Introducing hot desking to your company is a great way to improve your workplace culture by creating a more fluid, relaxed atmosphere.

But with so many different interpretations of this desk-hopping scheme, it can be hard to know where to start. Here, we provide some easy-to-follow steps that should help you make the transition from a traditional office plan to a more fluid one in as pain-free a way as possible.

Hot desking definition

Hot desking involves scrapping your traditional, permanent seating plan in lieu of one that’s completely flexible. Staff no longer have a permanent seat or workstation, but instead come into the office each morning and pick one based on things like who they need to sit with that day or just personal preference. Some companies even go so far as to only provide a set amount of seats for a limited number of staff in their office, with the rest having to work remotely for the day. This is to increase a feeling of autonomy among employees, encouraging to work away from the office or from home when it suits them. 

For other companies, hot desking rules may be based on the job type of employees – aka those who are particularly mobile and regularly out of the office can hotdesk, but those who spend 80% or more of their time at their desk will remain in a set workplace. 

Ready to take the plunge into the world of hot desking? Read on for some top tips in doing so.

1. Consider the balance you want to achieve

First off, spend some time thinking about the kind of hot desking system you feel will work best for your company. Do you want your whole office to be an open-plan haven of interconnectivity, with zero restrictions? Or do you want to take a more methodical approach by assigning hot desking areas for some employees but keeping others stationed at their desks? Perhaps you want to take hot desking to the next level by introducing a coworking space into the mix alongside your existing office, so staff have the freedom to choose between different locations in your town or city. 

How you go about it is really up to you – but making this decision is the crucial first step towards achieving a successful hot desking environment, so try not to rush it. Better yet – ask for your employees’ input and opinions too.

2. Rethink your office layout

Now it’s time to get practical. A hot desking office will need an entirely different layout to one with permanent work stations, so your first step in making this happen will be to go back to the drawing board. Take a floor plan of your office space and consider bringing in professional help from a designer or office layout expert to help you figure out how best to make use of the space so that it fosters a mobile, hot desking environment. 

3. Design huddle spaces and open communal areas

One of the key ways to achieve a successful hotdesking scheme is to think outside the box when it comes to your seating plan. Use your imagination in creating huddle spaces and open communal areas where employees can sit around large tables together or even on sofas. Granted, they’ll need to have laptops to be able to do so, but this could also be an important consideration if you want to go the full hotdesking hog. 

4. Decide on your must-have items for each workspace

Hot desking does come with some logistical challenges that need to be addressed from the start if the scheme is to be successful. One of these is the fact that you’ll need to decide on exactly which items should remain stationed at each workstation, and which ones your staff will need to carry with them. For example, each workstation may consist of a desktop computer or laptop, keyboard and mouse, but your employees may need to carry their own pens and stationary. Alternatively, each workstation may consist of a keyboard, mouse and stationary, while employees carry their own laptops wherever they go. 

5. Get some lockers for your office

Another hot desking teething problem can be to do with the lack of personal space employees have now that they don’t have their own assigned desk. Whereas, before, they would leave their coats, bags and other belongings by their chair or in their desk drawers, they’ll now need an assigned locker to pop their things in instead. This is an important step towards making sure staff feel secure and looked after at work, so it’s important not to overlook it. Finally, make sure there’s plenty of space to hang coats and outerwear, too.

6. Educate and inspire your employees 

One of the most crucial elements in achieving a successful hot desking environment will be getting your staff on board with the concept. For this reason, it’s really important to involve them in every step of the process, from initial discussions about the benefits of hot desking, through to ongoing support once its been rolled out. Make sure your employees are fully aware of the hot desking rules and, what’s more, of how they can use the system to improve their own working lives. 

Hot desking can be a great way to create a more dynamic and laid-back working environment, but it’s not for everyone. If you’re still unsure if it’s right for your business, it’s a good idea to run a trial first in order to gauge its possible success. If you’ve done that and are sure it’s a good fit for your company, with these simple steps you’ll soon be on your way to a refreshing, mobile work space – and a bright new future for your business. 

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