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Allan Mørch Mar 9, 2021 10 min read

Best Practices for Implementing Hot-desking: A Comprehensive Guide

Hot-desking has become a popular practice for growing companies as a way to save money, improve efficiency, and create a more agile work environment for their employees. Office space can be costly, and frequently underused in more traditional office models. Hot-desking takes advantage of today's growing workplace agility to help companies save money by moving away from the 1-to-1 seating model in the office. Rather than have assigned desks, employees operate from an open workspace, where they can reserve a desk on-the-spot.

One of the primary objectives of hot-desking is to save office space. Workers can easily get a desk when they need one - by booking any desk that becomes available, rather than being assigned a specific workstation or seating area. Hot-desking aims to optimize space efficiency, increase flexibility, and minimize unused office space.

Done properly it has the ability to be more convenient and flexible for employees, while also reducing waste and saving companies some considerable money. This is because of the rising costs of corporate real estate and the underutilization of space in traditional offices. On the other hand, hot desking can also be a chaotic free-for-all if done without the proper policies, roll out, and supporting technology.

Not sure how to implement a hot-desking plan without unleashing madness? Our comprehensive guide tackles everything from cultural changes to booking management and logistics.


Managing the Change

Implementing  a hot-desking system in your workplace requires more than just an announcement and several sign-in sheets at each desk. Making the transition from a 1-to-1 seating arrangement to a more mobile, active and open workspace design is a big cultural shift for employees. It definitely demands a thoughtful and well-constructed rollout.

As with most company-wide changes, getting your employees to buy into new ideas is essential. Here are a few tips to  get your staff on-board.


Be Honest about How This Will Change Their Work Life 

Yes, employees are going to have to give up some individually “owned” space, and that can be a difficult battle to fight.  Therefor, be clear on how the change affects their daily routine and internal processes. Be sure to lead with the benefits - emphasize that hot-desking means upgrading office technology and infrastructure; it provides greater flexibility and autonomy for employees; more functional workspaces; and improved relationships and collaboration with coworkers. When introducing new workplace changes, having the correct agenda can help you communicate the information in the best way possible and leave employees optimistic about the future.




Run a Pilot

Hot-desking can be complicated to organize and implement, and inevitably, there will be hitches along the way. Consider piloting the program in one building, on one floor, or among a select number of departments who would most benefit from the switch. This will help you work out kinks and policies, before rolling out company-wide.


Get Feedback and Input

Staff feedback and input is essential to successfully pulling off the change to hot-desking. Encourage staff to speak up with questions, concerns, and suggestions and take them seriously. Not only will you get some potentially great ideas and FAQs on the table, employees are also more likely to support something they had a hand in shaping.


collecting feedback


Think about Employee Experience 

The employee experience should be as frictionless as possible, allowing your staff access to everything they need to get to work, no matter what desk they’re sitting at on any given day. This may mean some initial investment in fully adjustable workstations, remote and travel-friendly technology, or a transition to cloud based services.


Getting the Employee Experience Right

Getting employee feedback and input is just one element of the employee experience – do not forget to think about their daily interactions with the new hot-desking system. Are there enough desks? Does your system encourage or support working from home on a more regular basis? Do your employees have the right tools and resources to be able to do their jobs? These questions (and others) should be top of mind when developing the employee experience. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you plan out the transition.


Not Everyone Needs a Hot Desk 

In order for hot-desking to work, most employees across your company should be participating in the new system. However, certain key administrative staff like receptionists and HR will still need a permanent workspace set up. Avoid too many exceptions to the hot-desking rule, and be thoughtful about who needs to stay in assigned seating.




Variety Is Key  

The transition to hot-desking has so much potential to transform your entire office. Hot desking is not just about saving on money and using space more efficiently – it is about creating a more agile and activity-based workspace. Think about what kinds of workspaces your employees might need in absence of a dedicated desk and provide a variety of bookable and shared workspaces – desks, private offices, meeting rooms, huddle spaces, open kitchens, phones booths, and other alternative spaces to meet and work.


Provide Ample Storage 

This is a simple but often-overlooked element of the transition to hot-desking. Since your staff no longer have a permanent place to store personal items, providing lockers or other safe, on-site storage it a must.


provide ample storage


Have an Etiquette Policy in Place

We’d all like to think an agreement on basic desk etiquette isn’t necessary, but without a clear policy, you’ll find your hot-desking system in disarray– food and coffee stains, squatting in unreserved desks, spaces being used for inappropriate or inconsiderate purposes. Even having a few simple rules in place can have a big impact on employee cooperation, and allows everyone to hold each other accountable to the same standards. At the very least, an etiquette policy should include notes on proper booking, where and how to store personal items, and a cleanliness standard.


When used in the proper office setting - to support a flexible work strategy, a collaborative workspace, or a hybrid workplace model, hot-desking can be a successful workplace strategy. However, its implementation is a continuous process. It takes time to monitor desk usage and make sure that the hot desks that are available meet your team's demands. Hot-desking has a wide range of advantages for both team members and customers of the company - from promoting hybrid work to enhancing space efficiency, generating cost savings, and boosting employee engagement. Hybrid and hot-desking go hand in hand. But without the proper equipment, it is challenging to make it function effectively.


Invest in the Right Tools and Tech

Successful hot-desking requires the right tools and technology to work well, period. From messaging apps and cloud-based services to monitors, keyboards and dongles, your employees should have everything they need in order to have a productive day at any desk in the space. And while accessories and details laptop stands and ergonomic chairs are useful additions, an easy to use and intuitive booking systems is one of the most investments to make.


Improve Your Hot-desking Experience

How much time is lost on employees searching for an open desk, combing an unfamiliar landscape to find the right conference room, or hunting down extra chairs? The perfect hot desk experience can seem like an elusive concept, but it does not have to be. AskCody’s comprehensive meeting management and room booking technology now includes the ability to reserve hot desks on the spot in the same user-friendly interface with the Outlook add-ins.

Fully integrated with Outlook, Microsoft 365, our add-ins can help you do so much more than book hot desks and meeting rooms. With the AskCody software, employees can access a full suite of office resources like huddle rooms, open lounge spaces, meeting rooms, and phone rooms across multiple locations and time zones by simply opening Outlook.

It helps workers be more agile, productive and collaborative. Easily can search and sort by purpose, such as “hot-desk” or “video-conferencing,” and reserve specialized equipment or order catering in advance; move from your desk to an open brainstorm space and into a private meeting room as-needed. 

For the offices transitioning into a more flexible and collaborative workplace model, AskCody’s Add-ins are an essential tool that eliminates inefficiency. Learn more about how AskCody can help improve the hot-desking experience at your office:


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Allan Mørch

CEO & Founder, AskCody. Works with empowering organizations worldwide in creating better workplace experiences.