Hot Desking

In today’s modern world of flexible workplaces, hot desking is becoming the...
  • Author: Siva
  • Last updated: November 10, 2022
  • 5 Minutes
hot desking or workplace desk reservation in modern workplaces in UK explained by Papershift

© / Adobe Stock

In today’s modern world of flexible workplaces, hot desking is becoming the new normal. The office of permanent desks is becoming increasingly old-school and expensive to run. By comparison, hot desking compliments the needs of businesses and allows them to be more agile with their workforce. 

But what exactly is hot desking and how do you implement it successfully?

In this article, we’ll break down exactly what hot desking is and how to make it work for you. 

Let’s begin.

What exactly is hot desking?

Hot desking is a flexible seating arrangement in an office building where employees can reserve a desk for the day. This offers employees maximum flexibility to collaborate on a project, work in a non-permanent office space, or get a new perspective on the world. 

Hot desking is often short-term and on-demand. Businesses can reserve a hot desk on the same day or in advance, normally through a mobile app or other web-based platform. 

How does hot desking work?

The way hot desking works is pretty simple. Employees can book an available desk that offers the facilities they need–either via an app or in-person when they arrive. They can then work from their reserved desk for the day they have booked it for.

Isn’t hot desking the same as hoteling?

Although similar concepts, hot desking and hoteling are not the same. Hot desking is a desk sharing arrangement where employees can reserve a desk for the day, either in advance or onsite.

Office hoteling is where employees reserve a desk for a set period of time. These are often longer-term reservations, for days, weeks, or months. 

What are the benefits of hot desking?

Hot desking is a flexible, cost-effective solution for organizations looking to manage their space more efficiently. In today’s world of hybrid work, fewer employees are onsite each day. As a result, organizations have had to re-evaluate their office space and optimize it to keep up with employee needs. 

Here are some benefits that hot desking can bring to employees and the business:


Hot desking gives people the freedom to work where they are most comfortable and productive. Depending on whether you are totally onsite or implement hybrid working, having a hot desking policy will give staff autonomy over what their daily work environment looks and feels like.

Collaboration and productivity

A hot desking policy can have a positive impact on productivity and collaboration. It encourages employees to change where they sit, meaning on any given day they may be working with different co-workers or different departments. This helps staff have more cross-functional interactions and can contribute to a better company culture overall.

Cost savings

Permanent desk assignments are more expensive because they require more space. Employees working from home just one day a week leads to empty desks in the office. Hot desking cuts down on this wasted space and allows businesses to reduce real estate costs by downsizing office space.

Data-driven decision-making

Hot desking gives businesses insights into how office space is being used. It allows them to spot trends and make better use of space. On top of this it provides data to help make smart, informed decisions to plan for future real estate needs.

Tidier workspace

Hot desks make for a tidier workspace. With fewer personal items or stacks of paper cluttering desk space, you get a cleaner, more organized office.

How do I know if hot desking is right for me?

Hot desking is a great feature for hybrid workplaces. But it also works well in other types of workplaces too. For example, even if you are fully in-office, hot desking can offer flexibility and encourage a sense of community within the workspace. 

One of the best ways to know if hot desking is right for your business is to consider your company culture. If your office focuses on efficiency, flexibility, mobility, and safety then you’ll likely see benefits of hot desking. 

It can also be beneficial in the following situations:

  1. If your organization has a remote working policy, hot desking can provide employees with the option to visit an office or coworking location and book a desk for the day. 
  2. If your organization has a hybrid working policy, hot desking can support people who come and go from the office on different schedules. 
  3. If your organization has a 100% onsite policy, hot desking can help support cross-functional interactions within the organization. 

How do I set up hot desking for my business?

Creating an office seating arrangement that your employees will love takes time and planning. Let’s take a look at some of the best practices for setting up a successful hot desking policy:

a. Invest in a desk booking solution 

Before you implement a hot desking policy, ensure you have a desk booking solution set up and running. By having an easy-to-use desk reservation system, your employees will be able to book their desk ahead of time, get visibility into where their co-workers are sitting, and know exactly where to go when they arrive in the office each day.

b. Set up your floor plan

It’s a good idea to show the different workspace options available to employees. This includes quiet areas, collaboration spaces, and desk booths that they can choose from.

You can then use a space planning tool to figure out your floor plan. For example, you might want some desks to be reservable for everyone while others assigned to a particular department.

c. Get employees excited about hot desking

If you’re not careful, the change to hot desking can foster apprehension rather than excitement. To help manage this, communicate clearly and regularly with your staff before you implement the new hot desking policy. Generate excitement through your messaging and ensure staff understand why you have made the decision to change something. 

d. Clean spaces regularly

While we can never fully get rid of germs, we can do our best to prevent them from spreading. Embed a cleaning schedule into your hot desk policy. This way staff won’t feel annoyed if the desk they’ve booked is unsanitary.

In conclusion

Hot desking is not a new concept, but it has gone through a major transformation. With better technology and smarter workplaces, hot desking is now a far cry from the stressful and unorganized experience it once was and is becoming a vital tool in the modern workplace. 

Written by Siva

I write & describe the value & benefits delivered by Paperhift's rota planning, staff time tracking, and employee payroll management software. Especially useful for Shift Planners, Rota Managers, Team Admins, and HR Teams :-)