Hot-desking is a technique used by many modern offices as a way to challenge the traditional set-desk system. This contemporary approach pushes choice and freedom among employees, offering a new way of working, but some aren’t so keen on the idea. The hot-desking approach works for some offices but not for others; here are some pros and cons:

Portable and advanced technology has brought the rise of the laptop, the tablet and any other in-between hybrid, and these mobile devices are the first choice for many office workers. Hot-desking allows for you to bring your own set-up to your desk of choice, and move to a different one the next day.

Moving from desk-to-desk, day-to-day reduces the chance of mess accumulating at your workspace. On a personal desk, you’ll likely leave paperwork there for the next day, as you know you’ll be returning to the same spot, while hot-desks encourage you to take everything with you at the end of the day, as the next person to use that particular space would expect it to be tidy.

As mentioned in our post about communal desks, hot-desking will allow workers to be surrounded by a new and different group of people each day. The mix-up of fellow employees is likely to promote new friendships and varied collaboration, with new ideas and perspectives being shared.

A set-desk can become repetitive, staring at the same view, sat next to the same wall. Hot-desking allows you to switch up your working environment, which potentially can boost inspiration and productivity. A refresh in surroundings can refresh the mind and be beneficial for employees and their success.

Hot-desking is also popular among the self-employed, or those who usually work from home. Renting out a hot-desking spot can be beneficial, bringing these workers into a focused office environment, away from the comfort and distractions of their living room. One worker tells Law Gazette:

“You get to network better with your peers as you are not always in the same place in the office. You get to spend time with more of your colleagues and team rather than getting to know the people you’re sitting with very well and others just in passing. You get to spend your breaks with different people too, as you get to know them. This makes it easier to ask them about work and collaborate.”

While hot-desking does offer benefits, the approach can have some cons. Firstly, the workers who like to get to work at the crack of dawn – the ‘early-birds’ if you will – are at an arguably unfair advantage, getting to choose where they sit in an empty office. Meanwhile, those who prefer a bit of a lay-in are left with fewer options of where to set up camp for the day. Of course, to avoid this, everyone should just turn up super early, yet this is unrealistic and unsuitable for some due to other commitments like childcare.

While hot-desking offers new surroundings each day, some prefer a personalised and permanent set-up. Adding home-comforts like a photograph or a personal coffee mug kept in a desk area is nice for some to go to, day-in-day-out, keeping their space theirs with files and stationery organised to how they like it. Having a set-desk also eliminates the time spent looking for or choosing a desk every morning – if you have your own desk, you can go straight there and crack on with your to-do list.

Also, despite hot-desking promoting collaboration with new faces, with everyone moving around all the time, you may waste valuable time looking for someone you need to chat to or ask advice from, as they won’t be at a set-desk. This could lead to less face-to-face communication which can lessen productivity in the office.

Hot-desks can be highly effective in introducing variation and choice into the office, yet they don’t work for all.  To strike a balance, offer hot-desks t alongside permanent desks if space allows; a permanent desk is there, yet a communal hot-desk area is available for those who want new faces, new ideas and new surroundings.

Talk to employees to get a general consensus on hot-desks – if it’s not what your workforce wants, stick to the set-desk approach; it depends on type of company, size of workforce, and general wants and needs of employees.

Laura Sewell

An aspiring journalist, Laura is our content writer intern.  Pop-punk gig-goer and drag queen enthusiast, Laura is working her way into the industry with an English A -Level and love of writing about anything and everything in tow.
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