Hot Desking

  • Employee Conduct
Two co-workers have a discussion.
Peninsula Logo

Peninsula Group, HR and Health & Safety Experts

(Last updated )

In the modern business world, flexible and hybrid working are becoming more popular. One way this is done is by allowing your employees to sit at a different desk each day - this is known as hot desking.

Hot desking can bring a range of benefits for your company; such as, the building of strong working relationships. But on the other hand some negatives can creep in, for example the potential for instability. So, it's important you manage it correctly.

In this guide, we'll discuss what hot desking is, how it’s beneficial, and ways to manage the process in your business.

What is hot desking?

Hot desking is a workplace system where employees are given a flexible desk space on an ad hoc basis - meaning there are no designated desks. Also known as co-working spaces or hot racking, it replaces the usual tradition of someone having their own personal desk.

Because your employees don't have a designated place to work, they pick a free desk to work from each day on a ‘first-come, first-served basis.

How does hot desking work?

In private or shared office spaces, hot desking is simple. Find a desk, plug-in their equipment, and start working. Usually, there'll be available desks throughout the office space.

Typically, desks are near or next to adjacent private offices, which can be used for any meetings.

What are the benefits of hot desking?

There are many benefits that come with hot desking compared to having an assigned desk. For example, an increase in employee engagement and productivity.

Let's discuss what other benefits that hot desking offers:

Utilises office space

The use of hot desking can help improve the utilisation of space in your office. This is because there’s a reduction in the use of assigned desks from the existing office space.

By not requiring a dedicated desk, you can use different locations that weren't used before.

Lowers business costs

Another benefit of hot desking is that it has lower costs than a traditional office. If you have a mixture of home and office workers, there's no need to have a big workspace. Having a bigger, fully serviced office would cost you more in rent and amenities.

As an employer, any ways to save money are advantageous. Doing so can mean you can focus your investment on helping your company to grow further.

Establishes better employee relationships

A further benefit of hot desks is the ability for employees to build stronger relationships with their colleagues. In a hot desking office, ideas can be bounced between different employees who may not usually work together. This can help to promote teamwork and improve employee experience throughout the whole company.

Whether you have a private office or a wider co-working forum, the use of hot desks brings employees together from different parts of the business.

Improves hybrid working

Hot desking makes both hybrid and flexible working easier. By providing all your employees with flexible seating, they can start work without having to adhere to usage schedules. This will be seen as a major benefit for the modern day worker, as hybrid working becomes a mainstay in many companies.

For more remote workers, it allows them to come into the office on a more frequent basis.

Cleaner office spaces

Another benefit of hot desking is the office space being cleaner. This is because an employee may not be returning to the same desk the next time they're in the office. Which is different from having a fixed desk where the employee may be distracted by a messy workspace.

Hot desking also demands that your employees leave their desks clean, as they may not be returning to the same place to work.

Helps to attract talent

Offering hot desking can help you attract the best talent to your company. Allowing your employees to split their time between home or remote work and time in the office will be seen as a major benefit for applicants.

When you do hire new employees, ensure you make them aware of any hot desking arrangements you have in your business.

What are the downsides of hot desking?

As well as the many advantages, there are also disadvantages of hot desking. It's important you're aware of these before implementing the process into your business. By doing so, you can be sure your hot desking transition is a smooth one.

Let's look at the downsides of hot desking in more detail:

Can create instability

The introduction of hot desking can create instability for some employees. That’s because the connections they've built with colleagues they sit next to are important.

By constantly moving desks, it could be difficult to keep forming new working relationships. This can lead to employees having lower morale throughout your company.

Lack of employee support

Hot desking may lead to some employees not seeing their line manager often - leaving them feeling unsupported. It can also be difficult for them to find colleagues who are on the same team when help is required.

Increased equipment issues

One of the problems with hot desking is that employees have different technological requirements. For example, creative teams may use high-resolution screens, whilst data-based employees may use setups with multiple monitors.

Hot desking makes it harder for employees to use the correct equipment for their job.

How to make hot desking successful in your workplace

For hot desking to be a success in your company, some requirements are needed throughout the office environment. This is to ensure there are no hiccups along the way and it works for all your employees.

Let's discuss them in more detail:

Access to power sockets

Having access to enough power sockets is a basic requirement for hot desking to work. It's vital you ensure all your employees have the correct access to power sockets to ensure they can work.

This includes phones, as well as generic plugs for laptops and chargers.

Available meeting rooms

For hot desking to be successful, you should provide meeting rooms and private offices when they're required. If colleagues are working in different locations throughout the office, they may need one to one meetings.

It's important you have these readily available for your employees.

Storage for personal items

Hot desking is more than just desks, you should also provide your employees with facilities to secure their personal items. One of the reasons why they may prefer having assigned desks and a more traditional office is having their own set of drawers.

So if you want to bring hot desking into your company, ensure you provide facilities for your employees' items. In some coworking spaces, there may be a designated facility for their items.

How to manage hot desking

For hot desks to work in your company, it's important you manage the situation correctly. Especially if you're implementing hot desking for the first time.

Below are ways to ensure it's managed positively:

Plan the change

Before you bring a hot desking model into your business, it's important you plan for the change sufficiently.

Walk around your office and identify any empty desks or unused spaces that can be added to your hot desking plan. You can also implement desk booking software to help manage the process. Using software can help both you and your employees when they want to book a hot desk to work from.

If your employees are struggling with the transition to this new workspace sharing model, hold one to one meetings that will allow them to raise any concerns.

Communicate with your employees

The transition to hot desking may be a big deal to some of your employees, so it's vital you communicate the change with them. Make your employees aware of why you're making the change, and why it'll benefit them.

Explain to all your staff that enough desks will be available, along with any tech equipment they require. You should do all you can to put their minds at ease.

Keep desk space tidy

Emphasise the importance of keeping each desk space tidy to your employees. Provide cleaning wipes and outline rules that your employees eat their lunch away from their desks.

Office management should be in charge of keeping general office space or communal areas clean and well-maintained.

Create a hot desking policy

Another way to manage hot desking in your company is to create a hot desking policy. Creating a policy will help everyone in the business to understand how hot desking will work moving forwards.

Included should be:

  • How to book hot desks, this could be with technology.
  • The rules surrounding hot desking, for example cleaning.
  • Information surrounding storing personal belongings.

Share the policy with your employees so there are no future misunderstandings.

Get expert advice on hot desking with Peninsula

Offering hot desking to employees is becoming a popular choice. This is because it comes with a range of benefits, such as lowering business costs and building better employee relationships,

However, it's important you manage the situation correctly. Not doing so can lead to employee instability and increased technological issues.

Peninsula offers expert advice on hot desking. Our teams offer 24/7 HR advice which is available 365 days a year. We take care of everything when you work with our HR employment team.

Want to find out more? Contact us on 0800 029 4377 and book a free consultation with an HR consultant today.


Related articles

  • a woman clutching her stomach


    Is Endometriosis a Disability?

    Is endometriosis a disability? What support can you offer employees with the condition? Find out how to help them in our blog.

    Peninsula Team Peninsula Team
    • Equality & Diversity
  • people smiling at a desk


    Employee Engagement

    In this guide, we'll discuss what employee engagement is, why it's important, and ways to improve it in your business.

    Peninsula TeamPeninsula Team
    • Employee Conduct
  • three people sitting around a coffee table smiling


    Employee Morale

    Read our guide where we'll discuss what positive employee morale looks like, its impact on your company, and methods of boosting employee morale.

    Peninsula TeamPeninsula Team
    • Employee Conduct
Back to resource hub

Try Brainbox for free today

When AI meets 40 years of Peninsula expertise... you get instant, expert answers to your HR and Health & Safety questions

Sign up to our newsletter

Get the latest news & tips that matter most to your business in our monthly newsletter.