Hot Desking - The office design of the future
Hot Desking is a new trend that we’ve been hearing a lot about at Symmetry Commercial, it presents a new way of working without an assigned desk. While some big companies including Microsoft have employed the practice, there’s been a lot of discussion about how effective it really is for the workplace.
Here is our guide to Hot Desking as well as some pros and cons to the practice.
What is Hot Desking?
Hot Desking means that employees are allowed to sit wherever they want in an office, there are no assigned desks from day to day. As long as an employee is in the building, he or she can work wherever they like and use any desk for any purpose.
Most hot desking office work on the idea of individual work stations, often consisting of a laptop dock, keyboard and screen which is set up and cleared every day. Every employee often has a personal locker and laptop.
What are the advantages of Hot Desking?
A lot of businesses are trying Hot Desking because it’s known to be cost effective, however many also feel the practice increases efficiency and employee engagement.
By Hot Desking employees are never sitting in the same spot and mix more with colleagues they may previously not have spoken to. If they are sitting next to an employee they don’t get along with, hot desking allows them to move around to find a suitable spot for them without any awkward office confrontations.
Hot desking gives employees the freedom to choose their work environment, some may prefer to work in a library-like environment while others wish to sit on a table with team members and chat throughout the day. Or if you feel like a mixture of both, hot desking allows you to enjoy both work environments as they suit you.
For workers who engage in project-based work, hot desking appears to be particularly advantageous. The team members for that project sit together when needed and then change desks when not.
What are the disadvantages of Hot Desking?
While Hot Desking is being tried by some of the biggest companies in the world including Microsoft, it isn’t for everyone and comes with its own set of disadvantages.
A major complaint is productivity, with some employees complaining that it can take longer to set up for a working day. Most Hot Desking companies have a work place dock, where the laptop, keyboard and mouse has to be set up every day. For some employees, they can lose a half hour trying to set up their desk every morning. On top of that by the end of the day, everything has to be removed from the desk which some employees find to be annoying.
There has also been research conducted which suggests that productivity can be reduced in a hot desking environment, because employees do not get a chance to nest in their own ‘space’ but this is debatable.
There is also the risk that hot desking is not enforced in practice, with many employees choosing one desk and sitting there for weeks or months which defeats the point of a hot desking office.
It’s important that if you are going to try hot desking, that you understand how your employees really feel about it. Some employees may struggle with the cultural shift, find the need to pack up every day irritating or feel that they are less productive during the day.
What companies in Australia are trying Hot Desking?
A lot of Australia’s largest companies have adopted Hot Desking including the Commonwealth Bank and NAB. However other businesses such as Kelly Executive have spoken against the practice, saying the trend is not practical and is difficult to implement effectively.
The trend does seem to be favoured by organisations with a large number of part-time staff and where desks are not always utilised or by companies with staff who are often on the road and not used to having one desk.
Whether you want to try hot desking in your own workplace will depend on the type of office environment you have and the willingness of your employees. Hot desking doesn’t work for everyone and requires careful planning to create an efficient workspace. If you’re thinking of trying hot desking, Symmetry Commercial can help you plan your office layout with a range of office fit out and design services.