Companies that grow rapidly can soon run out of office space – yet they can still find themselves with empty desks most days, due to vacations, business travel, sickness, and remote or flexible working, for example.
So, why pay for more space if it won't be used? Or, to look at it another way, how can you use your existing office space more productively?
An increasing number of organizations are responding to these questions with "hot desking." If it's managed with care, this workspace-sharing model can foster collaboration and creativity, and utilize your space more efficiently. But it's not without its critics, and it can be a challenge for your people.
In this article, we look at the pros and cons of hot desking, and discuss how you can sidestep its potential pitfalls.Visit here for more detail; Desk hoteling.
What Is Hot Desking?
Hot desking is the practice of providing a pool of desks, and allowing people to choose where they sit – ideally, in a different place each day. This replaces the tradition of sitting at your own personal desk, in the same position, every day.
The idea has its roots in the open-plan office format that was first introduced in the 1950s. And, just as open-plan spaces signaled the demise of the private office, hot desking may be hastening the decline of the personal workstation.
The Pros and Cons of Hot Desking
Settling down at a different desk each day gives people from different teams and departments the chance to interact, and to build networks that cross the formal company hierarchy. This helps to break down silos and cliques, and facilitates "chance" encounters that can enable organizations to become more creative.
Hot desking can also lead to significant cost savings, because it cuts down on unused space. Let's say you have a staff of 50, but 10 of them work from home Mondays and Wednesdays. That's 20 empty desk spaces per week that can be reallocated. Consider the example of Citibank – its HR department in New York has just 150 workspaces for 200 employees.
Despite these benefits, though, hot desking isn't universally popular.
The loss of a familiar workspace, and the separation from teammates and managers, makes some people feel unsupported. Others argue that splitting up close-knit teams may reduce communication and creativity, and that it impacts morale.
And, competition for the "best" desks can cause problems. "First come, first served" may sound fair, but it's less so in offices where people don't all work the same hours. It can be irritating and inconvenient to hunt for a free desk if you arrive later in the day.
How to Manage a Hot-Desking Workplace
But, while hot desking can be a challenge, there are practical ways to manage it. Here are six points to consider before you take the plunge.
Switching to hot desking can be a big cultural change for your organization. But, if you give people the chance to help shape the policy, they'll more likely support it.
To achieve their buy-in, spell out the benefits that hot desking will bring. Explain how it will operate, and be upfront about how it will affect their working lives. Invite people to respond – this will demonstrate that you value their concerns and their well-being. It could also highlight issues that you hadn't thought of.
You could also consider including home working as part of a wider policy on flexible working. Such a move would free up more desk space, and it may encourage reluctant hot deskers to accept the change.