Hot-desking first gained popularity in the 80s and 90s. More recently, the work practice has made a come back, with the recruitment firm Kelly Executive reporting an increase in the number of hot-desking organisations across Australia. Some of the most common industries utilising hot-desking are management consultancy, sales, and customer service departments. In this quick guide, we look at how to implement hot-desking and its advantages and potential limitation of hot-desking.
Hot-desking (also known as activity-based working or location independent working) is where workers don’t have their own desks or work areas. Instead, staff members are allocated workstations on a temporary basis. Minimalist desks are often used to support hot desking. For hot-desking office furniture, Sydney has a range of providers who can assist with choosing suitable workstations.
Staff choose their own desk upon arrival at work in the morning. While staff don’t have a fixed desk, they’re usually allocated private storage spaces such as lockers, and teams will often have their own congregating areas. Hot-desking has been used by businesses such as Vodafone, Macquarie Bank, and Google.
One of the key advantages of hot-desking is its cost-effectiveness. In workplaces where a majority of the staff work offsite most of the time, hot-desking can help cut expenses by cutting the amount of office space required. Studies have shown that space savings can total as much as 30 per cent.
Hot-desking can make sense for organisations in which desks are being left vacant for most of the week. Hot-desking can also boost employee autonomy and work flexibility. The elimination of fixed workstations may encourage teamwork by facilitating teams to form and regroup on an ad hoc basis.
A potential limitation of hot-desking work arrangements is staff experiencing a lack of privacy. Not being able to personalise their own office space can be an additional source of dissatisfaction. Some studies suggest that employees can find it more difficult to adjust to having different colleagues in close proximity every day.
However, these factors may be mitigated by providing personal storage zones such as lockers or fixed team zones.
Modified Hot-Desking Practices
Firms that want to take advantage of hot-desking but are looking for a full commitment can still make use of modified hot-desking. Hotelling is a very common alternative to hot-desking that allows employees to reserve desks for use in advance. Companies can use hotelling or hot-desking in deparments where the staff are predominately mobile.
How to Implement a Hot-Desking Policy
Decide Whether it’s Right For Your Business
While hot-desking is probably not for every workplace, it can provide significant cost savings to certain companies. Those with workforces constantly on the road can reduce rental costs and overheads by assigning empty desks to staff who are working from the office.
Organisations transitioning to a hot-desking workplace will benefit from involving affected staff members in the process. It’s important to demonstrate and explain the benefits to staff members and to support them with private spaces, such as lockers or storage spaces, where appropriate.
Setting Up Hot Desks
Hot desks tend to be minimalist in design. Along with a comfortable chair and desk, most organisations provide telephones and wire or wireless internet and intranet access. Chairs should be ergonomic in design and able to be adjusted to suit different physical attributes. Suppliers for office chairs in Sydney and elsewhere are often able to provide specific advice for choosing chairs that are suitable hot desks.