Hot-desking: The New Way of the Workplace

Thanks to the pandemic, our world looks a little different now, especially in the workplace. There are processes and systems that didn’t even exist a few years ago. One example? Hot-desking. So, what is hot-desking? How does it work? Welcome to your hot-desking 101 guide. 

What is hot-desking?

Hot-desking is a workplace system where employees use different desks at different times depending on available desks. In short, employees find an open desk when they work in the office, plug in, and get to work.

The goal of hot-desking is to:

  • Maximize space efficiency
  • Offer flexibility 
  • Boost productivity 
  • Encourage collaboration

You can take advantage of hot-desking regardless if you have a private or shared office space. And for most workplaces, it can be pretty easy to implement. 

Pros and cons of hot-desking

Although hot-desking can benefit many businesses, it’s not every company’s cup of tea. The hot-desking arrangement may not be suitable for all industries and work styles. So, it’s important to know all the pros and cons before creating a hot desk workplace. 


Not sure if hot-desking is right for your business? Check out some pros of using a hot desk system:

  • Cost savings: Helps maximize the use of existing office space and limit the amount of desks in the office. Hot-desking can also help you see how much office space your business truly needs and if you need to downsize. 
  • Flexibility: Gives employees the freedom to work wherever they want while in the office.
  • Collaboration and productivity: Encourages employees to switch up their seating arrangements, interact with different co-workers, and collaborate as a team. 
  • Workplace cleanliness: Requires employees to keep their workspace clean and organized because they may not return to the same desk. 

Along with the above perks, hot-desking can improve employee satisfaction. And in turn, happy employees could mean a decrease in turnover and a boost to your employer brand. 


Of course, hot-desking isn’t the perfect solution for every business out there. Here are a few cons of the hot desk arrangement:

  • Some employees may want an assigned spot
  • Can cause disruptions and distractions (e.g., chatty co-workers)
  • Employees may not want to change the current office setup
  • Potential to spread germs from sharing desks and equipment

If you plan on implementing a hot-desking arrangement at your business, consider all of the cons that can potentially come along with it. When writing your hot-desking policy, include specifics to avoid as many issues as possible (e.g., you must sanitize your desk before leaving for the day). 

Hot-desking best practices

To ensure hot-desking is a successful strategy at your business, keep these best practices in mind. 

5 Hot-desking best practices:
1. Ensure you have the right technology
2. Set up policies and guidelines
3. Provide different types of workplaces
4. Have an easy way to reserve a desk
5. Gather feedback from employees

1. Ensure you have the right technology

To make sure your employees can work from any desk anywhere in the office, you need to have the right technology and equipment available. Make sure each employee has the necessary tools to participate in hot-desking, such as:

  • Laptops
  • Chargers
  • Monitors
  • Keyboards
  • Chairs
  • Cubbies or lockers for personal items
  • Strong WiFi
  • Supplies
  • Sanitizing wipes and sprays

When an employee goes into the office, they should have everything they need to have a productive workday. So, make sure you have everything they need right at their fingertips when they are hot-desking. 

2. Set up hot-desking policies and guidelines

There will likely be a few bumps in the road when you first implement hot-desking in your workplace. But, having a set of hot-desking guidelines and policies can help you steer clear of a few issues.

Create a set of policies and guidelines for employees who are planning to desk share in the office. Make sure you include information about:

  • Types of workplaces to choose from (e.g., closed door offices, cubicles, etc.)
  • Equipment and tools you provide employees
  • What employees need to bring themselves
  • How to reserve a seat (e.g., filling out a form, first come, first served, etc.)
  • Sanitizing work stations 
  • Hot-desking rules (e.g., keep noise level low to avoid distracting co-workers)

Once you establish your guidelines, distribute them to your employees and include them in your employee handbook. Have each employee sign an acknowledgment form stating they read your policy.

3. Provide different types of workspaces

Some employees prefer to work 100% alone while others may use hot-desking to collaborate with others. To accommodate each employee’s preferences, make sure you have a variety of options for employees when they come into the office.

Here are some ideas of spaces you can set up in your office that promote both independent and collaborative work:

  • Huddle rooms
  • Closed-door offices
  • Open floor plans with desks 
  • Meeting rooms
  • Mini collaboration spaces

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4. Have an easy way to reserve a desk

To make it a breeze for employees to reserve a space in the office, make a way to save a seat.

You can use an app or software to allow employees to claim spaces. With software, they can log in, look at desks or rooms available, and reserve them for a specific day. You can also opt for a first come, first served policy where employees choose whichever seat they want when they get to the office. 

Regardless of the reservation method your business uses, make sure to have one in place and that employees know how to reserve their spot. 

5. Gather feedback from employees

After you launch your hot-desking arrangement, your job isn’t done. Collect feedback from your employees to ensure the system is helping in the long run.

You can have employees fill out a survey on a regular basis, use a suggestion box, etc. Whatever you decide to do, make sure you gather feedback from employees so you know what needs improvement (and if hot-desking is a hit or a flop!). 

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