· Tricia Tan  · 6 min read

The Pros and Cons of Hot Desking

Now that flexi-time and working from home are considered the norm, hot-desking is slowly but surely becoming a staple of modern working life.

This arrangement, still in line with our quest for flexibility in the workspace, allows employees to work wherever they want onsite.

How does this work, exactly? And is hot desking beneficial, or are there some cons you need to consider before implementing it?

In this post, let’s dive deep into the arrangement’s advantages and disadvantages.

What is hot desking?

Hot desking is an office organization that makes the traditional fixed, individual workstations obsolete.

Instead of being given a fixed desk position, employees now choose a new one each day, forcing numerous workers to share a single workstation throughout the day.

Given that many employees are constantly at the office at different times, the goal is to save costs over the long run while increasing employee productivity.

A little trivia: the U.S. Navy inspired hot desking.

There’s this thing called “hot racking” or “hot bunking,” in which sailors concluding a shift would occupy the warm bunk of another sailor beginning his shift. This communal way that they treated bunks inspired how hot desking viewed workstations.

Are there any benefits to hot desking?

Hot desking is a flexible, affordable solution enabling businesses to utilize their space more effectively.

Fewer people are working in today’s modern offices daily; therefore, workplace managers have had to become wiser in using their space to prevent wastage and inactivity.

For offices that maintain a hybrid setup, hot desks are beginning to yield benefits, which we listed below:

Offers flexibility

Hot desking allows employees to work from anywhere on the premises they feel most relaxed and productive.

Implementing a hot desking policy allows individuals control over how their everyday work environment feels and looks, depending on whether you are 100% onsite or hybrid.

Boosts collaboration and productivity

A hot desking policy can improve collaboration and productivity within the office.

Employees are encouraged to switch up where they sit, whether with various coworkers, departments, or even floors.

People can engage across functional lines more often; as a result, improving the business’s culture as a whole.

Reduces cost

Due to the additional space needed, permanent desk assignments are more expensive.

But given the rise of hybrid work arrangements, the office would have empty desks if employees worked remotely even one day each week.

Hot desking reduces this lost space by making greater use of current space and enabling you to reduce real estate expenditures if you choose to downsize your business.

Ramps up your decision-making

You gain knowledge on how your space is being used through hot desking.

Then, you can identify trends and utilize your area more effectively. You also receive information to help you make wise, educated choices as you prepare for future real estate demands in the workspace.

Encourages a cleaner workspace

A hot desk arrangement frequently results in a more orderly workspace.

You get a cleaner, more organized office if fewer personal things or piles of paperwork take up desk space.

Plus, people tend to be more conscious of clutter if they know another employee will use the desk next.

Increases employee satisfaction

Employee satisfaction can be significantly impacted by workplace empowerment. Hot desking increases employee autonomy and choice by allowing employees to pick where they sit.

What are some disadvantages HR leaders should consider?

Although hot desking has several significant advantages, it is essential to examine its drawbacks.

Causes disruption

One of the strongest arguments against hot desking is the possibility of workplace disturbance.

People may waste time hunting for an available desk and then putting it up how they like it if they are not guaranteed their workstation.

Sitting next to different individuals daily might also give the impression of no genuine continuity at work. Some workers may discover that the absence of routine affects their productivity.

Increases distractions at work

The danger of workplace distractions goes hand in hand with the potential for more workplace disruption.

This may happen for various reasons, including teams collaborating while seated in separate areas of the office or individuals introducing themselves to those they haven’t previously sat with.

This is essential because interruptions caused by diversions increase employee stress levels and may hurt morale.

Disrupts hierarchy or structure

The fair playing field provided by hot desking can benefit some businesses, but it won’t work for everyone.

Some companies need to have a clear hierarchy, while others need to have a clear structure in terms of where people work and who they work alongside.

Hot desking has the danger of losing hierarchy and structure, creating a less ordered setting because there can be value in having coworkers nearby, for instance.

Hampers belongingness

There’s a need to foster a sense of belonging, especially if you want to minimize staff turnover and enhance employee morale.

Building a cohesive team might occasionally be hampered by hot desking.

When employees do not have a personal workspace, they might feel more uneasy and less at home. Additionally, because hot desking restricts employees’ ability to customize their workspaces, each workstation becomes more impersonal and generic.

Negatively impacts hygiene

There is some evidence that hot desking may be detrimental to workers because it can result in hygiene problems.

Over the workweek and even on any given day, when several people use the same equipment, bacteria, and germs can spread more quickly.

A negative impact might also be felt on well-being.

For instance, having a personal workstation makes it simpler for some employees who might need additional chair support or a lower desk height.

To summarize

Hot desking as a seating policy has become popular among many businesses due to the rise of open-plan offices and hybrid work settings.

The ability to save money and space are just a few advantages of hot desking. However, it also has drawbacks, such as a tendency to cause more disruption in the productivity and efficiency of your employees.

When appropriately used, hot desking provides excellent flexibility and can level the playing field, especially when combined with a workstation that has been modified. But you should also consider the negative aspects before adopting this approach.

The best way to approach your work arrangement is to discuss it with the stakeholder most affected by it—your employees.

For more HR insights or solutions to streamline your workflow, visit Hezum today. You can even schedule a free demo to learn more about our platform.

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