“Why should my business start Hot Desking?” is one of the most frequently asked questions in the post covid era. With the rise of the hybrid work model, it comes to no surprise that many businesses are looking for new ways to manage their office space and optimize office usage.
The Rise of Hot Desking and the Hybrid Work Model
The increased popularity in Hot Desking Solutions for offices is in many ways correlated with the rise of the new hybrid working trend. Employees and their managers quickly realized that working from home was a suitable option for many work tasks during 2020 – and many are planning to continue even when countries loosen restrictions. Hybrid working has proven to give a number of benefits for employees, like increased mental health, better work-life balance, and improved workplace safety. For the business as a unit, hybrid working provides opportunity for cost reductions and improved productivity in the workforce.
With that said, as with anything that is new and trendy, it comes with its own set of challenges and questions. With Flexible work schedules and employees planning to continue to work from home at least 2 days a week, Facility Managers now wonder what can be done with all the unused space. Workspaces and desks remain empty which greatly decreases the motivation to keep them. Optimizing space in 2022 will largely revolve around how the number of desks can be reduced while simultaneously keep employees secure and happy – and Hot Desking is one of the best solutions for that.
What is Hot Desking?
Hot Desking is said to originate from the common space optimization practices within military organizations, specifically in naval ships where many people shared a tiny space with limited sleeping areas. Sharing beds with team members working other shifts meant that bed capacity could be reduced by 50%, hence the word “hot” for sleeping in a bed still warm from the previous user.
Even if Hot Desking as a concept originated from the lack of space, it is today considered one of the most effective ways to deal with surplus of space. Hot Desking is an organizational workplace system where work desks or workspaces are shared between employees, in contrast to fixed seating arrangements, when each employee is assigned a desk that is theirs for the keeping during their tenure at a company. Hot desking has the ability, similarly to bed sharing practices within military organizations, to optimize space and reduce the number of work desks needed in one single office space.
Co-working spaces where the first to adapt the Hot Desking model, and if you have ever visited one, Hot Desking is probably something that you have encountered. How Hot Desking is used in practice depends on the company implementing it. Some Choose to only allow ad-hoc seating, meaning that desks are not booked in advance and only taken ad-hoc, while others allow for pre-booking of workspaces days in advance. Hot Desking can also be combined with fixed seating arrangements in certain cases, for example if you have some parts of your workforce who needs specific equipment for their work tasks or deals with sensitive information. The possibilities are in many ways endless.
How Does Hot Desking work?
Firstly, Managers generally need to gain insights on how the employees view the concept of Hot Desking as a whole, valuate if it will be appreciated and if it will work with the general workflow within the company. Before adapting Hot Desking, Facility Managers together with HR and upper management generally work together to create a work plan that compasses all different aspects of this office change.
- How Many workspaces will be reduced?
- What levels of utilization do we have at the current moment and what is a reasonable reduction?
- What should we do with the surplus space? Sub-lease or create new activity areas?
- What should the budget be for re-doing the office space to fit the new hot desking model?
- Are there any specific employees or departments for which this model will not work?
- Are there any objections to implementing Hot Desking? What is the general concern and how can we mitigate these problems?
- Are we going to allow booking in advance? How will employees book workspaces?
- How do we make sure that employees know what is available?
These are just some of the questions that might arise in your own discussions about your new Hot Desking model. The most important thing to remember however is that Hot Desking in its pure essence can be a massive change for employees that are used to fixed seating. From the employees’ point of view, they will now have to do one extra thing, and think one extra step when evaluating their office attendance. With fixed seating arrangements, no thought has to be given to finding workspaces, if the office is crowded or even where you should sit if you want to work with teammates. To handle this increased flexibility, some form of software solution for desk booking is often necessary.
Hot Desking solutions often differ in function and design, but it is important to remember that Hot Desking generally does not work in and of itself just by reducing the number of desks. Interactive office maps, booking software and sensors can be necessary to ensure that desk availability is visible and registered correctly.
Hot Desking Software that will make Hot Desking Easier
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1. Interactive Floorplan For a Good Desk Availability Overview
Let’s tackle the first tool that you will need for a well-functioning Hot Desking solution. Because workspaces are no longer guaranteed due to lower numbers of desks, employees will need some sort of tool where they can see how many spaces are available and if they can take a space upon arrival. Interactive floorplans of your office that can be accessed through a web browser or smartphone app makes sure that employees can see availability status for desks even if they are at home. An interactive floorplan often includes booking functionality, making it possible for employees to book desks before coming to the office or days in advance, helping them to effectively plan their week.
2. Possibility To Add Different Desk Types
You might have some workspaces that needs to be bookable and some that are aimed to be completely ad-hoc. The best Hot Desking software can show availability for both bookable desks and ad-hoc desks by using sensors that register presence, hence always showing the correct availability status for all your desks. Software can take you a long way but is generally not enough if you have a wide range of desk types. Make sure that the Hot Desking solution you opt for can provide sensors that can cover all needs at your office.
3. Automatic Desk Check-in
Another thing is to consider what you can do about ghost bookings, employees using desks without bookings or colleague finding when you adapt a hybrid work model. Automatic check in for Hot Desks is a greatly beneficial tool that makes sure that bookings are confirmed when someone is seated or released if no one shows up. An USB Desk Sensor automatically check-in employees when they connect their laptop and does not require any additional steps. Because the USB Desk sensor can recognize computers, an employee’s name can be shown on the interactive Floorplan making them easy to find even if they don’t have a designated seat. The automatic check-in also makes sure that the availability status of each desk corresponds with reality.
4. Weekly Office Attendance Schedule
The ability to effectively plan attendance is a requirement we work in hybrid work environments. Adapting Hot Desking Solution needs to include more than just booking desks, it also needs to show employees if their team members plan to be in the office, and where they have booked their desks. By using an attendance calendar, employees can register attendance for weeks ahead and plan their attendance based on the occupancy rates of the office and how many of their team members will be in. An attendance calendar also shows the workstation booked by each employee making it easy for others to plan their week around when they will be the most productive.