Hot desking: what, why and how?

Remember when an office job consisted of 9-5, Monday-Friday, always in the office with the same desk every day? Those days are long gone. There’s now hybrid workplaces, 4 day working weeks, co-working spaces, smart offices, and those are just a few of the new trendy workplace phrases popping up in blogs and LinkedIn polls lately. To add another to the list of workplace hot topics right now, we have hot desking. Now you might be saying there is nothing new about hot desking and we would happen to agree, but this time around we feel it may get a bit more uptake.

What is hot desking?

Taking a definition from Cambridge dictionary, hot desking (sometimes referred to as hoteling) is a way of saving office space in which workers do not have their own desk and are only given a desk when they need it. Hot desking/hoteling used to be more commonly seen in co-working office spaces but the concept has recently been adopted in more organisations as companies look to introduce hybrid working, manage site capacity and maximise space efficiency in their office.

What are the benefits of hot desking? There can be a lot of advantages to introducing the hoteling concept into your organisation, both for employers and employees. But here’s just a few of the top benefits:

  • Space efficiency
    Hot desking is a great way to be really efficient with the space you have in your office, particularly in a time where many companies are opening at reduced capacity or are required to have a certain distance between desks. If you introduce it alongside a hybrid working policy, you’ll find that you probably need fewer desk spaces (as there will be fewer people in the office), allowing you to make your office space feel more open and spacious or create new areas such as break out zones.

  • Change of scenery
    Because employees no longer have their own desk, they can change up where they sit each time they’re in the office. One day they may want to sit by the window for some refreshing sunlight while they work; another day they may want to sit in a quiet corner to really get their head down and focus.

  • Enhanced collaboration/creativity
    Simple things like changing where you sit can work wonders for giving you a boost of creativity. One of the other great things about hot desking is it gives you the chance to sit by different people each time you’re in the office which can provide so many opportunities for enhanced collaboration and creativity. You often find that the best creative ideas come from bouncing off ideas with colleagues that aren’t in your team/department.

  • Tidy office space
    Goodbye office clutter! Now that no one has their own desk, there’s no need for clutter to build up as you’ll have no choice but to keep each desk space tidy for the next person to use it. Studies have shown that there’s also a 167% improvement in persistence and attention span in tidier spaces; so it’s a win-win - tidy office, improved productivity.

How can you manage hot desking?

If your organisation is completely new to the hot desking concept, there are a few things to consider when introducing it to your employees and managing it so that it can continue to be a successful strategy for your business.

  • Connectivity
    Firstly ensure that your office space is set up so that desk spaces meet the needs of your employees. Think about what they need to connect to such as WiFI, phones, monitors, plugs, etc. Do all desks need access to these? Could break-out zones be phone-free?

  • A place to store personal items
    As your employees will no longer be leaving items at their desk, think about what storage solutions you could have for their personal items that they may want to leave at the office. Think lockers, storage boxes, drawers, etc.

  • Make desk or room spaces bookable
    One of the perfect ways to make managing hot desking easy is to get your employees to book desk spaces, break out areas and meeting rooms. Spaces by Sign In App allows you to make any space in your office bookable, enabling employees to use their smartphone to book their space in advance or on the go.

  • Set some rules
    Once you’ve introduced the hot desking/hoteling concept into your organisation, it should be pretty straightforward but you may want to introduce a few rules to ensure employees respect it. Nothing strict, it’s a flexible working concept after all, but simple things like ensuring everyone cleans their space after they’ve used it, will be worthwhile introducing from day one - particularly in the current climate.


If you’d like to find out more about how Sign In App could help you manage hot desking in your organisation or learn more about our desk and meeting room booking feature, Spaces, get in touch with the team. Our friendly customer experience team is available via live chat, email or phone, and you can find all the ways to contact us here.