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What is Hot Desking? Everything You Need to Know

Hot Desk Etiquette: What You Need to Know

With the rise of open-plan office spaces and hybrid working models, hot desking has become a popular option for many businesses and freelancers across the UK. Offering flexibility, greater collaboration and an increased sense of office community, desk-sharing arrangements have a number of different benefits. 

So, what exactly is hot desking, how does it work and what are the advantages and disadvantages? We’ve got everything you need to know to help you decide whether it is right for you and your business. 

What is hot desking?

To put it simply, hot desking is when there is no designated seating within an office space. Instead, desk spaces are taken on a first-come, first-served basis. The flexibility of hot desking holds an array of benefits but is particularly advantageous for maximising space efficiency and increasing employee innovation. 

How does hot desking work?

Hot desking is commonplace in coworking spaces. It allows people to simply pay as you go using a hot desking booking system and each desk is fully equipped with power sockets and a Wi-Fi connection - lessening the property risk for employers. 

Many businesses have been adopting this working model with the rise of hybrid working as it provides employees with the freedom to choose when they’re coming into the office and where they’d like to work for the day. This fluid way of working isn’t restricted to coworking areas; many businesses are adopting hot desking policies in their leased offices, as it enables them to minimise unused space and also better manage staff who might work remotely some of the time. More on that later.

The benefits of hot desking 

From increased flexibility to reduced costs – it’s no wonder so many people are opting for hot desks over more traditional predetermined office seating methods.

The advantages of hot desking for full-time employees

Some of the most notable benefits of hot desking for full-time employees include:

  • Increased flexibility over their daily work environment

  • Improved sense of community within the workplace

  • More opportunities for collaboration with other colleagues

  • A sociable work environment 

  • More autonomy

Offices with rigid seating plans can sometimes see siloes forming. Hot desking enables more cross-pollination across different departments in a business, which can be extremely advantageous. 

The advantages of hot desking for self-employed workers

Whether you’re a freelancer, entrepreneur or consultant, a hot desk office space is a great cost-effective solution to support ongoing projects without the commitment to long-term office leases. Whilst combating the isolation from home, you have the chance to network with like-minded individuals. 

Hot desk offices also allow you to find an office space wherever your work takes you, keeping you connected between cities. Many freelancers have secured new business opportunities simply by being in and around people who would benefit from their services. Hot desking spaces are ideal for nurturing new relationships and maintaining pre-existing arrangements - you can book our flexible meeting rooms when and where it suits you. 

Why is hot desking a popular option for employers?

The advantages of hot desking aren’t limited to employees – it also provides several benefits for employers, including:

  •    Improved output from staff

  •    Reduced costs when compared to leasing an entire office

  •    Tidier offices and increased sanitation

Not only can businesses save money through hot desking by reducing office rental costs, but as flexible working can increase productivity from employees, it can also have a huge, positive impact on the success of the business. 

The hot desking model can also unlock new pools of talent that may have been previously unattainable for many businesses. Allowing staff to work remotely and attend the office in different locations on a semi-regular basis can be a huge draw for talent. For example, a business may be headquartered in Manchester, but also have access to hot desks in Birmingham. This means businesses in the North West can now more feasibly recruit the best, most qualified people in the Midlands. 

A simple refresh of the rules of hot desking etiquette is all that’s needed before rolling out hot desking in your workplace

The practicalities of hot desking 

When it comes to hot desking and hygiene, many people are concerned that sharing desk spaces among so many people may not be as sanitary as having a dedicated desk, but this isn’t the case.

One of the benefits of hot desking is that desk spaces are generally kept a lot tidier than dedicated desks, as people are unable to leave personal belongings on their desks. Not only does this make for a tidier workspace, but it makes it a lot easier to clean and sanitise the desk at the end of each working day.

What about privacy? 

Typical office layouts have evolved dramatically over the years and there’s been a clear shift away from the antiquated cubicles and restrictive and uninspiring banks of desks that were once commonplace in offices.

This shift towards more collaborative, open-plan working has prompted questions about privacy. This is where designated meeting rooms and breakout spaces make a huge difference in an era where people are routinely making calls and attending virtual meetings.

Hoteling vs. hot desking: What’s the difference?

Although many people use the terms ‘hoteling’ and ‘hot desking’ interchangeably, there are some notable differences between the two.

Whilst hot desking refers to unassigned seating which works on a first-come, first-served basis, hoteling works on a reservation-based system. This allows workers to choose and book their desks in advance, so they know exactly where they’ll be sitting for the day and have peace of mind that they’ve reserved their favourite spot.

Hot desking is often preferred by those who have irregular schedules, giving them the flexibility they need to use a desk for an hour or two in between meetings, without the need to book in advance. However, hoteling gives people more control over where they’ll be working for the day and can allow colleagues the opportunity to reserve seats next to each other.

More flexible working solutions

Whether you’re a business owner aiming to give your employees more autonomy, or a freelancer looking for a flexible coworking space to work around your schedule, hot desking might just be the solution you’re looking for. Here at Bruntwood, we have many coworking offices across the North West, so get in touch today to experience hot desking for yourself. 

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