The modern workplace is almost unrecognisable from the offices of previous decades. There’s always something new to try, whether it’s throwing out cubicles and welcoming in the open-plan era, or encouraging employees to work remotely from a café or co-working space.
Hot desking is one of the many elements of working in the 21st century, with many companies trialling it to reap its benefits. But what exactly is hot desking, and how does it encourage a more collaborative environment?
Hot desking typically involves one or more employees having no set workspace to call their own either for a set amount of time or permanently, and instead setting up camp at any empty desk.
Some companies such as the BBC will have around a third of their employees hot desking every day, although it can be done on as big or small a scale as you like.
It doesn’t have to be a permanent fixture either. For example, one employee per week could hot desk with another team to learn more about the way they work and their day-to-day roles, then return to their original seat the following week.
The core advantages of hot desking lie in increased levels of communication and improved professional relationships. Sitting and working alongside different people every day allows you to build bonds across the wider business, giving you the chance to understand people’s skillsets and responsibilities.
By communicating better with more teams and departments, collaborating on future projects becomes much easier, allowing you to each be more productive in your role.
Hot desking is also beneficial for learning new skills. If there’s an area of the company that you would like to learn more about, then working alongside an expert in that field is one of the best ways to pick up all the required information.
To ensure that you implement a beneficial hot desking system whilst avoiding the drawbacks, it’s important to consider various things to ensure that the scheme is a success.
If you’re hot desking on a large scale, then it’s apparent that employees will use different desks from one day to the next. Therefore it’s important that every member of staff keeps the desks tidy for the next person to use it, so no one person will be responsible for the upkeep.
In connection with this, many employees will still want an area of personal space to call their own. So to cater for this, a good idea is to allocate a couple of specific desks to be hot desks.
Hot desking also requires an organised plan to be in place, including who will sit where and on what days, and they’ll also need to consider where they’ll store documents relating to ongoing projects.
Hot desking has numerous advantages and is truly a part of modern workplace life. But to make sure that it can be successful for your business, it’s important to consider the scale of its implementation and how the scheme will be structured. Get everything right, and you’ll see the benefits of improved communication and interdependent working begin to take shape.