and important documents.


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Determine if hot desking is right for your company

So, how do you know if hot desking arrangements suit your organization? One factor to consider is your company's office model. Hot desking may be a good fit if you have a modern office with mostly remote or distributed workers. On the other hand, if your company has a traditional office with primarily in-person workers, it may be more challenging to implement hot desking.

Another factor to consider is the needs and preferences of your employees. Do they value their space and privacy, or are they more open to flexible, a shared coworking space? It may be helpful to survey your staff and get their input on the potential switch to hot desking.

it helps you gauge whether hot desking is viable for your organization and identify any potential concerns or challenges that may arise.

Finally, consider your company culture and values. Does hot desking align with your company's values and goals? Are you willing to invest in the necessary infrastructure and resources to support a hot-desking model, such as desk booking software and private space for employees when needed? Answering these questions can help determine whether hot desking is a good fit for your organization.

Hot desking implementation options

Aerial View of Young Business Friends Discussing the Project at the Worktable.There are a few different ways that hot desking can be implemented in an organization. One option is for a company to provide a set number of hot desks for employees to use on a first-come, first-served basis. It is a simple and cost-effective option for companies with a small staff or a high percentage of remote workers.

Another option is to use a hot desking system, which allows employees to reserve a unique desk or conference room in advance. It can be a more flexible and convenient option for employees, enabling them to plan their workday and ensure a suitable workspace when they come into the office.

Desk booking software can also be helpful for companies with many employees or a more traditional office model, as it allows for better space utilization and ensures enough desks are available for everyone.

Hot desking vs. hoteling

Hot desking is often confused with hoteling, a similar concept for office management in which employees do not have a designated, permanent desk or office but can reserve a desk or conference room as needed. However, there are a few key differences between hot desking and hoteling.

One key difference is the frequency with which employees use the shared workspace. With hot desking, the staff is typically expected to use a different desk daily or weekly, whereas, with hoteling, employees may reserve the same desk or conference room for extended periods.

Another difference is the level of personalization allowed. With hot desking, employees are typically not allowed to personalize their workspace or leave personal items at their desks, as they are expected to use a different desk regularly. With hoteling, staff may have more flexibility to personalize their workspace and leave personal items at their desks, as they are using the same desk for longer.

Best practices to set up hot desking

Head of department standing and talking to smiling young employees in office-2

The following are some best practices that can help ensure a successful transition to hot desking:

Set up your floor plan

For an effective hot-desking environment, it is essential to set up an efficient floor plan that allows for easy desk sharing. Consider the number of staff using the hot-desking space and ensure enough desks and other workspaces, such as conference rooms or private offices, to accommodate everyone.

Get employees excited about it

When implementing a new and revolutionary way of working, getting staff on board and excited about the change is essential. Consider hosting an introduction event or discussion session to explain how it works and answer employees' questions or concerns.

Consider the right desk features for your office.

If you plan to provide desks for hot desking, ensure they have the right features for your office. Consider desk size, adjustable height options, and comfortable seating accommodating different body types.

Create a best practice guide for employees'

One of the critical elements of hot desking is the need for staff to share their workspace. Create a guide that outlines best practices for desk sharing, such as cleaning up after yourself, taking personal items with you when finished, and respecting others’ space.

Invest in a hot desking software

Another important aspect of hot desking has an efficient way of managing desk reservations. Invest in hot desking software that allows employees to find and book hot desks and available workspaces based on their location, the number of people they need to accommodate, and their specific needs.

Regularly review your hot-desking policy

Hot desking work can change over time, so you must review your policy regularly and make any necessary adjustments. Consider feedback from employees and make sure the rules you have in place are fair, easy to understand, and effective for your office.

By implementing these best practices, companies can ensure that their transition to hot desking work is successful.

Improving hot desking in your company

If you have decided that hot desking is a good fit for your organization, there are a few best practices that you can follow to ensure a smooth and successful transition.

First, it is essential to set up your floor plan to maximize the number of hot desks available and make it easy for employees to find an open desk. It may involve rearranging your office layout or investing in additional furniture to create more flexible shared spaces.

Next, it is essential to get employees excited about hot desking and help them understand the benefits and how it will work. It may involve creating a best practice guide for employees, providing training or resources, and communicating the benefits of hot desking to your team.

In addition to creating a positive environment, it is vital to consider the right desk features for your office, including investing in ergonomic chairs and desks, providing power outlets and phone chargers, and ensuring sufficient natural light and ventilation.

Investing in a hot desking creating solution is also a good idea to make the transition to a hot desk as smooth as possible. It can help employees quickly find and reserve a desk or conference room in advance and ensure that there are always enough desks available for everyone.

Another important consideration is providing private space for employees when needed. It may involve creating dedicated quiet rooms or private offices for employees to use when they need to focus or make phone calls. It is also essential to address the issue of personal item storage, as employees will not have a dedicated space to keep their belongings. It may involve providing lockers or storage solutions for employees to use.

In addition to the physical workspace, it is also essential to consider amenities and resources that will be available to employees. It includes access to meeting rooms, technology and internet, and printing facilities. Providing a range of amenities and resources can help ensure employees have everything they need to be productive and successful.

Measuring the success of hot desking

Once you have implemented hot desking in your organization, it is essential to measure and evaluate its success regularly. One way to do this is to use workplace analytics tools to track how employees use the shared workspace. It helps you understand how often desks are used, which are used the most, and what times of day are busiest.

Another way to measure the success of hot desking is to track the use of space in your office. Are there any empty desks or conference rooms that are not being utilized? Are any desks or conference rooms being used more frequently than others?

By tracking the use of space, you can identify any areas that need to be adjusted or reconfigured to meet your employees' needs better.


In conclusion, hot desking can be an effective and cost-efficient way for businesses to create a flexible work environment for their employees.

By eliminating the need for assigned desks or private offices, hot desking allows employees to choose a desk daily and work from different locations; it can increase collaboration and innovation and lead to higher productivity and satisfaction. However, it is essential to carefully consider whether hot desking is a good fit for your organization and adequately plan and implement the transition to ensure its success.

It is worth noting that hot desking is not suitable for every organization, and it is essential to consider the needs and preferences of your employees, as well as your company culture and values. If hot desking is not a good fit, other flexible workspace options, such as hoteling or coworking, may be more suitable.

The term "hot desking" has been in use since the 1980s and is believed to have originated from the phrase "hot racking," which refers to sharing a bunk bed on a naval ship. Today, hot desking is used in various settings, including traditional offices, coworking spaces, and hybrid workplaces.

In addition to its benefits for small businesses and startups, hot desking can also be a valuable tool for enterprise companies looking to create a more flexible and efficient work environment. For self-employed workers and freelancers, hot desking can provide a convenient and cost-effective alternative to working from hHotng a private office.

Hot desking is a flexible workspace solution that can benefit businesses and employees if implemented and managed effectively.

Management Productivity
Rinaily Bonifacio

Written by:

Rinaily Bonifacio

Rinaily is a renowned expert in the field of human resources with years of industry experience. With a passion for writing high-quality HR content, Rinaily brings a unique perspective to the challenges and opportunities of the modern workplace. As an experienced HR professional and content writer, She has contributed to leading publications in the field of HR.


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