What Is Hot Desking, and How Does It Work for a Hybrid Workplace?

Bri Morgaine
December 7, 2021
hot desking, hybrid workplace hot desking

As returning to in-office work becomes increasingly possible, more and more companies are looking to establish flexible, hybrid workplace setups.

The concept of “hot desking” is growing in popularity with companies that want to give their employees the option of working both remotely and in-office. Using hot desks allows your team to safely return to in-office work and easily collaborate with their coworkers in person—but with less structure and overhead than a traditional office environment.

What is hot desking? 

Hot desking is an office setup where employees can use any desk to work at, rather than having assigned desk space. 

For companies that use a hybrid workplace model that offers both in-person and remote work options, hot desking is a perfect solution. 

Instead of giving everyone a permanent desk, employees can choose which desk they’ll work at, based on when they plan on working in-office. They can also choose desks based on which coworkers they’re currently working on projects with. 

Having the flexibility to work where they want, along with the opportunity to once again collaborate face-to-face with their coworkers and build stronger connections in person, can have a huge impact on your team. It gives your employees the ability to create their own office experience, which helps increase employee satisfaction. 

Hot desking is also safer (and usually more cost-effective) than fixed desk setups, and helps break down silos between departments.  

How hot desking and the hybrid workplace model work together

It’s clear that many employees want to return to in-office work. But, it’s also clear that full-time in-office work doesn’t create the most enjoyable, productive experience for everyone. 

In short, employees want flexibility. 

The hybrid workplace model offers exactly that. Your team can design their own office experience depending on their comfort level, their working styles, and how much face time they need with coworkers. 

Hot desking fits with the hybrid workplace protocol perfectly. It’s flexible, and allows your employees the option to work in-office or remotely, depending on their needs. Since employees don’t have dedicated desks, they have the freedom to come into the office as much or as little as works for both your company and for them. 

With a hybrid office, dedicated desks are somewhat unnecessary, since they won’t always be in use. Using hot desks and a hybrid workplace model together gives your employees all the benefits of in-office work, with all the flexibility of remote work. 

Four benefits of hot desking

1. Hot desking allows for increased collaboration and cross-functional work

The biggest loss faced by transitioning to fully-remote work? Being able to collaborate, brainstorm, and bounce ideas off your coworkers in-person. 

Depending on the project, your employees will likely need to collaborate with varied coworkers on any given day. Hot desking gives your team the freedom to choose desk space close to whichever coworkers they’re currently working on a project with. 

This helps create a cross-functional atmosphere, reducing siloed work. You’ll also be able to foster a stronger team culture by removing the boundaries (both organizational and physical) associated with traditional assigned desks. 

Beyond collaborative work, being able to socialize with their coworkers again will make your team happier. In our survey, we found that 52% of employees miss socializing with coworkers since going fully remote. Instituting a flexible hot desk office setup will give your employees the opportunity to collaborate, socialize, and build stronger connections safely. 

2. Hot desking integrates easily with remote work and existing tools 

Hot desking can be as low-tech or high-tech as you make it. It’s possible to set up a hybrid workplace that includes hot desks without any additional tools. 

But, using a tool that allows your employees to complete desk booking in advance lets you seamlessly integrate hot desking with your existing toolset and current remote work protocols. This will make the experience of transitioning back to partial in-office work more enjoyable for your team. 

With a tool like Eden Workplace, employees can remotely check which desks are available, which makes the process of coming into the office easier and more user-friendly for employees who also sometimes work from home. They can look at each other’s calendars to see who will be in the office when, choose desks close to specific coworkers, and book easily via Slack.

3. Using hot desks can be less expensive than standard office space 

It’s worth noting that hot desking isn’t inherently cheaper than traditional assigned desk space. 

If you choose to lease an office space and fill it with available desks for 100% of your team, hot desking will not be any less expensive than a permanent desk setup.

But, when you combine hot desking with a hybrid workplace model, it can be a cost-saving strategy. You’ll be able to lease a smaller office space, since all of your employees will typically not be working in the office at the same time, and a dedicated desk won’t be needed for every employee.

4. Hot desking is safer for your employees

While we recently found that 85% of surveyed employees were looking forward to making at least a partial return to the office, there are still safety concerns when it comes to working together in an office setting. 

Using hot desks is safer for your entire company. With less personalized office spaces (and less personal items left behind on desks), it’s easier to keep your workplace clean and safe for your team. And, since your office won’t be operating with 100% employee occupation at all times, people will feel more comfortable from a COVID safety standpoint. 

These factors will make your employees feel more at ease returning to in-office work. They can choose desks based on their comfort level when it comes to face-to-face interaction, and they’ll feel reassured knowing that it’s easier to follow cleaning and safety protocols. 

Trying hot desking on your team 

It’s possible to establish a hybrid workplace model and use hot desks completely “analog,” without any tools to make the process easier. 

But, if your team is considering hot desking and a combination of remote and in-office work, using a tool that allows your employees to book desks in advance, sync with each other’s calendars, and see when their coworkers will be in the office will streamline the entire process. It also creates a better employee experience, since your team will be able to check which desks are open and book desks remotely. 

Eden Workplace allows for mobile, remote desk booking, integrates with your existing tools (like Slack and Google Calendar), and allows your employees to book desks in specific “neighborhoods” within your office space for better collaboration. 

Your administrators can also assign permanent desks if needed, and look at key metrics like desk usage to make smarter decisions around office real estate. Learn more about our desk booking solutions, or click the button below to book a demo today. 

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