What is hot desking?

05-06-2015

Hot desking is an office organisation method that involves multiple workers using a single work station or surface during different time periods, rather than giving each worker their own personal desk.  This is especially useful for workplaces where not all employees are in an office at the same time such as those who work on a rota system with several unique staff shifts over a 24-hour period.

The term hot desking is thought to have originated from a naval practice where sailors on different shifts shared the same bunks, which they referred to as ‘hot racking’.

A key motivation for hot desking is the potential cost-reduction through space saving and decreased resources, which is estimated to be up to 30% a year for some UK businesses.  Evidence also suggests that hot desking can lower staff turnover and absence rates and improve productivity through a happier workforce.   Hot desking can be used by businesses as a tool to encourage collaboration, merge workplace areas or encourage a sense of community and can be especially useful for those that have project-based work.  In fact, here at Office Profile our Project Managers are now using hot-desking (in image below) as they are frequently out of the office on site visits and do not require a full-time desk.

Hot desking project managers
Hot desking at Office Profile

However, despite all of the potential benefits of this different way of working, it has been suggested that employees that do not have a desk of their own can have a weaker sense of team cohesion or identify within a workplace, and some managers may find it harder communicate with workers.  Some workers may wish to have their own space, which can lead to people consistently choosing the same hot desk location and making it their own, or simply preferring seats near a window or kitchen.  Hygiene is a factor, with the risk of infection typically higher due to germs being spread easier when several people are using the same desk and locations.

There are two distinct types of hot desking – ‘full’ or ‘neighbourhood’.  Full hot desking refers to where all employees, regardless of their department or expertise, participate in hot desking and are all mixed within one area.  Neighbourhood hot desking refers to where employees participating in hot desking are designated to certain areas, sometimes depending on their work hours, departments or projects.  If a business adopts the neighbourhood route of hot desking it is common for them to differentiate these areas by different colours, styles or materials.  Therefore an employee could be designated to the ‘green’ area one day or ‘blue’ the next.

Office Profile are experienced in creating environments that encourage hot-desking, and have a skilled interior design team that can work with you to plan your space, taking into account the considered usage, traffic flow, colour or style themes, and working methods.

Hot desking
Hot desking at Girls Day School Trust

To find out how we can help you create a hot-desking workplace, please call us on 020 8770 7077 or email us at sales@officeprofile.co.uk.

Source used: ‘Hot Desking Could Save The UK £34 Billion A Year’ – http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=4304