November 23, 2022
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5 minutes

What is "hot desking"?

Hot desking is a hybrid form of work where employees reserve their workstation according to the availability of offices at any given time, particularly in the context of flex-office

What is "hot desking"?


Hot desking is a new form of organization within the framework of hybrid work where employees can reserve their workstation according to the availability in the offices at the moment.

This type of access to hot-desk workstations is notably done within the framework of flex-office where companies will offer limited places to their employees in order to optimize their work spaces.

The employee will therefore reserve his workspace in advance or risk having to work at a location that is less convenient for him, or even stay at home if he does not.

Hot desking allows us to face the challenges brought by the hybridization of work or the flex-office: first of all, team cohesion and then employee commitment.

The pioneers of this type of operation are coworking spaces, like WeWork, which very quickly offered individual leases in the form of a hot desk.

Thanks to the flexibility that hot desking can offer employees and work teams, it is now likely that hot desking will become one of the most common hybrid work strategies in innovative organizations in the coming years.

Wondering if hot desking can be a useful choice for your business?

We invite you to read the following carefully. In this article, we will take a closer look at the principle of hot desking and how it can help hybrid or flex office companies achieve their goals.

In the age of quiet quitting and the big resignationthe hot desk is one of the options of the new work modes that can offer flexibility and freedom for both the employer and the employee.

What is hot desking?

Hot desking is a form ofhybrid work organization where employees will have access to available office space on a first come, first served basis. Companies generally turn to hot desking to optimize the presence of their teams in the office, ensure the profitability of their work spaces and reduce the costs of their real estate policy.

What are the advantages of "hot desking"?

As previously mentioned, the hot desk in the context of hybrid work (telework / face-to-face) offers many advantages for both the employee and the company:

Optimization of work spaces

Hot desking allows for the optimization of work spaces by reducing the number of offices allocated in a professional building. All types of workspaces are concerned (coworking, meeting room, closed offices, open space) in this flexible configuration of the work environment.

Real estate profitability

Reducing real estate costs is one of the primary benefits. With the implementation of hot desks, companies can maximize the use of existing office space, limit the number of offices allocated on the floor plan and reduce their real estate portfolio.

In addition, according to this article in Les EchosIn Paris, the value of prime real estate is skyrocketing to over 930 euros per square meter.

An optimal collaboration

Hot desks can improve the efficiency of employees in the workplace and facilitate team collaboration. However, adopting a new form of organization without prior preparation can destabilize employees, who are used to being in the office at the same time.

The hot desk can involve the adoption of an attendance management tool for employees. Your team members could organize in advance where they want to work, inform their colleagues and favor collective moments.

We can thus easily respond to the needs of current projects through a common schedule or, if not, set up a recurrence.

Collective vision of the hybrid

Thanks to hot desking, colleagues can meet in places where they would not otherwise see each other. Each employee is free to choose and can freely declare his place of work according to his colleagues. Each work group or project team can therefore meet and improve their relationship.

The flexibility of hot-desking can lead to psychosocial risks in the context of telework, such as depression or the risk of isolation of remote employees.

The informal moments in the office are therefore fundamental in a successful hot-desking policy.

In its barometer Telework and Hybrid Organizations 2022In its survey, 82% of eligible employees say they would like to work in hybrid mode and 33% would like to have social spaces or meeting places for informal exchanges between colleagues.

Work flexibility

Hot desking is clearly linked to the advent of hybrid work and telecommuting. Forget about booking an office and respecting work schedules. Through this system, we seek above all to facilitate our lives. The flexibility of the spaces makes the work environment more comfortable and dynamic.

This can be seen, for example, in the RATP, where the director of the Transilien system, Sylvie Charles, is calling for a "better smoothing" of home-work journeys during the week, because of the massive use of telecommuting on Fridays.

Performance

It's a new organizational model, says performance This is what the National Productivity Council (NPC) report states in 2022, which estimates that teleworkers will generate a long-term productivity gain of 5 to 9%.

Let's therefore create custom offices where the employee doesn't need to book a shift and decides where they want to work. These shared workspaces promote the productivity and creativity of its occupants.

Employee experience 

As we have just seen, the implementation of the hot desk tends to encourage employee commitment. Indeed, the hot desk is a real trend in a talent retention strategy, the employee experience is a real trend in a talent retention strategy. Hot desking reinforces this experience by giving more satisfaction and autonomy to employees, notably thanks to a more flexible and adapted management. The implementation of hot desking can be detrimental to engagement, hence the interest in using a solution dedicated to hybrid work management. The objective in this case is to optimize the work spaces while taking into account the risks related to the practice of telecommuting.

What are the risks associated with the "hot desk"?

Although the "hot desk" has many advantages, this mode of work is also a source of disadvantages:

  • Organizational difficulties
  • Overbooking of spaces
  • Empty offices

How to better understand the implementation of this new model?

Moving to flex-office or hot-desking requires the adoption of a dedicated tool. These employee presence management solutions are designed to help organizations implement a hybrid work mode - alternating between teleworking and face-to-face work. 

Here are the advantages of a presence management schedule to better monitor hot desking:

Save time 

Give employees the possibility to fill in the workstation occupancy schedule simply and simultaneously. The services offered to employees adjust automatically. Spaces and services are thus adapted to this new working environment.

Sharing attendance data

Allow employees to freely choose where they work. Teams will organize themselves and decide where they want to work.

Optimize the workspace

Bring work teams together only when necessary. Employees are informed of their colleague's presence to optimize space: offices are now tailor-made!

Make your real estate investment profitable

Optimize your real estate policy with employee presence data. It is possible to use the data to better organize the space and surfaces dedicated to the hot desk.

How to deploy a hot desking strategy?

The first feedback from hot desking

Hot desking can be an effective strategy when deployed in the right work environment, especially when used to support a flexible work strategy, collaborative workspace or hybrid work model.

The work environments that benefit most from hot desks allow for simple and seamless workplace management, services and events:

Easy to set up for the employee

To be effective, it is better to offer a simple model to employees: declaration of presence in 2 clicks, indication of the recurrence of hot desking and clear visualization of the information. The employee then only needs to go to his workstation or dedicated workspace when he wants to.

Reunion between work teams

Or how to answer the question "where are my favorite colleagues?"

The challenge of hot desking in this context is the ability of organizations to continue the life of the company, particularly events (team-buildings, afterwork, etc.), services associated with coming to the workplace (parking, lunch, etc.) and work groups (collaborative spaces, meeting rooms). 

A step forward for team cohesion with work hybridization.

Simplified management for companies

A new model involves all the obstacles to the implementation of a new project in a company (resistance to change, internal communication, fill rate). The adoption of hot desking by the employee and the ease of management by the administrators (HR, General Services, IT) are the keys to the success of the transition to hot desking.

How to evaluate the effectiveness of hot desking?

Implementing hot desking is a structural business project. It takes time to track office usage and ensure that the available hot desks match the needs of your team.

Teams should closely monitor the following metrics to measure the success of hot desking in their organization.

Flexibility rate

Tracking and improving occupancy is one of the easiest ways for companies to create a more efficient office space. It's also the best way to ensure that they have the right ratio of free office space to meet the needs of employees in their workplace.

Analysis of work patterns

Analyzing workplaces can help companies understand how their offices and spaces are used. It provides a holistic view of what a company needs to ensure cost-effectiveness and office optimization. Interesting usage data can be retrieved (team statistics, preferred work styles, occupancy rates).

Space management 

Showing how space is divided and used by employees over time enables real estate decision making. Tracking workspace utilization can help companies understand where teams congregate, identify what space is being used (or not), improve office layouts, and optimize the types of positions available in the building.

To conclude, this type of data can only be obtained through the use of dedicated software that will be able to generate these indicators. 

Attendance data allows you to optimize office space and layout according to occupancy. 

The graphical representations linked to these data allow you to manage spaces, identify preferred work modes and analyze occupancy rates.

Charles Helliet

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