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Hot Desking

What Is a Hot Desk: All You Need to Know

A hot desk is a great way to get the most out of your office space. Find out what it is and how you can make the most of it.
Reem Abouemera
Copy Writer / Content writer

In today's dynamic business environment, many companies are finding that the traditional office space no longer meets their needs. In response, a new type of workplace system has emerged: hot desking.

When you hear the term "hot desk," you might think of a noisy, chaotic work environment where people are constantly moving around, and it's hard to get any work done. But that couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, when done right, it can be a great way to promote collaboration and creativity while also maximizing the use of your office space.

So, what is a hot desk? That's precisely what we're here to answer. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about hot desking!

What Is Hot Desking?

Hot desking is a type of flexible working arrangement in which employees share desks and other common areas on an as-needed basis, usually on a first-come, first-served basis. 

The goal of hot desking is to optimize the use of space and resources within an office so that more people can fit into a smaller space and fewer desks go unused. In doing so, real estate costs are reduced.

Hot Desk vs. Dedicated Desk: How Does Hot Desking Work?

In a traditional office space, employees are typically assigned to a specific desk they use on a daily basis. This can lead to a lot of wasted space, as some employees may not be in the office every day or may not need a dedicated desk (e.g., if they work remotely part of the time). 

Hot desking (commonly referred to as office desk sharing) allows companies to make better use of their space by having employees share desks.

When an employee wants to hot desk, they simply find an available desk (called a hot desk or flex desk) and start working. When they're done, they just leave the flex desk for the next person. There's no need to assign specific desks to specific people; anyone can use any available desk.

Hot Desking vs. Office Desk Hoteling

In many cases, the terms "hot desking" and "office desk hoteling" are used interchangeably. However, there's a small difference between the two.

Hot desking refers to an arrangement in which employees share desks on an as-needed basis, usually on a first-come, first-served basis. On the other hand, office desk hoteling allows employees to reserve desks in advance. This is often done through a desk booking system that allows employees to see which desks are available and when.

While both follow the model of unassigned seating and office desk sharing, office desk hoteling is a more structured version of hot-desking, allowing unassigned desks to be booked in advance. For that reason, desk hoteling is sometimes referred to as "hot desk booking”.

What to Consider When Hot Desking: Tips and Tricks to Get Started

Now that you know what hot desking is and exactly how it works, it's time to start planning your own hot desk setup. Here are a few things to consider as you get started:

1. Plan the Right Ratio of Desks to Employees

One of the most important things to consider when hot-desking is the ratio of desks to employees. If you have too many desks, you'll end up with a lot of unused space. On the other hand, if you have too few desks, employees will have to compete for space, and it won't be an effective use of your office space.

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To find the right ratio of desks to employees, start by determining the average number of employees who will be in the office on any given day. Then, add 20-30% extra desks to account for days when there are more people in the office (e.g., team meetings) or for employees who need a dedicated desk.

2. Consider Creating Team Neighborhoods

Another thing to consider when hot-desking is if you want to create team neighborhoods. Team neighborhoods are groups of desks that are assigned to specific teams or departments. For instance, a group of salespeople might have their own team neighborhood, as would a group of customer service reps.

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That way, employees always have a desk near their team members, even if they're not assigned to the same desk every day. This can be helpful for team collaboration and for fostering a sense of community in the office.

3. Create Activity-Based Neighborhoods

Some activities require different types of space than others. For instance, if you're going to be making a lot of phone calls, you'll need a desk near a quiet area. Or, if you're going to be working on a project that requires a lot of materials, you'll need a desk near a storage closet.

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To accommodate these different needs, you can create activity-based neighborhoods. These are groups of desks that are assigned to specific activities. For instance, you might have a meeting neighborhood, a socialization neighborhood, and a quiet neighborhood.

This way, employees can go to the appropriate neighborhood when they need to do a specific activity.

4. Have the Right Tech in Place

Hot desking requires a different approach to IT than traditional office setups since employees won't have their own dedicated computers. Instead, they'll need to be able to access their files and applications from any computer in the office.

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Similarly, you'll need a way for employees to easily connect their devices (e.g., laptops, smartphones) to the office network and printers.

To do this, you'll need to have a robust and reliable wireless network and a good selection of docking stations and other connectivity devices. Also, don't forget about security! Be sure to have a good data security system in place to protect your company's information.

5. Provide Lockers for Employee Storage

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Since employees now won't have their own dedicated desk, they'll need a place to store their belongings. The best way to do this is with lockers.

Lockers can be assigned to specific employees or used on a first-come, first-served basis. Either way, be sure to provide enough lockers for all of your employees, so they don't have to worry about carrying their belongings around with them all day.

6. Enforce a Clean Desk Policy

A clean desk policy is a must for hot desking. This policy requires employees to keep their desks clear of personal belongings and remove any business materials at the end of the day.

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The reason for this is twofold: first, it ensures that all employees have a clean and organized workspace. And second, it helps to prevent sensitive company information from being left out in the open.

How to Measure the Success of Hot Desking

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After you've implemented hot desking in your office, it's important to measure its success to see if it's actually improving your business. Here are a few things to keep an eye on:

  • Space Utilization: One of the main benefits of hot desking is that it can help you to better utilize your office space. Use space utilization software to track how often each desk is being used. If you find that certain desks are being used more than others, you can adjust your hot-desking setup accordingly.
  • Occupancy Rate: The occupancy rate is the percentage of desks occupied at any given time. This will inform you whether your ratio of hot desks to employees is working well or if you need to make some adjustments.
  • Employee Satisfaction: Employee satisfaction is important for any business, but it's especially important when implementing a new office setup like hot desking. Be sure to survey your employees regularly to get their feedback on the hot-desking arrangement and make changes as necessary.

In Conclusion

Hot desking is a flexible office setup that can have many benefits for your business, the most notable being improved space utilization and boosted employee productivity.

When implemented correctly, hot desking can take your office to the next level. Just be sure to keep the above tips in mind to set your business up for success.

At Tribeloo, we facilitate agile workflows by helping you plan and design the perfect office layout for your business. Request a demo to learn more about how we can help you create a thriving workplace.


Reem Abouemera

As a content writer who has tried it all when it comes to working models– from the traditional 9-5 in an office to fully working remotely and everything in between. Reem now puts her experience with the various working style into words at Tribeloo, ultimately helping others make more informed decisions about their own work lives.

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