What is Hot Desking

Hot desking is a method of working whereby the employee works in a temporary work station on an as-needed basis. Essentially one workstation is shared between people who use it at different times. The trend for hot desking began in the early 1990s, and one of the motivations behind its use was cost-reduction.

The term is thought to have originated from the term hot racking – which in naval language  denotes the system by which sailors share bunks by sleeping in shifts.


There are two key benefits:

  1. Space – By maximising the amount of people who use the same work stations, offices can reduce their size by up to 30% sometimes. This is because they will need less desk room, one of the most space consuming aspects of modern offices. This not only has a big impact on the bottom line, it can also go a long way towards making offices more environmentally friendly.
  2. Employee Autonomy – Hot desking can allow employees to be dynamic, enabling them to work more efficiently and with more confidence. This is because they have the flexibility to work where they need to, when they need to.
  3. Co-working – Hot desking also encourages employees to be more active in the way they work, something which can often increase interaction between various people in an institution. By doing so it can allow employees to interact with a greater variety of colleagues.

Viable Solution?

One would be hard pressed to deny the benefits of hot desking where employees are on the move and need the occasional place to work. But I’m interested to get your views on hot desking as a permanent work place solution beyond the mobile professional who rarely needs a set place to work.  Some companies like Microsoft and IBM have adopted this form of working in the past, but is it really a viable long term solution?

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One Comment
  1. Samuel Hochland May 29, 2013 at 9:05 am

    Some interesting points have been raised here. We’ve just published a Hot Desking article covering some additional angles which you can view by clicking on the following link.


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