How Do I Implement Hot Desking at My Office? 9 Hot Tips to Help

May 25, 2023
Hybrid Work
How Do I Implement Hot Desking at My Office? 9 Hot Tips to Help

TL;DR Article Summary

As hybrid work gains traction globally, hot desking emerges as a popular solution to optimize office space and foster collaboration. Here are crucial tips to keep in mind.

  • Plan your office layout for efficiency, collaboration, and individual work.
  • Get employee buy-in through transparency, feedback, and training.
  • Create a clear hot desking policy with guidelines for desk usage, cleanliness, and personal belongings.
  • Invest in desk booking software for reservations, real-time availability, and workspace preferences.
  • Provide essential amenities like power outlets, docking stations, and ergonomic furniture.

In today’s fast-paced and dynamic work cultures, the traditional workweek is giving way to a more flexible and adaptable approach. 

In its Future of Work Study, Accenture found that 83% of workers around the globe saw a hybrid work model as ideal, and 68% of high-growth companies have already implemented hybrid work models. Companies are offering flexible work to remain competitive in a job market that’s hurting for talent and to make better use of office spaces for hybrid teams. 

Hot desking—also known as desk sharing,agile working, or hoteling—is gaining popularity as the solution that maximizes space utilization and encourages collaboration in a hybrid environment.

According to Accenture’s Future of Work Study, 83% of workers around the globe saw a hybrid work model as ideal, and 68% of high-growth companies have already implemented hybrid work models.

When implemented strategically, hot desking can foster a vibrant work atmosphere, but many seem ill-prepared to make the transition. Only 26% of CEOs have a future-ready strategy that is holistically focused on changing how, why, and where we work, according to Accenture. 

With a lack of strategy and the right technology, hot desk management can feel like a frustrating game of musical chairs—and negatively impact your employee experience. To mitigate this, here are nine tips to help you transition to hot desking:

1. Assess and Plan Your Office Layouts

Before implementing hot desking, think about planning your workspace for efficiency, savings, and productivity. How suitable is the space for hot desking? Is there anything that you need to change to create physical workspaces that are ideal for collaborations and also individual work that require focus?

Consider factors like layout, furniture, and technology infrastructure. When you start designing, consider the number of desks you will need, whether you will have permanent computer stations or just spaces for laptops, and storage spaces for employees’ personal and work items. 

2. Get Employees Excited About It

Change is hard, and change management can be challenging when trying to convince employees to embrace hybrid work. Inform all employees about the upcoming hot desking implementation in advance. When doing so, ask for employee feedback on how they see a smooth transition to hot desking models. Seeking input from employees helps identify problems and gets employee buy-in. 

Provide training sessions or workshops to familiarize employees with the new system and to explain the benefits before changes are implemented. Be open and ready to address any concerns or questions that may arrive over time. Making the process streamlined and easy for employees to understand while involving them in the decision process helps ensure that the policies do not feel imposed. 

3. Create a Best Practice Guide for Employees

Develop a clear and comprehensive hot desking policy to keep the office environment tidy and welcoming for all. The policy should clearly outline the rules, procedures, and expectations for employees. What are the expectations for holding conversations or eating in shared spaces? Should employees clear their desks at night?

Include guidelines for reserving desks, keeping the workspace clean and organized, and handling personal belongings. Everyone has their own standards of cleanliness, so it’s essential to foster a culture where employees are empathetic about their coworkers’ needs. 

4. Invest in Hot Desking Software

Investing in desk booking or space management software can help you more efficiently implement hot desking. Centralized desk booking software enables employees to reserve desks in advance so they know they have a designated workspace when they arrive in the office. That can help avoid conflicts or overcrowding.

Some desk booking software even allows users to see in real-time when spaces become available, so employees and teams have more flexibility in choosing when and where they work. Consider desk management features you want and need for your workspace, such as the time increments you can book desks, workspace maps, and the ability to set neighborhoods where specific teams can collaborate.

5. Ensure Your IT Infrastructure Is Ready

Successful hot desking requires IT infrastructure to ensure that desk booking runs smoothly and consistently. Slow Wi-Fi can cause frustration for employees trying to book desks, access the internet, or hold video calls in the office.

Using a desk booking software also poses security and privacy risks and the possibility of noncompliance. Implement security measures to protect sensitive data and encourage employees to follow data protection practices. As more employees work in the office, ensure they have access to reliable Wi-Fi, printers, scanners, and other necessary technical resources.

6. Provide Sufficient Supplies and Amenities

Ensuring that all employees are getting the equipment they need when they need it becomes even more challenging in a hybrid work arrangement. Therefore, setting up an equipment management system can be extremely helpful in improving your hybrid office.

As a starting point, equip the hot desking areas with essential amenities like power outlets, docking stations, ergonomic chairs, and adjustable desks. Consider providing amenities like whiteboards, projectors, and video conferencing facilities to support collaborative work for both your in-office and virtual employees. 

7. Monitor and Adapt to Feedback

Continuously monitor the hot desking implementation and gather feedback from employees. Are employees clearing their desks at night? Are there challenges to booking the spaces that employees need? Is the desk booking software easy to use and navigate? Use feedback to make necessary adjustments and improvements to the system. Regularly assess the effectiveness of hot desking in meeting the organization’s goals and make modifications as needed.

8. Measure and Evaluate To Iterate Quickly

Establishing metrics to measure the success of hot desking can better inform the organization on how they can make hot desking better. Basic metrics should include employee satisfaction, productivity levels, and space utilization. Are employees able to book desks that they need when they need it? Are spaces allocated so that teams can collaborate effectively without disruptions? Regularly evaluate these metrics to assess the impact of hot desking on your organization and make data-driven decisions for continuous improvement.

9. Consider Alternative Workspaces

In addition to a centralized hot desking area, consider providing alternative workspaces like quiet rooms, collaboration areas, or breakout zones. Advanced Workplace Associates (AWA) research found that 61% of employees’ time is associated with working alone, with more than half of that time requiring a distraction-free environment to allow for focused work. By creating spaces that accommodate different work preferences, you can help improve productivity and promote employee well-being.

Implementing Hybrid Work That Works 

As hybrid work becomes the norm and workers spread their time between the office and their home, hot desking will become increasingly popular. Employees will want to maintain a flexible work schedule where they can choose when and where they work best, and employers will want to optimize their workspace management while balancing employee productivity and collaboration. 

By carefully planning and listening to your employees throughout the hot desking implementation, you can build employee relationships, implement clear and inclusive policies, and successfully navigate the logistics that will lead to a smoother transition to hybrid work.

For more insights on how companies have embraced and improved hybrid work, read more on Brands to Watch: Reinventing the Return To Office. If you’re ready to start scheduling and booking desks and rooms, create your free Skedda account today.

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