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Is hot-desking about to escalate?

Diane Hall


Top view office desk with laptop, coffee cup and open mockup black notebook on pastel green color background

The pandemic has fully disrupted traditional working practices. From flexible hours to remote working, these things were formally tested during lockdowns and found to work well.

Remote and hybrid working have proved to be such a success that some companies have downsized their shared workplaces/offices or got rid of them altogether. After all, there’s no point paying the rent on premises you hardly use, is there? Particularly when you look at all the alternative working solutions on offer nowadays.

Shared offices

Some larger companies have found themselves with lots of empty offices/space within their buildings. Not wishing to give up their location or facilities completely, some invited partner companies to move in with them, so that both entities could share the cost savings and so the space was fully utilised.

Sharing an office is also a solution for smaller companies—usually offices within a larger serviced building. Perfect for start-ups and SMEs, they typically come with short-term contracts and easy-in, easy-out conditions, to accommodate growing enterprises’ developing needs.

Hot desking as an employee

This helps a business save on its space. If Doris and Bob only work from the office three days a week, and Katie and Sarah work there the other two days, you don’t need four separate offices, just two hot desks. A hot desk is one that belongs to no one in particular, but which is simply utilised by anyone as and when needed.

Hot desking as an individual

Lots of smaller businesses only have one or two staff members (including the owner/founder). Though remote working is the most common option if you’re a one-man-band, some days, it may be difficult to concentrate when working from home. Think: school holidays, if there’s building work going on nearby, etc…hot desking is perfect as a temporary solution.

Usually charged on a daily (or half-daily) basis, you can simply turn up and grab a desk at your nearest serviced centre/offices. They will have all the things you need, such as a printer, good wi-fi, parking, a shared kitchen and loos.

I work as a freelancer and whilst it’s convenient for me to work from home (no need to leave the house, don’t have to care what I wear, access to the fridge), my other half works a four-on, four-off shift pattern. This means he can be having a day off midweek when I really want to concentrate on some work or I’m up against a deadline. He doesn’t mean to disturb me, but someone knocking about the house or pottering in the garden can still be distracting when you’re trying to focus. Add in the kids—if they’re working from home or it’s the college holidays—and an extremely yappy, grumpy dog, and it's a wonder I get any peace. If I know we’re all going to be on top of each other, I escape to The Junction, Horbury. I wish it was on my doorstep, but the drive is worth it for some peace and quiet, collaborative discussions with other ‘hot-deskers’, and their lovely on-site coffee shop.

Businessman unpacking items on to desk for hire

Businessman unpacking items on to desk for hire

If you’re still not convinced of the benefits of hot-desking, either as an individual or business owner, there are further benefits:

·  If you’re someone who works from Costa or Starbucks (plenty do), you can have a little more privacy in meetings/1:1s—no nosy Darrens of Doreens earwigging from the table behind you

·  Hybrid working helps people’s mental health

·  As a hot-desker, you can interact with others without office politics or the hierarchy of your shared workplace

·  You will typically mix with other businesses when hot-desking and collaborations could occur; it’s like an indirect form of networking

·  Some people work better in a conversational environment, but they still want the autonomy and flexibility to work when they want and where they want

·  It’s an easy way to take on your first member of staff without having to host their entire working day in your home

·  Productivity has been shown to increase in co-working spaces

·  Great for people with unusual routines, where fixed days/hours are too restrictive

Some people work well remotely, squirrelled away in their home office; however, others thrive on background chatter and the co-operative nature of co-working solutions. Hot-desking is an ad-hoc solution that fits around the individual; and you only pay for the desk time you use. If you’re someone who’s tearing their hair out trying to get some work done at home, consider escaping to a hot desking space near you, every now and again, for your sanity.

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