22 May 2023

What is Hot Desking and Who is it For

Hot desking has become an increasingly popular approach to office space management in recent years. It involves multiple workers sharing the same physical workspace, often on a temporary basis. While this method has many potential benefits, such as increased flexibility and cost savings, it also comes with its own set of drawbacks. In this article, we will explore the concept of hot desking, how it works, its advantages and disadvantages, and when it may be most effective.

What is hot desking and how does it work?

A hot desking arrangement is a flexible workspace where employees do not have a fixed workspace but rather choose where to work based on availability. It is also known as “desk hoteling,” “desk sharing,” or “coworking.”

Hot desking works by providing a pool of workspaces that employees can use on a first-come, first-served basis. Instead of being assigned to a specific desk or cubicle, employees can choose a workspace that suits their needs for the day. This workspace may include a desk, chair, and access to power outlets and internet connectivity. In some cases, hot desking may also include access to shared resources such as meeting spaces, printing facilities, and storage areas.

Hot desking is often used by companies to maximise the use of office space and resources, as well as to provide flexibility to employees who may have different working patterns or needs. It is also seen as a way to promote collaboration and interaction among employees, as they are not restricted to working in silos or with the same people every day. However, hot desking may not be suitable for all employees or work situations, as it requires a certain level of flexibility and adaptability.

Why is it called hot desking?

hot desk brisbane

According to Zonifero, the term “hot desking” has an interesting origin that can be traced back to a similar concept used in the US Navy called “hot racking.” Sailors would sleep in separate shifts and share rack-mounted bunks, with the bunks staying “hot” from the person who last used it. The idea of hot racking was to save space on board ships, and this concept was adapted by businesses to maximise office space and resources. The idea of hot desking has now become a popular trend, especially in coworking spaces, where multiple workers share a workspace, resources, and facilities to save on costs. This concept has its advantages and disadvantages, and it is important to consider them before opting for a hot desking setup.

Who is hot desking for?

Hot desking can be beneficial for a variety of individuals and organisations, including:

Self-employed workers

A hot desk can be an excellent solution for self-employed workers who need a workspace but do not require a permanent office. It allows them to have access to all necessary amenities and infrastructure, such as high-speed internet, printing facilities, and meeting room hire, without having to commit to a long-term lease.

Enterprise companies

For larger companies, hot desking can be an efficient use of space, reducing the need for individual desks and offices. It can also encourage collaboration and communication among employees who may not normally interact in a more traditional office layout.

Hybrid workers

As more companies prefer hybrid workplaces, hot desking can be an effective way to provide employees with a workspace when they need it, while also accommodating remote teams. The hot desking model allows employees to work from home when they want to but still have a place to come in and work when needed.

Distributed teams

Companies with distributed teams may find hot desking to be a useful solution, providing team members with a coworking space to work when they are in the same location.

Suggested Reading: What is a Virtual Office? Who it’s for & Top Benefits

The advantages of hot desking

The advantages of hot desking

Hot desking has several advantages that make it an attractive option for both employees and employers. Here are some of the key advantages:

Flexible work environment

Hot desking allows employees to work from different locations within the office, which can help them adapt to changing work requirements.

Increased collaboration

By working in close proximity to other team members, hot desking can help promote collaboration and knowledge-sharing.


Hot desking can be a cost-effective solution for companies as it allows them to use coworking spaces more efficiently, reducing the need for dedicated desks and offices.

Improved productivity

Hot desking can help improve productivity as employees are able to work in an environment that suits their needs and preferences.

Better use of technology

Hot desking can also help improve the use of technology as employees can easily access the necessary equipment and resources they need to perform their work.

Better use of shared resources

Hot desking can help reduce waste and promote the efficient use of shared resources such as printers, meeting rooms, and other office equipment.

Better employee engagement

Hot desking can help improve employee engagement in an office environment as it promotes a sense of community and encourages employees to interact with each other on a regular basis.

The disadvantages of hot desking

There are some potential disadvantages to hot desking that organisations and employees should consider before implementing this system.

Possibility of disruption

Hot desking can lead to interruptions and distractions that can negatively impact productivity.

Absence of structure

Hot desking may lead to a lack of structure, making it difficult for some employees to stay organised and on-task.

A diminished sense of belonging

With hot desking, individuals may not feel as connected to their workspace or company culture.

Concerns about hygiene and health

Sharing workspaces and equipment can increase the risk of germs and illness, particularly in the era of COVID-19.

Less team rapport and communication

Hot desking can make it more difficult for team members to form close working relationships and develop a sense of camaraderie. With people constantly moving around, it can be harder to get to know your colleagues, which may lead to less collaboration and communication.

Desk hogging or squatting

Some people may try to claim a personal desk or personal space, even if they’re not using it. This can lead to frustration and conflict among team members, especially if certain individuals feel like they’re being left out or excluded from the available workspaces.

Lack of availability and adaptability

Hot desking can also be problematic if there aren’t enough workstations to go around or if people are unable to find a suitable space to work. This can be particularly challenging if the available desks aren’t properly equipped or if they’re too noisy or distracting for certain types of work.

Discrimination against those with disabilities

Hot desking can also create barriers for people with disabilities or mobility issues, as they may struggle to navigate unfamiliar workspaces or may find it difficult to access certain amenities or equipment especially if a coworking space is not inclusive to people living with disabilities. This can lead to feelings of frustration and isolation, which can impact job satisfaction and productivity.

It’s important to weigh the potential drawbacks against the benefits of hot desking to determine if it’s the right approach for your organisation.

How to know if hot desking is right for you

How to know if hot desking is right for you

Hot desking may not be the best fit for everyone. Here are some factors to consider when deciding if hot desking is right for you:

Personal work style

If you require privacy or quiet to focus, hot desking may not be ideal for you. However, if you prefer a social and collaborative environment, hot desking may be a good fit.

Health concerns

If you have health concerns, such as allergies or a weak immune system, you may want to consider the risks of sharing a workspace with others before committing to hot desking.

Equipment and storage needs

If you require specialised equipment or materials that are not easily portable, hot desking may not be practical for you. Similarly, if you need a lot of storage space for personal items, hot desking may not be the best option.

Availability of workspace

If you find it difficult to secure a hot desk due to high demand or a limited number of desks available, it may not be practical for you.

Schedule flexibility

If you need a predictable and structured work routine, hot desking may not be the best fit. However, if you have a flexible schedule and enjoy variety in your work environment, hot desking may be a good option.

Overall, it is important to consider your personal needs and work style when deciding if hot desking is right for you.

Suggested Reading: How to Choose a Coworking Space (14 Important Things to Check)

Ideal work setups for a hot desking system

Hot desking can be an effective system for organisations that have a mobile workforce, where employees are often out of the office for private meetings or fieldwork. It can also work well for companies that have a high number of remote workers or freelancers who only need occasional office desks.

Hot desking is also effective for companies with limited office space, as it allows for more employees to share a smaller workspace. It can be particularly beneficial for startups and small businesses that need to keep costs low and increase flexibility.

Additionally, hot desking can work well in situations where employees have different schedules, such as those working in shift-based industries or in organisations that operate across different time zones. In these situations, hot desking can help ensure that there is always someone available to cover a desk or work area.

Overall, the success of a hot desking system depends on the specific needs and circumstances of an organisation. It may not be the best fit for every company, but for those that can benefit from increased flexibility and cost savings, hot desking can be a valuable option.

Keep Reading: 27 Surefire Ways to Improve Cash Flow For Small Businesses

Try hot desking at Mobo Co

If you’re considering hot desking, give Mobo Co a try. Our hot desk spaces come equipped with all the necessary features and services, including bookable meeting rooms, printing facilities, and high-speed internet. The common areas, kitchens, and bathrooms are well-maintained and provide a comfortable environment for getting work done.

What you’ll get – Amenities at Mobo Co

Here are Mobo Co’s features and services for hot desk spaces:

  • Plug and play workspaces
  • On-site cafe and dining
  • Meeting and boardroom access
  • On-site support staff
  • Air-conditioning
  • Kitchen and amenities
  • Printing and copying services
  • High-speed WiFi
  • Basement parking
  • Concierge service
  • Flexible membership plans
  • Reception services
  • Access to public transport

Note that some hot desking spaces may offer additional features or services, while others may not provide all of these amenities. It’s important to research and compare different hot desking options to find one that best suits your needs.

If you’re in need of a flexible and affordable workspace, consider trying out Mobo Co’s hot desking options. Book a tour at Mobo Co today.