More and more companies are using hot desking to make the most of the space but what is it and what do you need to know? With space coming at a premium in many offices and a rise in regular remote working, many workplaces are looking into hot desking as an option. But what exactly is hot desking and how do you prepare your office to make the most of it? What is hot desking? Essentially, hot desking is a system that sees people in the same office sharing desks rather than having permanent, assigned ones. It is a good option for workplaces where people work remotely on some days of the week or when team members spend less than 60% of their time at a desk during a typical workday. It can mean that an office needs less space and fewer desks, helping to save on costs. If you have team members with flexible schedules, you can set up a system where they share a desk as required with other team members. This means that you don’t need a desk per person and it is unlikely that you’ll have loads of empty desks throughout the day. However, for hot desking to work well, you need to ensure that your system is thought out and that people stick to it. Failing to enforce a specific system can mean that there are too many people and too few desks available at any one time. To help make sure your hot desking system works properly, here’s what you need to bear in mind: Desk reservations One of the most important parts of implementing a hot desking system is setting up a way of booking desks out. This will allow your team to book a desk on days and at times when they are in the office. A simple option is a physical schedule in your office, such as a wipe board, that shows which desk is assigned to whom at which times. It is worth noting though, that while this is an easy way to create a booking system, it isn’t always the best option. A booking whiteboard may not get updated, people can easily get rid of other’s reservations and it isn’t accessible outside of the office, so could result in desks being booked when they are no longer needed. A better option is to use software that allows people to book desks or a team calendar that shows who is in the office when and which desk they are using. These options are easily accessible both in and outside of the office and are much easier to keep up-to-date. Whatever reservation system you put in place, you must ensure that your team is fully trained on how to use it. This may mean reminding them regularly to add their bookings when the system is first introduced, but it should ultimately become second nature. Set “off-limits” desks Not every desk in your office needs to be used for hot desking. In fact, you’ll probably have a few desks that do need to be assigned to individual people if they are always in the office or if they have health requirements. It is a good idea to create an office floorplan map that clearly shows where the desks are, what they are each called and which ones are off-limits. You may even want to set up a spare desk in case someone doesn’t book or has to come into the office unexpectedly to ensure there are always enough workspaces. Provide assigned storage When you have a permanent desk, you tend to find that it soon ends up being used for storage as well as work. From stationery to equipment you need throughout the day and even snacks, your desk is unlikely to remain empty for long. Obviously, when you employ hot desking in your office, this isn’t going to work, as you don’t want everyone’s belongings spread out all over the place. Instead, you need to consider what storage options might work. It can be a good idea to provide assigned, secure storage for your team, so they are able to keep things they’re likely to need to hand in the office. Personal storage lockers are a great option, as you can get various sizes to fit in your office and are able to provide each employee with their own lockable storage. Desk rules As well as rules around booking desks, you should also put some in place around desk etiquette. After all, no one wants to come into work and find that someone is using the desk they’ve booked or that the previous occupant has left it a mess. Ensure your rules cover what happens if you haven’t booked, if you need to be in the office for longer than anticipated, how you should leave a desk and where personal items need to be kept. Make these rules clear but also provide everything people will need to keep to the rules, such as a clear booking system and cleaning products for the desks. Even something as easy as providing antibacterial cleansing wipes for each individual desk can help encourage people to leave desks clean and tidy. The downsides of hot desking While there are a lot of benefits to hot desking, with reduced office and furniture costs being the main one, there are some downsides you need to consider. Hot desking can make it hard to build team rapport and collaboration as you’ll never get the full team in the office at once. If you want to ensure everyone can get to know each other, it might be a good idea to plan regular team events or provide a breakout area that allows you to have a weekly or bi-weekly full team meeting. It is also worth considering how hot desking works during cold and flu season, as it is much easier to spread germs and illnesses when multiple people are sharing the same desk. While cleaning products and desk rules can help, you’ll need to consider whether people are high risk and may need assigned desks or if you need to update rules around working remotely when ill. Although hot desking can help you make the most of available space, it can make things more complicated as your business grows. You may find that you don’t have enough desks even for part-time use when more people join your team. At this point, it is worth considering whether a larger office a bench desk system for multiple people is a better option. Final steps Whether hot desking seems right for your workspace or you’d rather create a layout using fully assigned desks, you need to make sure you have the right furniture and office set up. If you need help finding the best desks for your space or planning your office, we’re the experts so get in touch! From bulk furniture orders to product recommendations and full office refits, we can help you get the best results however you work.