Are you familiar with ‘hot desking’? It’s a break from the traditional workplace, where each staff member has a dedicated workstation. With hot desking there are no assigned workstations. There are some advantages to this, as well as some disadvantages, but the benefits often outweigh the drawbacks. Let’s take at look at these, as well as things to consider if you’re thinking of switching to a hot desking solution.

Hot Desking – the Basics

The essence of hot desking is that employees can choose where they want to work. They can log into any computer in the workplace, instead of being tied to a particular desk or room. It doesn’t work for all businesses, or all departments within an organization. Some staff need to be in a designated space – reception staff will always need to be at the front desk, for example. Still, there are all sorts of scenarios in which hot desking can deliver real benefits for many members of staff. Let’s look at some of the pros and cons more closely.

Benefits of Hot Desking


An important benefit of hot desking is cost. It can deliver significant savings for some types of business, especially when staff are working off-site, some or most of the time. In this scenario, there’ll be workstations that are unused and unattended for a significant proportion of the time. Hot desking can facilitate downsizing. In smaller premises you can make various savings, including on expenses such as insurance and utilities.

Anti-Siloing and Job Satisfaction

Are you familiar with the term ‘silo mentality’? It’s a culture within an organization, where different departments or groupings within a company are reluctant to share information with each other. Typically, different departments have their own spaces, which doesn’t promote interactions with staff in other departments. Hot desking can encourage mixing and engagement with others, by means of using a shared space and facilities. Not only can mingling promote job satisfaction – it can also boost collaboration, learning and productivity.

Disadvantages of Hot Desking

Locating Staff

It may not sound important, but if people don’t have a designated workstation it can be harder to find them when needed. You can’t just drop by their desk. Ad hoc meetings to deal with matters arising are much easier when everyone in the team is in the same room at their own workstation. There are ways to manage this, but it can slow things down.

Weaker Support Systems

Sharing a workspace every day creates bonds between staff members. Since people in the same department sharing an office are dealing with the same suite of work tasks, there’s always someone to ask for advice, or use as a sounding board if an issue arises. When people from different departments are all sharing a workspace, this support network can be weakened.

The Personalized Workspace

It may not sound like a big deal, but when people are spending 35 or 40 hours a week in an office, it’s good when it feels just a bit like a home away from home. People like to personalize their workspaces – think plants, or family photos on the desk. This option falls away with shared workstations, creating an impersonal physical environment.

Competition for Prime Spaces

This may seem unlikely, but it’s like real estate: some hot desk workstations may be judged more desirable than others, with people competing to use those that qualify as ‘better’. It can lead to resentment and competition that isn’t conducive to good workplace relationships and a congenial atmosphere. Also, when people from different departments are thrown together, they may have different work styles that may not be entirely compatible.

Managing a Hot Desk Office

Are you thinking of trying out hot desking? We think you’ll benefit from our advice about some of the priorities you need to consider.

Formulate a Clear Hot Desking Policy

Setting out clear guidelines and standards for employees in a hot desking workplace is important if it’s to work well. This can help to eliminate some of the potential problems we’ve just outlined. If staff have a set of protocols and processes to adhere to, and understand their responsibilities, everything is more likely to run smoothly.

Workstation Reservation

Hot desking means having fewer workstations, instead of everyone having their own. That means that each workstation will be used more intensively. You don’t want a situation where there are six people needing to use a workstation but only four are available. One way to deal with this is to require employees to reserve a workstation in advance.

Zone the Office Space

If people doing markedly different things are sharing a space, it can be helpful to establish zones in an office, dedicated to different tasks. This can help ensure that people doing different things don’t distract others, or step on each other’s toes.

Allow for Personalization of Workspaces

We mentioned above that an impersonal workplace can be off-putting and not conducive to good morale. People like to add personal touches to their workspace. If staff have secure storage space, they can still have personal items to display while they’re at the workstation. It’s also important that the workstation isn’t ‘one size fits all’. Adjustable chairs, monitors and similar make a workstation customizable, so users are comfortable wherever they’re working.


This isn’t an issue that immediately springs to mind, but a clean desk policy is something to seriously consider. Not everyone is fastidious about their workspace. This can be offensive and, in today’s world, a health issue. Impress upon staff that any mess needs to be cleaned up when leaving the workstation, and provide the means to do this, such as antibacterial wipes and hand sanitizers.

There’s another time of cleanliness to consider: data hygiene. This means cleaning up a workstation after use, so that no files and digital litter are left on the hardware. Ideally, files can be stored in the cloud.

Make Technology Work for You

If it’s done properly, hot desking can work well, and there are IT solutions available that can help ensure that everything runs smoothly. You’ll need to be confident that your technology is suitable for the new way of working. That means thinking about your network equipment, your workstation hardware and the software your staff need to be productive.

We Can Help with Hot Desking

Quikteks offers managed IT services that are geared to the requirements of the modern office. If you are considering hot desking, whether your staff work remotely, off-site or both, we can help you implement the tech solutions to make it work. We’ll cover all the basics so your technology works optimally. Call us at973882-4644 for more information.