Is hot-desking right for your company?

With hot-desking, employees do not have assigned office desks. Instead, office desks and workstations are claimed by employees each day. How they’re claimed and who gets each workstation depends on how the company has set the desks up.

Advantages of hot desking

The world is finally starting to tap into the benefits of hot desking. Many companies who’ve jumped into the hot-desk world have found numerous benefits including

  • Better engagement among employees
  • Improved team efficiency
  • Higher employee satisfaction
  • Lower real estate costs

Better engagement

With hot desking, employees don’t usually plan who they’re working beside each day. They end up meeting and interacting with individuals and teams they hardly knew before.

Improved team efficiency

Hot desks help interdepartmental teams gather, considering they can book desks close together or entire workspaces.

Higher employee satisfaction

Successful hot desking offers employees the freedom to work in a range of environments.

For example, if they prefer a quiet station that day, they can book a desk away from traffic. If they want to actively engage their colleagues, they can book a desk in the aisle.

Lower real estate costs

Hot desking accounts for out-of-office employees, shift rotations, and partially remote workforces. By using hot desks, your company doesn’t need to account for an entire cubicle per employee anymore and can cut back on real estate.

One size doesn’t fit all

Although hot desking sounds great, it’s not for every company. For some organizations, employees may feel frustrated when they don’t have a home base. Some employees need an assigned space for their documents and files. The main issue with hot-desking, however, is the first-come-first-serve basis.

Typically, whoever arrives first in the office gets the “pick of the litter” and employees who arrive later are stuck with whichever workstations are left. The employee who needed a quiet space to work might not claim the right desk in time, etcetera.

However, before throwing in the towel on hot desking, make sure you’ve considered the following:

  • Communication – make sure your employees know the system, especially new hires.
  • Agile – it’s best not to just plunk hot desking into a traditional office. Instead, plan to make other aspects of the office agile too.
  • Equipment – invest in the right equipment! Make sure each desk is equipped for the ever-changing inhabitants. Also, consider transitioning to desk hotelling by implementing a desk booking system (explained later in this article).


Considering how 2020 and 2021 have turned out, cleanliness cannot be overrated.

Right now there’s a tug of war on whether hot desking is the solution for 2021 or not. Can companies keep workstations clean, considering different employees will be handling the same equipment?

On the other hand, many companies will be moving toward partially remote workforces and employee shift rotations in 2021. These tactics help organizations adhere to physical distancing regulations. If organizations can sort out how to keep desks germ-free, hot desking can save the company a lot on real estate.


Hot desking can be an instant failure unless the company invests in technology that can accommodate all of its employees.

For example, each station should have PC and Mac-compatible technology, along with one or two external monitors. Unless your company has some other magical solution, each employee should be working from a portable laptop that they can connect to any hot desk station.

What are alternatives to hot desking?

Hot desking isn’t without its flaws. Here are some alternative solutions that you can run with or integrate with your hot-desking practices.

Activity-based working

The concept of activity-based working revolves around the knowledge that we need different environments to foster our innovation at different project states. Not to mention, the environmental needs for each occupation are different. Dedicated conference rooms or huddle spaces can be used for activity-based work. A meeting room booking system like Joan makes it much easier to organize this type of work.

Assigned shifts

Many companies are implementing assigned shifts in 2021. Before COVID, offices could run at max capacity. These days most offices will run at 50 percent capacity at best to support physical distancing regulations.

Assigning shifts will help companies run at 50 percent or less while still using just as much real estate, keeping their employees more than six feet apart at all times.

Desk hoteling

The main difference between hot desking and desk hoteling is the ability to book desks. Imagine booking a hotel through Expedia from the Expedia app on your phone. With desk hoteling, employees can book their desk or work station in advance.

For desk hoteling to work, the company needs to invest in a fantastic desk booking solution. With a desk booking app like Joan’s, employees can see the office layout and book stations from their mobile devices within a minute and with practically no learning curve.

No matter your preferred solution, Health Screening will keep your workplace safe

Health screening is an integrated and partially automated questionnaire that helps you check the well-being of your employees before they come to the office. It’s quick and very easy to use. Such screenings are becoming mandatory and are a part of health regulations companies must comply with.

With Health Screening in place, employees get an email and a notification in the mobile app which leads to a simple form they fulfill before their visit to the workplace. They receive the form automatically, three hours before arriving their scheduled arrival (utilizing Joan Desk Booking app to do so).


The takeaway

Although hot-desking has boosted productivity in many offices, it’s not the best solution when trying to maintain health and safety standards in your office. Thus, alternatives, such as desk booking or hotelling are the way to go if you’d like to keep the benefits of a more flexible workspace. Embrace a safer and improved workplace with Joan Desk Booking app.