Curious about whether hot desking is the right fit for you? In this article, we explore what hot desking entails, delve into the reasons behind its rising popularity, discuss the pros and cons and highlight what type of companies suit this workplace environment and some that might not.
But first things first, what is hot-desking?
Hot desking (also known as desk sharing) is an office arrangement that allows employees the freedom to work and sit from any available workstation in the office depending on their needs or wants. The desk remains theirs for the remainder of the workday or until they complete the day’s workload.
Hot desking is different from the traditional workplace office layout model where an employee is assigned a specific desk or workstation, and instead, seats adopt a first-come-first-serve basis or seats are reserved in advance.
Hot Desking and Hybrid Workplaces: Why has hot-desking become more common?
- Restrictions since the COVID-19 pandemic
- Employees sought greater freedom, flexibility and a better work-life balance
- Organisations are reconsidering the traditional office setup and seeing the benefits of hybrid work
- Accommodates the new way of working
- As a solution to Australia’s tight and competitive office rental market.
Hot desking has likely become more common since the COVID-19 pandemic when a large number of businesses switched from remote or hybrid working due to restrictions. In some companies, after the restrictions had been lifted, employees sought greater freedom and flexibility and organisations found that the hybrid model helped workers maintain a work-life balance. With this realisation, organisations naturally reconsidered the traditional office setup and the need for vast offices or personal desks and adjusted their office arrangement to retain the hybrid or work-from-home model to some degree.
Hot desking has grown in popularity with the rise of open-plan offices. New ways of organising office spaces follow, helping accommodate the new way of working by allowing employees to work on-site or remotely for part of the time with a variety of workstation options (ordinary single-person desks, standing desks and work tables) based on the needs of the company.
Hot desking is a cornerstone of the entire hybrid work model changing with the times and work culture to accommodate how the business and employees work and how individuals feel in the workplace.
As the workplace shifts to become more flexible to fit the needs of employees, at the heart of hot-desking popularity is sustainability by reducing office space and using space only when needed.
Hybrid workplaces make sense for a company that adopts a hybrid approach to work by reducing the number of desks and seats needed (especially if employees rarely get together in the office). Hot desking not only helps cut down on material costs but also saves space. Hot desking is also seen by many as a solution to Australia’s tight and competitive office rental market.
Hot desking is not just for a specific industry.
As companies integrate more flexibility for their employees, hot desking is a now commonly used service from individuals to corporate enterprise teams.
What types of companies and industries use hot desking?
Hot desking benefits a diverse group of people and working professionals from various industries, backgrounds and professions. Hot desking setups attract startups, SMEs, freelancers, entrepreneurs, remote workers, consultants, small businesses, and some larger organisation that favours the flexibility of working outside a traditional office setup.
The main groups that can benefit from hot desking spaces are (but are not limited to):
- Digital Marketers
- Remote workers
- Small Business owners
- Non-profit Organisations
- Hybrid Workers
- Digital Nomads
- Students and Educators.
Coworking spaces and hot desking also act as a go-between for those requiring a temporary office space, remote workers and/or hybrid workers. They offer a familiar environment to what they know whilst accommodating the new style of flexible working after the pandemic.
While hot desking offers flexibility and can be a great offer-effective option for many businesses, it may not be suitable for every type of business. Hot desking can present some challenges such as disrupting employees’ routines, creating loss of structure or disruption of the office hierarchy.
What types of companies are less suited for hot desking?
Businesses that may not suit a hot desking environment include:
- Businesses that require a lot of privacy for confidential discussions and to deal with sensitive information such as law offices, medical practices and mortgage brokers. While some hot desking office spaces offer private meeting rooms, ensuring constant and complete privacy throughout the day could be challenging.
- Industries or businesses that need a dedicated space for the use of large-scale, specialised equipment or machinery such as industries like manufacturing, medical practices, construction or material handling.
- Businesses that need large storage spaces. While many hot design spaces offer storage options, they may not be adequate for employees needing to store equipment, files or goods such as lawyers, retail, decorators or designers.
- Businesses with a lot of employees. For businesses with numerous employees, accommodating everyone comfortably in a co-working space may be a challenge. While some hot desking spaces offer private offices or suites for larger teams, these can be pricier than traditional office solutions.
Ultimately, the decision of whether or not hot desking is suitable for your business depends on your specific needs and preferences. As with any new change, before making any decisions, it is important to weigh up the pros and cons before considering if it’s right for you your company and the dynamics of your team.
Advantages of Hot Desking
However, it is not by chance that hot desking is becoming more popular and replacing the traditional way of working. Hot desking offers a number of amazing benefits including improved productivity, networking opportunities, access to amenities, flexibility and improved work-life balance.
Hot desking can be more cost-effective than a conventional office layout as you pay only what you need. It provides a flexible arrangement for businesses that need to cut down on the expensive office rental of a conventional office, especially companies with remote or mobile workers who don’t need a permanent workspace in the office.
In fact, moving from traditional cubicles and private offices and adopting a hybrid model or hot desking open-plan setup can lower employee overhead costs, cutting space requirements in half and free up resources (e.g. printers, scanners, shredders, etc.), which can further reduce capital and operational costs that can be put to better use.
This can help companies save as much as 30 percent on the costs of running an office which in some parts of Australia can be a saving of thousands of dollars per month.
It is no surprise that in Australia commercial real estate is among the largest expense for companies and therefore reducing this amount can dramatically reduce overall monthly and annual operational expenditures.
With hot desking, you can opt to purchase standalone packages if you need a temporary office equipped with a wide range of support amenities.
Looking for a flexible office space? SOI’s Hot Desk virtual offices offer packages of 10, 20, and 40 hours per month. Reach out to us for a personalised quote if you need a custom solution tailored to your specific requirements.
Flexibility and productivity
This brings me on to the next advantages of hotdesking – flexibility and increased productivity. Hot desking offers a flexible working arrangement and solution for businesses and individuals without a permanent address, fixed desk or workspace available where employees can come together and collaborate.
It also allows you to choose how often you use the area such as in a private office or a shared workspace which be particularly helpful if you have a variable work schedule or need to work from different locations. It is much more flexible than conventional offices, offering employees the chance to pick and choose where and whom they work by working in different areas and with different people or departments based on the task they are working on. With this capability, hot desking is excellent for a change of scenery, helpful for collaboration and avoids unnecessary distractions.
Hot desking spaces offer a temporary yet professional and focused environment. Unlike working from home, they facilitate a clear separation between your work and home life, helping you sidestep distractions such as household chores or interactions with family members. This, in turn, can significantly boost productivity.
Do you want to have access to your own dedicated workspace but not commit to long-term contracts?
Happy to co-share with other entrepreneurs and small business owners? Our co-working space allows you to have your own dedicated desk 4 to 5 days a week on a month-to-month rental contract. Not only do you have access to a full range of professional office amenities but also sharing a suite with other like-minded individuals gives you the flexibility to choose your own number of day off hours per month, or a dedicated day or days per week. With no lock-in -contracts
Hot desking spaces often come with additional amenities, such as high-speed internet, printing and scanning services, and access to conference rooms and other meeting spaces. This can be helpful if you need these services and don’t want to pay for them separately.
More Space And Helps To Keep The Office Tidy
Hot desking offers a range of benefits, including increased space utilisation and improved office tidiness. By providing essential amenities, hot desking reduces the need for excess office supplies, internet provider expenses and costly kitchen facilities.
Hotdesking helps create a more organised and clutter-free space than in a conventional office. Since employees don’t have assigned desks, they set up their workspace daily, bringing only what they need for that particular day. At the end of their workday, they tidy up their temporary workspace and take any documents or materials with them. Whereas, traditional office setups with fixed desks, and belongings are often left behind, contributing to a disorganised environment and cluttered desks. A cluttered office and visual stimuli can negatively impact productivity and creativity and leave a bad impression on visiting clients.
In search of a flexible office space that allows you to pack up at the end of the day?
Consider SOI’s Hot Desk casual office spaces. Our spaces include broadband Internet connection, front reception service, access to printers, meeting rooms, secretarial support, kitchen amenities, showers, bike cages, printing facilities, conference rooms, and more. Contact us today to explore our tailored solutions for your workspace needs.
Suitable For Hybrid Offices
In fact, hot desking is very compatible with the hybrid model it allows for greater flexibility and is inclusive toward remote or part-time remote workers, accepting that some employees are more mobile than others.
It is ideal for businesses that offer part-time work opportunities or that have a large roster of mobile team members. Employees have the flexibility to participate in office activities more freely and go to the office when and if needed, avoiding allocating space and desks to people who are not going to be at the office every day.
Do you have a large team and looking for a flexible solution?
With SOI’s hot desk packages, you can rent as many hot desks as you need. Just pay for the space or number of desks you use. Our hot desking and co-working packages are available in 10, 20 and 40-hour solutions.
Encourages Interaction And Creates A More Collaborative Environment
The untraditional setup, mobility and versatility of a hot-desking environment can help spark brainstorming sessions, problem-solving, and collaboration creating fresh discussions that lead to innovation.
The hot desking space has shared desks, common areas and meeting rooms allowing employees to network and collaborate, which can lead to some great networking opportunities. It removes barriers and encourages cross-functional collaboration between teams and on-site and offsite employees which enhances company culture and employee engagement.
Hot desking allows teams, departments and companies with diverse skills, innovative ideas and personalities to work in the same place to sit down together to learn from each other and collaborate on a project. It encourages a dynamic and collaborative work environment and is perfect for those who thrive being around people with the ambience and interaction a hot desk space brings.
It is excellent for impromptu conversations strengthening interpersonal dynamics, and making the workspace more collaborative through knowledge sharing which are key priorities for business growth that may be lacking in more traditional settings.
Hot desking not only encourages interaction between employees but also offers the chance to connect with other professionals and potentially build new business relationships. This can be particularly helpful if you’re a freelancer or entrepreneur looking to grow your business.
Looking for a place to grow your business? Our hot desking spaces are a flexible solution that offers office facilities and seating arrangements that encourage networking and collaboration. It is the perfect setup for those who thrive being around people with the ambience and interaction a hot desk space brings. Enquire today.
Encourages Equality And Provides A Level Playing Field
Hot desking provides a level playing field and promotes equality in the workplace, with people sitting and working together regardless of the company hierarchy.
This type of inclusive and equitable work environment encourages networking, can help onboarding new recruits and creates a place where people feel listened to, appreciated and comfortable with sharing their ideas.
It can also help individuals with positions in the decision-making process get a better understanding of how things are with employees and ‘on the ground’.
Disadvantages of Hot Desking
However, this type of environment may not be compatible with some environments. It has the potential for disruption and distractions due to loss of structure and disruption of hierarchy which can lead to conflicts.
May Be Incompatible with Some Environments
Certain companies require dedicated areas for confidential discussions or secure storage of client information such as lawyers or mortgage brokers. As a result, the hot desking setup may not be suitable or practical for specific company types, professionals, or departments that cannot easily be ‘portable’ and they may face challenges in transporting substantial amounts of files, equipment, or data daily.
Organisational Structure Loss
Some corporations or traditional organisations or companies have a clear organised structure and model where people work alongside members of the same team. Some companies also have a clear hierarchy with defined roles and reporting lines to ensure effective coordination and communication within the organisation.
Potential for Disruption
Some say that hot desking has the potential to disrupt the workplace, with the absence of guaranteed workstations that may lead to time wasted on searching for available desks and setting them up according to personal preferences.
Additionally, sitting with different people and in different places daily may cause a lack of real continuity in the office and a decline in productivity due to the absence of a consistent routine.
Lack of Predictability
Some people prefer the predictability of a conventional work environment, where things don’t typically change from day to day. The unpredictability could cause stress and tension for people who prefer their own dedicated space.
Potential for Distractions and Conflicts
Disruption and unpredictability can also come with distraction and conflict. When employees collaborate with people they may not have met within a traditional environment it can cause increased stress levels and a conflict of beliefs which can cause resentment and conflict.
The unpredictability and disruption associated with hot desking may inadvertently give rise to distractions and conflicts. Collaborating with unfamiliar colleagues in a non-traditional setting can elevate stress levels, potentially leading to clashes of interests which can cause resentment and conflict.
Some hot desking models operate on a “first come, first served” basis, creating a situation where individuals with shorter commutes or earlier arrivals gain an advantage. Employees may also feel obligated to come to work earlier to secure their preferred workspace.
While work friendships are great for building trust and engagement, the dynamics of hot desking may introduce frequent distractions. Employees may opt for seats based on their proximity to friends, potentially impacting their concentration and productivity.
Our hot take: Is a hot desking space worth it?
Yes, hot desking is absolutely worth it. Hot desking spaces are more cost-effective than a traditional, conventional office setup and offer great networking opportunities with coworking spaces that allow employees to connect with other professionals and potential clients.
They offer a high degree of flexibility, allowing you to choose how often you use the space for a variable work schedule or if you need to work from different locations. Coworking spaces are designed to provide a professional, distraction-free environment that can be helpful for productivity.
If networking is essential to your business, a hot desking space is an excellent way to make new connections.
They offer flexibility and a professional environment for you and your employees to thrive and are an excellent investment in your company’s future.
The great thing about our hot desking and co-working spaces is that you only pay for the space you use. With no lock-in contracts, upgrade at any time as your business grows or your needs change. Just come in, sit down, plug in and begin your work. It’s as simple as that.
Looking for more information or to see if Hot Desking is for you? Contact SOI today
We know that every business is unique, with its own journey story and set of challenges to face. We’d love to learn more about yours and help find a solution tailored for you and your growth.
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