With hybrid models of work becoming so common, office culture is changing as well. This includes desk and floor plan setup. In the traditional sense, which most of us are used to, employees have a designated desk they work from when they’re in the office. But in recent years, companies have been trying out the new “hot desking” method.
Hot desking eliminates assigned seating and allows employees to choose a different desk every day, first come first serve. While some consider this impersonal, others believe it provides flexibility and cuts down on the cost of office space.
Those in favor of hot desking mostly credit the ability to work from different spaces, depending on workload and personal mood. It allows employees extra freedom they otherwise wouldn’t have in a more permanent work setting. And with fewer desks and people at any given time, the cost of rent decreases.
In addition to this, it also encourages interaction between various employment levels. Without being tied to specific areas, entry level employees are more likely to engage with people at the senior or management level. WeWork, which is famously known for introducing the hot desking method in their offices, says, “According to 2018 research, co-working spaces are particularly valuable in forging relationships between ‘entrepreneurs, other businesses, startups, and innovators’ This is achieved through intentional, data-driven workspace design that includes shared spaces and infrastructure, and technologies like apps or online co-working communities.”
While the pros of hot desking might seem appealing, the cons are quite also quite strong. With nowhere to keep personal belongs, such as coats and bags, employees can feel as though they are not being appreciated. Forbes elaborates by saying, “Employers frequently say their employees are their biggest asset. But when the company can’t even be bothered to let you have a permanent desk, then the opposite message is sent. Put another way; hot desks mean you don’t matter to the company.”
Hot desking can also lead to company confusion. It can be hard to track colleagues down if everyone is in a different spot every day. This can further complicate training for new employees who need help from specific people or teams. And if the solution to these problems is to handle everything virtually, everyone might as well be working from home.
Determining what is beneficial for your company
We recently ran a poll on our LinkedIn to assess how people feel about hot desking. Many were divided, telling tales of their own companies trying out the method. At the end of the day, hot desking can be extremely beneficial and effective if it works for your company and people. Like anything, it’s not for everyone, but could still be worth the trial period.