Benefits of Hot Desking for Employees: To Hot Desk or Not?
Posted on July 14, 2021 by wis_wp
The hot desk is not a new concept. It has been around for decades, precisely for 30 years. And the benefits of hot desking have been realized for years. Borrowed from the concept of “hot bunking,” hot desking practices the trend of not having a designated workspace. It frequently hinges on the idea of sharing desks with co-workers.
With flexible scheduling, reduced workweeks, and hybrid work settings, trends like hot-desking are extremely popular. In a survey, 73% of respondents wanted a flexible work arrangement stating that it allowed them to be more productive. This gives way to concepts such as hot desking that uphold the fiber of flexibility.
Furthermore, 40% of designated office desks go unused on any given day. Whether employees are working from home or busy attending meetings, empty desks prompt wastage of space. And honestly, idle desks don’t promote efficiency.
The Current Scenario
With most offices becoming activity-based centers, fewer desks are being used by the same number of employees. There are three reasons for this:
Millennials or the first generation to grow up with innovative technology at their disposal do not like being tied to pre-defined seating arrangements. They like to flow from one space to another.
With the hybrid work setting, a significant percentage of the employees work remotely. This means that the office is only half full at any given time.
In a study, Deloitte revealed that by the end of 2021, the number of fixed desks would decrease from ten to seven.
These have evoked most organizations to adopt hot-desking as an alternative. But is hot desking the right move for your organization? Before analyzing the pitfalls and benefits of hot desking for employees, let us understand why hot desking?
Hot Desk: Why is it so Popular?
We mentioned at the beginning of the article that increased productivity results in improved flexible work arrangements. Well, organizations believe that giving employees more autonomy on their seating decisions can impact their productivity. Also, if you are visiting the office for cross-team collaboration, it is imperative to find a seat next to them. Hot desking makes this possible.
The Benefits of Hot Desking For Employees
It Gives Autonomy
Hot desks primarily allow you and your employees’ autonomy. Well, you get to remain mobile without compromising flexibility. This means that your employees get the choice of how their work environment will look like. For instance, you like a window next to you. With hot desking, you can pick that seat whenever available. Or say someone likes working quietly. Hot desking allows them to pick a corner seat that has fewer distractions. Not only does it add to the concept of flexibility, but it also gives your employees the power of choice.
It Promotes Socializing Activities
Imagine you sit beside someone new every day. You build a rapport with each one of them, making your office a fun and interactive place. You converse more, and your interactions are not limited to your team members. You come to know a great deal about the other members from the different departments. This also opens up avenues for finding inspiration, especially in the most unexpected of places. More socialization with a wider variety of people leads to cohesion, advocating better collaboration.
It Creates Space for Productivity
If you visit the office to attend a meeting and don’t need a desk, you leave it empty for someone to utilize it. You have several calls to make and need a small conference room. Leave the desk for someone who needs it. You are collaborating with members from other teams for that big project. You want to sit close to them for that day. See, hot desks make all of these scenarios possible. Each of these requires flexibility in the office design. With hot desking, you create mobile space, further promoting productivity.
Now the Pitfalls…
Looking for Space
Not everyone works well in a flexible environment. There are several studiesshowing the toll hot desking can have on your employees. Be it the anxiety of finding space, especially if they are late, or the politics of sharing space with others, some employees would like to maintain their distance.
P.S. Using an app like WorkInSync that allows you to book desks even at the last minute. Hence, WorkInSync has become synonymous with hot desking.
Hot desking can very quickly become an IT nightmare. Setting up workstations with your preferred amenities or getting network drives and devices connected are massive undertakings. As an employee, settling at a new desk every day can be disruptive.
P.S. Again, WorkInSync offers an exclusive feature that allows you to book desks with particular amenities, suiting your needs even if it is last minute!
Sanitization is an Essential Factor
With the pandemic teaching us the importance of sanitization, keeping the desks clean for the next person can be a headache. If one person eats at the desk, another will resent the crumbs. Shared desks pass germs around. It becomes necessary to mandate cleaning standards and to provide hand sanitizer and antibacterial wipes in many locations to stave off some of this. Otherwise, having to clean another person’s crumbs will not make any happy.
P.S. WorkInSync has sanitization workflows that allow you to book sanitized desks only.
Before making a move to hot desking, it is critical to get your team involved. The practice demands significant changes in the workplace. Some argue that hot desking along with hoteling form the crux of a hybrid work model. Springing hot desks on your employees may erode morale and disrupt social dynamics.
You need to be honest about your hot desking plans and solicit employee feedback about the new workplace structure. To see your plans through, you need your employees to support you. Moreover, conducting an open dialogue can reduce angst and create a sense of ownership amongst your employees. And above all, be flexible! You may find hot desks aren’t suitable for your business and may return to the old set-up.
Want to Try Hot Desking? Here is the Solution
The pros and cons for hot-desking balance out each other. While some may find it the first step to a flexible workplace, others might miss the scope of personalization. This prompts the need for smart technology like WorkInSync that ensures a seamless hot desking journey. In fact, with WorkInSync, the benefits of hot desking for employees outweigh the potential pitfalls.
Noel Quin, CEO of HSBC, and other senior managers have been asked to relinquish their work desk at its Canary Wharf Head Office. Before you think that this is a ‘fall from grace’ moment, let us confirm that it is not. HSBC has decided to join the latest hot desking trend. The finance giant has decided to reuse the entire executive floor into client meeting rooms and collaboration spaces.
Quin told Financial Times that space was almost always half empty since senior folks were traveling for work, which in real-estate terms was a waste. He also mentioned that as of now, he wouldn’t be in the office all five days since “it’s unnecessary” and “the new reality of life.”
The Bank plans to reduce its real estate footprint by 40% and isn’t going to be renewing a number of its leases due in the coming three to five years. Quin also mentioned that they would be enforcing two employees per desk policy, excluding branches.
But, wait, what is hot desking?
Hot desking is a method of workspace management derived from a 16th-century practice on ships known as ‘hot bunking, where sailors would use the bunk that was available to sleep in. In an office, using hot desking, the employees are not assigned a desk but given the ability to choose from whichever desks are available at the time.
The answer to that is quite simple- Cost Saving, especially in this post-pandemic work era where most companies provide employees with the flexibility to work from home or office. Recent statistics show that most employees have said that they would like to split their time between the office and home.
Even before the pandemic, office spaces were grossly underutilized. A study showed that in 2018, 37% of workplaces were empty during any given workday, which was approximately
$150 billion in unused space. With hot desking, organizations can maximize their space usage and cut down on unused office costs, saving a large amount of money.
How can WorkInSync help you?
To successfully implement hot desking in your workplace will require a robust technology solution. Trying to manage hot desking manually can be overwhelming and time-consuming. With WorkInSync’s hot desking feature, employees can book their preferred desk on an easy-to-use mobile app. The app also comes loaded with features such as:
Real-time occupancy monitoring
Employees can also request necessary amenities to be set up at the desk they booked
Track sanitization records for any particular desk
Hot desking – A Must-Know Hybrid Workplace Concept
Posted on March 30, 2021 by wis_wp
Have you always longed for that “seat with a view” in your office? But only if you land up at the office before everyone else in the morning could it be yours? And to ensure that you sit on it every day, you need to reach early daily. Well, in a nutshell, that’s hot desking for you.
No strict or permanent assignment of seats – people can take up a desk of their choice from what’s available.
With offices reopening and people returning to the workplace, concepts such as hoteling and hot desking are gaining momentum in the hybrid workplace scenario. While we have already covered hoteling, it is time to explore hot desking.
Originating in the 16th century to utilize bunk beds on ships, hot bunking as it was known was quite popular. Sailors working in rotational shifts would share the bunks. As for offices, hot desking became a thing in the 1990s as employees would take whichever seats were available to them. Like all management theories, hotdesking became an in-thing for multiple reasons. Of which the three most popular ones are:
Better collaboration and productivity
Improved interdepartmental rapport strengthens relationships and promotes teamwork. It also provides a crucial insight into the functioning of other teams. Believers, thus, say hot desking fosters a more collaborative work atmosphere and boosts overall productivity. Surveys prove that 70% of managers and 87% of employees say flexible work arrangements increased their productivity.
Space utilization and cost-saving
More often than not, a certain percentage of your workplace goes unutilized for various reasons. Here are utilization rates in the pre-COVID era with remote work at its pinnacle.
It isn’t just space – it’s cost. It could be significant to have multiple offices or pay-per-seat in a shared workspace. Hot desking could save you that money.
Say, the sales team is visiting once every week for reviews. They could use the desks of people not in the office that day. You think it would be chaotic? Absolutely not – if you use technology to book desks and have it integrated with your attendance systems.
It is the aspect of cleanliness that makes hot desking so relevant today. As employees are more likely to clean up after a day’s work, it helps the housekeeping staff to sanitize the desks with lesser obstructions.
What are the common challenges in hot desking?
A flexible seating plan like hot desking sounds brilliant as a concept. However, it comes with its challenges. At best, these can be overcome with time and tactical planning. The most common ones are:
Teams usually sit together because it promotes easier and better collaboration. Traditionally, managers prefer this setup as it aids better supervision and guidance.
Hot desking disincentivizes running up to a colleague’s desk for small queries. This is a major shortcoming of the strategy.
Approach to on-the-job training undergoes a drastic shift
Imagine you have just joined a company. For the first few days, you need to know your team, how work happens, and learn about your new job. The best way to do it is to be seated close to your reporting manager or the team.
By the time you reach, you find no desks around where most of your team is seated. How do you cope with that? Your designation, years of experience, and seniority do not matter – it’s a new company, and you need to learn. On the face of it, hot desking seems to be the problem.
Impromptu meetings take a backseat
It isn’t a problem limited to new employees. If you have a quick update to disseminate, you would prefer to do it by turning your chair around than gathering your team in the meeting room. Inviting 5-6 people from different parts of the building for a 2-minute session doesn’t quite make sense.
Apart from the above three, the other popular argument is that most employees dislike uncertainty and frequent changes. A fixed desk is a manifestation of stability, certainty, and belongingness. Hot desking disrupts it to a certain extent.
Is hot desking the right option for your company?
An essential prerequisite is the actual availability of unutilized space. You can save costs on that space or utilize it better through hot desking.
In a hybrid workplace model, hot desking success depends on several factors, like the nature of work, team size, space availability, and demographics. To make it work, you need to consider all your business’s realities. A one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t exist.
Hot desking might be a challenge for large teams within each function. However, it is still possible within areas or designated floors.
With a detailed plan and clarity on the objectives, hot desking is a strategy that works for many. You may pilot it with a lesser number of employees. But given the pandemic scare, ensure all safety measures are in place before acting on your plans.
How to implement hot desking, what are the next steps?
Going the hot desking way without technology supporting you would be unwise. Ad hoc desk allocations would lead to chaos and increase the threat of the virus. (Remember it stays on for 4-72 hours on different surfaces.)
Once you have ensured all safety measures in place, you need to have the right technology to enable hot desking.
Hot desking requires a desk booking application, but it isn’t the only solution. You need to digitize your entire workplace management with a host of tools to reap the benefits of hot desking.
Here are a bunch of solutions that could make your hot desking strategy a resounding success:
1. If you have just begun, you need a return-to-office planner to streamline the process. A planning tool will help you decide the number of employees you need to call in on a given day.
2. A team planner can help you know employee’s availability to manage work schedules and seat availability better.
3. In the COVID hit times, you need to couple it with employee seat management to implement social distancing guidelines without adversely impacting space utilization.
4. For desk-on-demand, you need technology to know which seats are occupied and those that are available. Three types of solutions can help you do it:
Passive Infrared (PIR) Sensors: These are essentially infrared motion sensors connected to a central desk management system. It collects data in real-time and provides a list of available desks.
Image Sensors: Also referred to as smart-sensors, these overhead detectors are used to determine desk occupancy, location, and count. Often a single sensor can monitor up to 10 desks in regular times sans social distancing.
Docking Stations: Unlike the other two, it does not involve an external sensor. Employees need to dock their laptops and enter a code for the seat to be marked as “occupied.”
5. You would also need an intelligent meeting room booking solution that readily integrates with your desk management solution. The seats left vacant during the meeting can be used for visiting sales personnel for an hour or two.
6. A cafeteria slot booking tool can help employees plan and schedule their visits in advance. By syncing it with the desk management solution, housekeeping staff can sanitize the desk space between the café visits. Also, employees do not have to worry about someone else taking it over in their absence.
If you plan it well and leverage technology in execution, hot desking would transform your workplace for the better in the long term. Manual planning of hot desking and reliance on spreadsheets has proven to be grossly inefficient for many in the past. It is a brilliant strategy that works like nothing else when coupled with technology.
WorkInSync offers the best hot desking solution. You can opt for a demo to witness the full-capacity of hot desking benefits.