What is a hot office?

If you’ve been looking at flexible office solutions, you’ve likely heard the term “hot office” thrown around with little indication of what the term means.

As with many buzzwords, it isn’t a literal term. So don’t worry, we’re not about to write a guide on turning up the thermostat!

Instead, this post will explain everything you need to know about hot offices, hot desking, and co-working spaces.

What is a hot office?

A hot office is simply an office, workplace, or co-working space that implements a hot-desking system.

Unlike traditional workspaces, its inhabitants can choose a space that works for them rather than sitting in an assigned seat every day. This can make an office feel inviting and inclusive, which can help attract new workers to the business.

What is hot desking?

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Hot desking is the fancy term we use to describe a flexible working system where multiple people share desks in an office space. Essentially the idea is to move away from assigned seating and embrace a more flexible, open workspace.

Hot desking has many benefits, especially as hybrid work schedules become commonplace. With more workers choosing to work from home, a traditional assigned desk setup will leave your office with a lot of wasted space. Considering the real estate costs of an office, wasted space means wasted money.

Other benefits include improved collaboration, increased productivity, and the ability to reconfigure your workspaces as needed.

Hot desking should not be confused with “desk hotelling.” While desk hotelling is similar, it’s a more rigid approach to flexible workspaces. Desk hotelling requires workers to reserve workspaces in advance, whereas with hot-desking, workers can simply find an open space and get straight to work.

What are some hot-desking protocols and best practices?

Hot offices can sometimes turn into a bit of a free-for-all, which unfortunately can lead to friction between workers. If you’re looking to transform your workspace into a hot office, you need to implement it in a way that reduces the potential for friction. With that in mind, here are a few tips to help your hot office run smoothly.

Incorporate desk reservations into your system

One of hot desking’s biggest pitfalls is a lack of organization. The first-come-first-serve system can mean employees are coming into the office only to find there isn’t a space for them to get to work. This, understandably, can upset employees and lead to “hot-desking anxiety.”

To avoid this, you could look to the desk hotelling system. Desk hotelling requires workers to reserve a desk before coming into the office. This can reduce friction by ensuring that employees can guarantee a space to work.

Smartway2’s desk booking system offers employees a simple way of checking for and booking available workspaces whether they’re at home or already in the office.

Our software uses an automated, data-driven approach that can help office managers to increase space utilization, improve productivity and promote collaboration.

Make sure to incorporate a range of storage solutions

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Another common hot desking issue is storage. We’ve all been in a situation where someone has thrown away something incredibly important without thinking. The chances of this happening increase in a hot-desking system.

Even without the potential for accidentally throwing away essential items, hot-desking can lead to things going missing. Let’s be honest. If workers are going to sit at a different desk every day, it will be incredibly easy to lose track of belongings.

Simple storage solutions can help combat this issue. You can use personal lockers to keep workers’ belongings safe and reduce distractions during work hours. Plus, lockers give people space to store things that don’t need to leave the office every day. Stuff you usually keep in a desk drawer in a traditional office can live in a locker in a hot office.

Promote good hygiene practices

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The pandemic has shed light on an already hot topic, workplace hygiene. Nobody likes a cluttered or dirty workspace. And it’s more important than ever to be strict with workspace hygiene standards due to the current heightened health and safety concerns.

Think about how you prefer to work. Are you a messy desk person or a clean desk person? Would you like to come into the office to find your desk cluttered and dirty? No, right?

It’s probably no surprise to learn that most people prefer a clean workspace, especially when they work in a hot office. No one wants to come into work and start their day by clearing up someone else’s mess. Not only is it irritating, it also starts the day on a negative note and affects productivity.

Ideally, workers should leave shared workspace as clean — or even cleaner — than they found it.

Smartway2 offers a simple way to manage your office to keep hot-desking safe amid COVID-19, the flu, and overall hygiene concerns.

Our scheduling platform can help:

  • Ensure people can only book desks that are at a safe distance from one another
  • Reduce the maximum capacity of the workspaces
  • Keep track of contract tracing
  • Schedule extra time for cleaning and sanitation

Tips for a hot office coworking space

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Coworking spaces are becoming increasingly popular as companies capitalize on the unused office space that comes with hybrid work schedules. Office managers can rent unused desks to external workers, creating an extra source of income for the business. This can be helpful for freelancers, small businesses, and entrepreneurs who aren’t in a position to rent their own office space.

While coworking spaces can have financial benefits, they’re not without pitfalls. Some employees may feel uncomfortable with people from outside of the company working in their space. Some may even worry that workspaces will push out regular employees to make extra money. However, as long as someone keeps track of capacity and bookings, coworking spaces can work as smoothly as a traditional office space.


Imagine coming into a hot office a little late in the day; every desk is taken but one. The one no one wants. You’re now stuck with a squeaky chair, an old computer, and a tough day ahead of you!

No one wants to be stuck with a poor-quality workspace, so if some desks are better than others, you could be in trouble. Everyone in the office will be fighting to get one of the better spaces, which can quickly turn into conflict.

To avoid this, make sure every workspace offers the same basic standards. This can include comfortable seating, quality technology in working order, and plenty of desk space. As long as the basics are uniform across the office, you can avoid potential conflicts about where people are sitting.

With Smartway2’s analytics, you can catch workspace issues early. As the platform logs workspace usage, you can see if certain spaces are being booked less often. This can indicate a problem with a workspace that keeps workers from choosing it. You can then investigate if you need to remedy poor lighting, misbehaving technology, or uncomfortable chairs.

Try to offer a variety of workspaces


While you should offer consistent features across all your workspaces, we’re not suggesting that every workspace should be the same. The last thing anyone wants is to come into an office with clumps of identical desks.

Not everyone works the same way, and specific tasks require different equipment. For example, a team working on a group project may need a closed space with audio-visual facilities. At the same time, another worker may prefer a phone booth workspace to get away from the hustle and bustle of the busy floor.
Offering different workspaces is essential as businesses move towards hybrid working models, especially if they’re looking to rent out empty workspaces. It ensures that all your employees have the facilities they need to get their work done and helps attract new workers looking to work for you or rent out a workspace for a project.

Keep track of desk usage and availability

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It can be tricky to manually manage a hot office. It’s easy to lose track of who is sitting where, how many people are in the office at one time, and how many desks are unused. You could ask your workplace experience manager to keep track, but there’s a much easier way.

Technology like Smartway2 can automate the entire process.

Smartway2 enables your employees to book a workspace and check what facilities are available before reaching the office. It can even check them in and direct them to their workspace once they arrive!

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Smartway2’s workplace analytics can help optimize your office space and identify popular office areas so you know what’s working and what needs improving. You can also keep track of and eliminate costly “no-shows,” ensuring you always get the most value out of your space.

Want to make hot office management simple? Look no further than Smartway2!


Marketing Smartway2

Last updated January 17, 2022