Closely tied to the shift toward open plan office layouts, hot-desking is the “hot” new trend making workplace culture even more flexible. The success of adopting a hot-desking policy depends on how each workstation is set up and how much thought is put into the layout. If you’re thinking about making the switch, read on for tips that will help you optimize your setup.

What is Hot-Desking?

Hot-desking takes the concept of an open-plan office one step further: there are no assigned desks. Instead, employees have the freedom to sit wherever they want on a first-come, first-served basis every day. Roughly 75% of the companies polled in a recent CBRE survey plan to adopt a hot-desking policy in the next 3 years.

The concept of hot-desking is based on findings CBRE published in 2015. On average, 40% of office space sits unused everyday, with employees out on offsite meetings, vacations, or sick days. Based on this assumption, hot-desking office layouts typically only provide enough desks for two thirds of employees. Most companies practicing hot-desking provide additional workspace in the form of conference rooms, coworking tables, and couch seating.

Pros and Cons of Hot-Desking

Like other workplace trends, hot-desking has both advantages and disadvantages. The primary advantage of hot-desking is that it cuts costs by making less space work for more employees. When you adopt hot-desking, you no longer have to provide desks for every single employee — just enough to provide space for the average number of employees in the office at any given time.

Other advantages of hot-desking include breaking down barriers between employees in different departments or at different levels in the organization, fostering a culture of spontaneous collaboration, and allowing employees to choose the workspace that best suits their agenda each day.

Hot-desking is not without its disadvantages. For example, employees may waste valuable time every morning looking for a desk — and if the office is crowded that day, their stress levels may rise in the process. While companies encourage employees to clean up after using a desk, the reality is that many will forget to do so. This means germs will travel extra quickly through the office. Finally, not everyone will embrace hot-desking. Some workers prefer to have their own designated space that they can personalize and go to for privacy.

Tips for Successful Hot-Desking

You can neutralize some of the disadvantages of hot-desking by being strategic about how you plan your office layout. Each desk should be equipped with furniture, accessories, and technology that allow employees to sit down, set up, and start working with as little friction as possible. 

Here are some tips for putting together user-friendly hot-desk arrangements:

Choose Height-Adjustable Desks

Every employee deserves access to an ergonomic workstation that they can customize to their height and personal preferences. But how do you support ergonomics with a hot-desking policy, when a single desk might be used by employees with vast physical differences in the course of a week?

We recommend replacing all traditional desks with height-adjustable sit-stand desks. Thanks to advanced lifting column technology, height-adjustable desks move seamlessly up and down at the touch of a button. This allows everyone who uses the desk to personalize it to their own preferences within seconds — maximizing ergonomic comfort and minimizing delays. Learn more about our lifting columns.

Offer Workstation Variety

The beauty of hot-desking is that you are no longer confined to cubicles as the dominating feature of your office design. When planning out your hot-desking office layout, include many different workspace configurations: clusters of desks grouped together, standing tables for discussions, conference rooms large and small, soundproofed rooms for concentrated work or private phone calls, and a casual seating area with comfortable couches and chairs. Offering a variety of options allows employees to choose the workspace best suited to the work they have planned for the day.

Assign Personal Lockers

Much of the resistance to hot-desking comes from the need to have somewhere to store all of one’s stuff — such as client files, office supplies, family photos, and snacks. You can preemptively solve this problem by assigning every employee a locker, where they can put their bag in the morning and store personal items during the day.

Upgrade Technology

Because the switch to hot-desking means losing space to store physical files and, often, means more freedom for employees to work remotely, success hinges on technology. Before adopting a hot-desking policy, make sure all computers are up-to-date with the latest file sharing, video conferencing, and instant messaging technology to facilitate efficient work no matter where employees are working from. It’s also essential to make sure that every workstation is equipped with a functioning monitor and telephone so that employees aren’t frustrated by technical difficulties when they settle into their chosen workstation for the day.

Hot-desking is one more trend in a massive cultural shift toward more flexible working environments. Set your employees up for success by incorporating ergonomic furniture and design elements into your hot-desking office space setup.