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July 19, 2016

Is hot-desking a good way to save on office space?

To hot desk or not to hot desk? That is the question that so many companies today are asking when considering how to make the most out of office space.

Like it or love it, the primary incentive for hot desking is reducing cost through space and energy savings. Popular with employers, hot desking can cut costs by up to 30% and is designed to encourage collaboration between workers who wouldn’t normally coincide with one another.

However, the idea of space sharing has proven to be not so popular. In this blog, we will look at the advantages and disadvantages of hot-desking and whether it is a worthwhile investment in saving office space.

The benefits of hot-desking

When you think about a nine-to-five working life, you expect employees to have their own designated desk. But, perhaps not.

Saving costs, employee engagement and innovation are among the advantages that hot-desking has. Did you know that research shows that hot-desking could save UK businesses up to £34 billion per year?

The idea of hot-desking was originally popular for workers working in large organisations who would have to work different shifts over 24 hour periods. It also allows different employees to use one space, which is beneficial if people are constantly coming and going at different times.

Just as Google’s zany office designs promote “casual collision” between employees, hot-desking may also give employees this same opportunity. The likelihood of mingling between different departments is increased, which you never know, could generate new inspiring ideas.

Flexible working

Flexible working is also made easier. A reduction in absenteeism, better productivity and an increase in staff loyalty are all benefits of flexible working, which has become increasingly popular in recent times.

Therefore, in a working culture where flexible working seems to be reaping the benefits, surely hot-desking makes sense? If administered correctly, not only could hot-desking provide you with a happier workforce, but also a more productive workforce.

And in an age when we are all so dependent on technology, why not invest into an efficient hot-desking system? Having the right hardware and software will simply make booking and reserving desk space as smooth as possible, further complimenting the concept.

Now for the cons…

While some reports state that hot-desking in promoting a flexible workforce can help boost employee morale, some however disagree.
It’s a faff. You’ve done the early start, the commute to work and now you have to find an empty desk and set up with the things you need for the day, before having to pack it all away again. For some, it’s no wonder that hot-desking in some organisations that haven’t perhaps invested a smooth booking system, is causing a nuisance.

It’s also unhygienic. Research shows that the risk of infection could possibly be higher in workspaces that practise hot-desking. Did you know that only one out of three workers wash their hands after visiting the bathroom? Consequently, having to share a desk or keyboard with “dirty” workers suddenly doesn’t seem to be quite so attractive.

Another reason that stirs unpopularity among workers for hot-desking is a lack of personality and style. You can’t personalise your desk – and we all like to do this! The freedom to have your staple office-desk favourites (family photographs, a favourite hand cream etc.), being able to keep your files organised in a neat pile are simple office pleasures that are taken for granted.

And although hot-desking can sometimes promote additional interaction between employees, sometimes it can in fact be quite isolating. Not having a secure base and having to drift in between shifts could potentially damage workplace morale.

And you?

What do you think? Is hot-desking a good way to save office space and help create a more productive workforce? Although we have brought light to a couple of flaws, these may be the result of poor execution.

Before implementing a hot-desking system to office design, talk to your employees. They are the ones who are going to be most affected by such strategy so ensure that they are involved in the planning process. Let us know what you think by leaving a comment below or check out our Facebook and Twitter.