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How to deal with hotdesking

Updated on March 12, 2012

What I've learnt about hotdesking

I have been hot desking for over six years since my company moved away from individual offices. Over this time I have experienced the pros and cons of hotdesking and learnt many things to help make the experience as positive and productive as possible.

Looking around the web I've found lots of information for companies on how to introduce hot desking, but I've found very little on how an individual can deal with it. Hotdesking can be upsetting to some people so I hope by sharing my experiences that I can help you make the experience a positive one.

Photograph from Mike Burns

What is hot desking?

According to Wikipedia it is the temporary physical occupation of a work station or surface by a particular employee.

Hotdesking is simply when staff do not have their own desk and make use of shared facilities. However, how it is introduced in different companies (or even divisions) could be very different.

For instance all staff may hot desk or it may just be for certain staff who are frequently out of the office. Staff may hot desk within a specified area of a building or throughout several different cities. It maybe necessary to book a desk or it could be take a desk on arrival. Therefore if you are working in a hotdesking business you should find out what hotdesking means to your business.

If you are introducing hotdesking you should take the time to work out what works best for your organisation and not just introduce what has been done by others.

Things to realise about hotdesking

People generally don't like change and moving to hotdesking is often a big change and one that continues every day as you need to sit at a different desk or with different people. Your company will have good reasons to introduce hotdesking as it will take signifianct effort to make this change and won't do it on a whim. Most of the time hotdesking is introduced to reduce costs or improve productivity and both of these support the company's financial position and therefore benefit the security of jobs.

Why might hotdesking be introduced:

* in office based businesses the accommodation can be the second largest expensive after staff costs

* a large proportion of staff could be frequently out of the office or away from their desk (you can read an analysis of desk usage of desks here)

* there is a need for flexibility in team arrangements

* may provide access to tools to everyone e.g. software, scanners without buying copies for everyone

Although it can be difficult to move from your own space consider the following:

* you don't need a 'home' in the office and by reducing your ownership of space you make it easier on yourself to leave the company if you find another job you like

* you can get to meet new people in the company

Interesting posts on hot desking

There is a lot of information around the web on hotdesking and as I identify posts I find interesting I will include them here.

Benefits of hotdesking to the employees

Although it can be difficult to move from your own space consider the following:

* you don't need a 'home' in the office and by reducing your ownership of space you make it easier on yourself to leave the company if you find another job you like

* you can get to meet new people in the company

* you get access to tools that may not be available if you had your own desk

* you have a choice over the environment that you sit in, instead of it being selected by management

* you can sit with team members at certain times e.g. project start up

There are many different opinions on hotdesking, here is your opportunity to share

What is your opinion on hotdesking?

See results

Dealing with hotdesking

Okay, hopefully you've accepted there are benefits of hotdesking, but you still need to deal with it and that can be difficult, so here are some tips:

* understand how the system works; do you need to book a desk, can you sit anywhere

* understand how technology helps (or hinders) the hotdesking; do you plug in a laptop, can you transfer your phone calls

* discover how much personal storage you have and if there is project storage

* approach it with a positive attitude, even if you are nervous about, the company won't changes its mind just for you so stop fighting it

Items to help you hot desk

Everyone needs to develop their own systems for hotdesking, here are some items that may give you ideas on how you could develop yours.

Videos about hotdesking

There are many different experiences about hotdesking and here are some expressed on youtube.

I will be updating this page with new experiences and thoughts about hot desking, but please feel free to provide me feedback or ask any questions.

Reader Feedback

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    • profile image

      Katy Navichas 22 months ago

      inally, we have moved over to hot desking!

      We were trying to mix things up for a while by moving the team around every 4 months which worked in terms of mixing the team up and stop people from nesting, but it was a hassle because there is 20 of us & people wanted their own 'stuff' on their PC's (I work for and IT company so everyone was VERY particular about how their computers were set up) and the office always seemed to be a mess with spare cables etc. after we moved about. We soon grew to a point of needing to move to a bigger premises, but realising that desks were only in use for about 60% of the time it made more sense to try and get the team to hot desk. What a daunting task... but we did it!

      The first thing we had to do was overcome the technical problems which I can see all of you have also faced. But working in IT gave us a HUGE advantage here. A couple of the guys got together and have created possibly the geekiest thing I have ever seen and solved the hot desking technical issues... here is how they did it http://www.lucidica.com/blog/random-technology/the...

      Yes they were so excited about they wrote a blog!

      I'm very proud to say - I agree and think we have one of the best hot desking environments in the world. It also allowed us more space than we knew what do do with..... so we did this. http://www.lucidica.com/blog/how-to-guides/making-...

      We did loads of research before getting to this point and everyone seemed to have the same technical issues. Hopefully our geeky guide will help some of you out.

      Yay for hot desking

    • profile image

      Katy Navichas 22 months ago

      Finally, we have moved over to hot desking!

      We were trying to mix things up for a while by moving the team around every 4 months which worked in terms of mixing the team up and stop people from nesting, but it was a hassle because there is 20 of us & people wanted their own 'stuff' on their PC's (I work for and IT company so everyone was VERY particular about how their computers were set up) and the office always seemed to be a mess with spare cables etc. after we moved about. We soon grew to a point of needing to move to a bigger premises, but realising that desks were only in use for about 60% of the time it made more sense to try and get the team to hot desk. What a daunting task... but we did it!

      The first thing we had to do was overcome the technical problems which I can see all of you have also faced. But working in IT gave us a HUGE advantage here. A couple of the guys got together and have created possibly the geekiest thing I have ever seen and solved the hot desking technical issues... here is how they did it http://www.lucidica.com/blog/random-technology/the...

      Yes they were so excited about they wrote a blog!

      I'm very proud to say - I agree and think we have one of the best hot desking environments in the world. It also allowed us more space than we knew what do do with..... so we did this. http://www.lucidica.com/blog/how-to-guides/making-...

      We did loads of research before getting to this point and everyone seemed to have the same technical issues. Hopefully our geeky guide will help some of you out.

      Yay for hot desking!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I've seen it go from my own office filled with momentos to a place that looks like a call center in a timeshare company...I've jumped them to hotdesking and now I carry everything I need in a backpack, working wherever there is Wifi, outdoors on the patio right now..what nobody mentions is there is a new problem: any trip to the restroom or kitchen or cafe, involves packing up all of your stuff..battery life is what I live by nowadays..somewhere in the future, I will be doing this while looking at the ocean...

    • k8company profile image

      k8company 9 years ago

      I'd never heard of hotdesking, and I think I'm really glad I don't have to do it! And hey, thanks for joining my cube farm group.