What is Hot Desking and Does it Work?

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Over the past decade, corporate culture has gradually inched away from the traditional office setting to the more liberal options of remote work, open plan offices and coworking spaces. The COVID pandemic and all the lockdowns and restrictions accelerated that change even further.

This paradigm shift has promoted the rise of several business trends such as remote working, hybrid working, and hot desking. Together, all of these constitute the future of work. Adopting fluid, adaptive mechanisms in your office space not only increases productivity but also help reduce costs in some way.

While remote working has been great for bottom lines by helping companies cut down on operating expenses, there’s still some value to be had in having employees work on-site. With hot desking, employers can now have the best of both worlds – the reduced expenses of remote work, and the increased productivity of in-office work.

In this article, we explain what hot desking is, and how best to make it work. We’ll also go over some hot desking ideas that you can try out. Read on to find out the exciting new changes that hot desking can bring to your organisation.


What is hot desking?

Hot desking is a workspace system that allocates the same desks to different users, across different periods; thus ensuring that the desks are, quite literally, kept “hot” as much as possible. It is becoming one of the fastest-growing business trends over the past years, thanks to the great degree of flexibility that it offers to employers. Instead of having employees stuck in the same cubicles for years, the hot desking system allows employers to move their workers around as necessary.

What is a hot desk?

A “hot desk” is a workspace that’s always in use. With this arrangement, multiple employees can use the same workspace or “desk” at different times of the day according to their work schedule.

How does hot desking work?

The hot desking arrangement is pretty simple – workers can come in, find a desk, plug in and just get to work. For both private business offices and coworking environments, it’s the ultimate in ease and efficiency. However, crossing over to this system brings a new set of logistical issues. Thinking of adopting hot desking? Read further to learn how to make hot desking work.


How to manage hot desking

In this section, we’ll explore some of these logistical factors mentioned above and explain some hot desking ideas that can be incorporated into your office layout design.

Power outlets, internet, and phones

In a traditional office setting, every desk or cubicle is equipped with power outlets to support the employee occupying the said space. Hot desking works just like that too. Every desk comes equipped with power outlets so that when employees settle in them, they can just plug and play.

The phones too can work similarly. If it’s a private business, each desk can be equipped with permanent phones. For added perks, business owners can have the HR department include phone extension codes in the daily desk allocation charts. That way, everyone only needs to look at the chart to learn what phone to call to reach whoever they want to.

If you’re building a coworking space, you can just carve out a separate area where everyone can go to make their phone calls.

For internet access, WiFi use is nearly universal; and since it’s wireless, you may not need to make any special arrangements. And if your organization uses Ethernet, you can simply make cables available at every desk.


Not much has to change about how your employees access scanning, printing, and copying equipment. In traditional office layouts, these facilities are usually distributed among employees and accessible via wireless connections. So, nothing about this has to fundamentally change in a hot desking arrangement. If employees are going to be changing floors or using different printers you can simply equip them with the codes for gaining wireless access to the printers.

Personal items

Usually, when people get allocated cubicles, they get set up. They put up family posters, and whatever other personal paraphernalia they might have, including storing personal items in their drawers. Obviously, this is not possible in a hot desking arrangement, where workers have to switch desks every day.

While at coworking spaces, people might be required to move their personal effects when they have to be gone for long, employees in private offices do not have to worry about that, as they’ll usually be allocated the desk for the whole day. Businesses can consider installing lockers for employees to store personal belongings and everyday items that they need to use in their work.

Common areas

Every office layout has common areas where workers can go to relax or access specific amenities. These include kitchens, lounges, bathrooms, and break out rooms. For migrating to a hot desking setup, not much has to change, although you may want to relook the layout to ensure it is conducive to various employee working styles.


One of the biggest advantages of the traditional office layout is that it allows workers significant levels of privacy. There would also be designated spaces – closed offices for sensitive staff, and conference rooms for meetings.

In designing hot desking furniture for your office, care must be taken to allocate spaces for these privacy needs. Workers still need conference rooms to hold meetings where sensitive information will be discussed. Also, there should be a few dedicated enclosed spaces where workers can use when they feel the need for privacy or for focused individual work. One way to create privacy is to use desk dividers or partitioning walls to separate space.


Does hot desking really work?

It is fast becoming a popular choice of office managers around the world but, does hot desking work? This depends on the needs of your business as hot desking may not work for everyone. For those who deal with sensitive information, you’ll want to ensure your office layout offers privacy.

Have the best of both worlds by keeping dedicated private space and incorporating hot desking arrangements in a small section of your office layout. We know that it increases space efficiency, and cuts running costs – as much as 30% in some cases. If you do switch over to a hot desking arrangement, here are some advantages.

1.    Promoting collaboration

With hot desking, collaborating workers can simply find desks close to each other, where they can work together smoothly for as long as they need. It’s a great way to bring different teams together and spark innovation or use it as a space to meet and greet clients. Using this arrangement, you can even scale teams with remote talent who can quickly plug-in and work as needed.

2.    Improve employee productivity and engagement

In the Netflix series about the infamous Anna Delvey, the journalist credited with writing the story worked in a so-called “Siberia”, a corner of the floor where the old journalists were sent off to.

Obviously, arrangements like this aren’t great for productivity. With hot desking, you can keep mixing up your staff in infinite configurations, ensuring that no sections become siloed and turn into “Siberia”. The flexibility and social interactions keep everyone fluid and charged up, leading to improved creativity, engagement and productivity.

3.    It improves the neatness of the offices

When workers get to own a desk where they can leave all their stuff indefinitely, it inevitably leads to clutter and complacency. With hot desking, workers have to clear out desks after every use. As a result of this, the office is neater overall.


Rethinking your office layout and design?

We hope that with the few tips that we’ve shared in this article, you have learned a bit more about hot desking. In the closing monologue of Jay-Z’s Smile, released in 2017, Gloria Carter soberly reflected  – “They say the world is changing, and it’s time to be free”. For the world of business and office management, that phrase is even truer now than it was then. Why restrict your business to traditional norms, when you can unlock higher productivity and lower costs by simply reconfiguring the layout of your office?

Many businesses are rethinking their office environment and how the space can be redesigned to improve productivity and engagement, as well as save costs. If you’re struggling with your office layout and design, check out our space calculator where you can find out how much space you need and can efficiently use in your office, rather than leasing unnecessarily large spaces.

We, at Agero, are a market leader in office design trends and fit-outs. For more than 10 years, we have provided unbeatable, award-winning designs to our innumerable clients, for whom we are constantly innovating future-oriented solutions. Take a look at some of our past projects here. If you like what you see, why not contact us today to see how we can help create your ideal work environment.

Posted in FitoutOffice DesignPlanning and tagged hot deskingoffice fitoutoffice fitout designoffice layoutworkspace design

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