Smartway2 Hot Desking 2023

Should Your Business Use Hot Desking in 2023?

Hot desking has taken off as we continue redefining what it means to work in the office. It’s a popular office model that offers the flexibility workers crave and the opportunity to save businesses money. As we approach 2023, the question on everyone’s minds is, “Is hot desking here to stay?”

What is hot desking?

Hot desking is a flexible option for hybrid offices looking to optimize their office space. It does away with the traditional assigned seating normally found in offices. Workers can choose where they sit and which desk they use, so the same desk is used by multiple employees.

Hot desking works on a first-come, first-served basis. However, there are many variations of hot desking, like desk hoteling (where workers book a workstation in advance) and activity-based working (which can be used in conjunction with hot desking or desk hoteling and requires areas within the office to be set up for specific activities.)

The pros and cons of hot desking

Just like every other business decision, hot desking has pros and cons. It’s up to you to weigh them up and decide if hot desking will be a good fit for your offices in 2023.

Pro: Collaboration and comradery

Hot desking empowers workers to team up on projects without jumping through hoops. Even with all the cloud-based platforms available to companies these days, collaboration is always easier when you physically work alongside your team. This also allows workers to build lasting relationships that help drive morale.

Pro: A cost-effective space optimization

There’s very little you need to do to start hot desking. There’s no software to set up, no need to rearrange the office floor, and no need to buy anything at all. You just tell employees about the change and let them pick their seats!

When combined with hybrid work models, you can also use it to reduce the office space you need, saving money on real estate.

Con: Workers may be uncomfortable with change

Humans are creatures of habit and routine, so taking away assigned seating may make some people uncomfortable. They may also worry that they won’t find an available space or end up without the resources they would normally have at their assigned desk.

To help combat any employee unease, check out these tips and tricks to help ease the transition.

When hot desking might not be right for your business

There are many advantages to adopting hot desking in your office, but it’s not beneficial for all businesses. Hot desking is great for smaller companies with fewer employees who tend to work closely already. Where workspaces are first-come-first-served can be trickier in large offices, especially if your office isn’t using a hybrid work model.

Before making the switch, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are there a lot of employees in the office daily? The busier the office, the more chaotic hot desking can be. In larger offices, we recommend having people book desks in advance, so everyone has somewhere to work.
  • Is the office large enough to create distinct areas for different work styles? Hot desking gives you a chance to introduce different types of workstations, so make sure you have enough space to make these changes.
  • Is security a concern? It may be more beneficial to stick with assigned seating if workers are handling sensitive information.

It’s also important to involve workers in the conversation. Your move to hot desking might be a lukewarm one if you don’t take the time to listen to your employees’ concerns and questions. And keep checking in! Asking for feedback and listening to opinions on the change can help stop employee complaints in their tracks and ensure long-term success.

Plus, hot desking can help promote collaboration and communication, so try to frame the change as an opportunity for personal development at work rather than an upheaval.

Why hot desking fails

Many failed hot desking attempts are blamed on incompatibility with a business’s culture. In reality, failure happens when companies aren’t fully committed to the new way of working. Hot desking requires careful monitoring and education to succeed.

If you’ve tried and failed at implementing hot desking in your office, we’ve got some tips to help you try again — and succeed.

Implementing hot desking seamlessly into your office: some tips

Ensure everyone has the resources they need

No matter where in the office someone works, they should have access to everything they need to do their job. No one wants to get in late and find themselves stuck in a dark corner of the office with a broken computer mouse. Making sure workstations all have the same quality of equipment is essential.

Offer a variety of workspaces

Everyone wants flexibility right now, so offering a range of workspaces is a no-brainer for attracting and retaining talent. While each workspace needs the same basic resources, creating different zones around the office is a great idea.

Try implementing activity-based working to create different zones in the office. You can customize these zones to suit different activities, from collaboration spaces to private meeting rooms. And check out our top tips for activity-based working here.

Try desk hoteling

Desk hoteling is like hot desking, but it gives you way more structure and can cut down on chaos. Workers can choose whichever workspace they feel will suit them each day.

But, rather than a free-for-all at the beginning of the day, workers pre-book workstations with desk booking software. This helps everyone find a place to work without the stress of office musical chairs.

Don’t forget storage space

With everyone moving desks regularly, employees won’t have space to leave things in the office if needed. Make sure to offer storage space so they have a secure, personal space to leave things they don’t need to bring home every day. Something simple like a bank of lockers will do the trick!

Use the right hot desking technology in the office

Hot desking can be a little confusing at first, but you can use technology to help make it easier for everyone. For example, if someone leaves their workspace and another person comes to find a desk, they might assume the space is available. Desk display panels can quickly tell people which desks are taken and help everyone check in securely.

Keep an eye on space utilization

Hot desking and desk hoteling only work if your employees are actually using your new system. Keep checking in with workspace utilization to help track what’s working and what isn’t in your setup.

Detailed reporting from a workplace scheduling solution can help you stay on top of any potential problems and make changes as needed.

Get hot desking right with Smartway2 by HubStar

No matter how you run your office, Smartway2’s workspace scheduling software can help you get it right the first time around and make life easier for your employees.


Hannah Cresswell

Last updated November 22, 2022