Otherwise known as “office hoteling,” and “free address,” hot desk booking is a practice that allows employees or students to reserve a desk or an area of unassigned seating. With hot desking, in particular, desks or spaces can also be available on a first come, first serve basis.
What is the purpose of hot desking?
Hot-desking is an organizational workspace system in which desks are used by different people at different times, on an ad hoc basis. Typically, the aim is to maximize space efficiency and lessen real estate risk by reducing redundant office space.
A hot desking and desk booking scenario
Consider this: You’ve got six unfilled workstations in your office. You don’t have the means to hire more people to fill those seats—in fact, you already have a network of remote workers. Every day, those workstations sit unfilled. That’s costing you money. The answer: Turn those empty workspaces into hot desks. Remote workers, collaborative partners, and visitors now have a space to call their own for a day.
But now you’ve got a new problem. People are coming and going day after day, and you’re never really quite sure who’s sitting where or how long they’ll be there. You need a system of record—something better than a guest ledger for people to sign.
That’s where desk booking software comes in. It’s a digital record-keeping system that houses all the variables of your hot desking arrangement. It’s all at your fingertips—Assign desks for specific periods of time, know who’s sitting where, have the means to contact them, see how many spaces you have left, and more.
Read more on “What is Hot Desking?” and learn why it is sizzling in the workplace.
The perfect system of record
With the right desk booking system, hot desking is a dream. In fact, any desk arrangement becomes simplified. But it’s about more than plugging names into a virtual floor plan. A good desk booking system should include a few critical tools:
- Floor plans. Digital floor plans are critical for hot desking. It’s not enough to assign someone to “Workstation FIN-34” or “Desk A23.” These mean nothing to someone trying to check on their seating arrangement in a pinch. Make sure your desk booking software has a digital layout of your offices, so you can literally see what’s open.
- Wayfinding. Trying to find an employee you already seated? Or, need to give someone directions to their desk for the day? Wayfinding software works both ways.
- Integrations. Booking software needs to integrate to be effective. From sending confirmation emails to reaching people on platforms such as Slack, no good desk booking platform is complete without integrations to your ecosystem of apps and devices.
- Statistics. How do you know if your hot desk experiment is working? Good desk booking software provides verifiable usage data and trends. Logging desk assignments through a booking platform aggregates data and details occupancy and utilization.
The value of desk booking
So why go through the trouble of changing your desk layout or adopting hot desks if there are so many variables to manage? Because the benefits far outweigh the costs (here are the pros and cons of hot desking) —especially if you have a good desk booking and management system.
- You’ll have less confusion when booking desk spaces. No more accidental double-ups or desks left unoccupied. This equates to better space utilization in your office
- It’s easy to find people, no matter where they are in the building. It doesn’t matter if you have two hot desks booked or 20 temporary workers on-site
- Analytics provide insights on how to best use space. If you’ve got too many desks, too few, or aren’t utilizing them appropriately, utilization trends will highlight where to make changes
- Better overall space management is a core benefit. You’ll have an eagle-eye view of your office, so you can adapt and make changes on-the-fly
Whether you’re booking desks on behalf of visitors or they’re self-booking, the most important value-add of desk booking software is its system of record. Knowing who’s in your facilities, for how long, and where means understanding how they function day-to-day.
Desk booking is a must-have
Whether you have hot desks, open workstations, or agile workspaces, desk booking software is imperative. There’s simply no replacement for the control, oversight, and information it provides. Even in smaller offices, the centralized control offered by desk booking software plays a vital role in workplace management. It reduces stress, optimizes space utilization, informs trends, and ensures everyone has a place to do their best work.
How does hot-desking work?
Find a desk, plug in, and get to work: Hot desks provide space for professionals to work as needed, in both private and shared office spaces. That means that the particulars for hot-desking may vary depending on the environment, but here are the primary factors to consider.
Access to power outlets and phones
Bookable meeting rooms
Storing personal items
Technology and internet
Bathrooms, kitchens, and other common areas
Private space when needed
The advantages of hot-desking
The benefits of hot-desking vary depending on your work style and what you need from the arrangement. Where freelancers appreciate having a place to work and meet potential clients, business owners like the flexible lease terms and the ability to hire or send employees to workspaces in different cities.