19 April 2021
Curated by: Redazione IVM

Hot desking: a new way to experience the office

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Hot desking: what is it?

Hot desking is a completely new way of working in the office. It represents a system for the organisation of workspaces in which desks are not permanently assigned, but rather are used every day by different employees. Employees are not allocated a specific position and can choose where to sit on a daily basis. Furthermore, there is no formal booking system. Employees simply find a space to work in and make it their own for the day.

There are various advantages:

  • Maximised efficiency and use of physical space
  • Increased flexibility
  • Increased collaboration between employees
  • Innovative environment that leads to daily stimuli for employees
  • Increased employee involvement, satisfaction and productivity

In order to understand this new concept, we need to forget the classic concept of coming to the office and sitting in our “usual” own place.

With hot desking, there are no fixed places, and the traditional workspace is transformed.

This is undoubtedly an innovative and unprecedented conceptual change in working methods. Employees arriving in the office can therefore “reserve for the day” and choose whatever desk they want. They will be able to prefer a more brightly lit spot or a quieter corner if they have a particularly busy day. This can all be summed up with the concept of a “flexible workspace”.

Employees have a central role, as they decide how and where to work on a daily basis. This means that they will feel involved and more considered within the company. If employees can move freely within the office environment, they will be undoubtedly happier, and therefore the perceived quality of their work will, in turn, increase.


Exchanging ideas and skills

This working method can also be applied among different teams within an organisation, even if this requires precise organisation. Employees are generally used to always communicating with the same colleagues and may not even know their colleagues from other sectors.

However, thanks to hot desking, levels and departments become less important distinctions, leading to the creation of an innovative space for collaboration. Interfacing with a new colleague, perhaps with more experience or from another sector, is guaranteed to be beneficial as each person can bring their own experience, naturally favouring a reciprocal exchange of ideas.

Bringing together people from different areas of the company facilitates the exchange of undoubtedly differing skills, thus increasing productivity.


The relationship aspect of Hot Desking 

These modern spaces are principally aimed at generating new ideas that have positive effects on the actual productivity of the company, at the same time also allowing for better relations between colleagues and contributing to the creation of well-founded relationships in the office.

Why is the human-social factor so important? Companies are made of people, and people need to create relationships and be stimulated. By working with new colleagues every day, people are motivated, and this also creates a stimulating working environment that is never boring.

Another important aspect is that this system tends to make people more flexible. Over recent years, one of the soft skills most requested by companies is flexibility, and in this type of environment employees will become used to being increasingly flexible in their work.

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Trend or interesting work solution?

More than a momentary trend, hot desking is a veritable revolution, as it allows people to work where they want. This is why this method is used mainly by freelancers, but in recent years an increasing number of well-established businesses are looking to this new way of working in order to remain productive and connected.

Providing daily freedom to people increases their level of satisfaction and happiness, and also stimulates creativity. Remember: a happy company employee is a more productive employee. Therefore, the benefits are not only for the staff, but also for the company itself.

This is a modern and versatile way of working, because it is capable of bringing together the various personalities in a team, and also adapts to a range of tasks. The day-to-day situation in many companies is far removed from having all team members in place 8 hours a day. For example, an employee may occupy a desk in the morning, and be involved in meetings, calls or off-site meetings with a client in the afternoon. This means that there will be a lot more available places for those who need them, and the efficiency of space will be maximised.

In a CBRE survey carried out in 2018 concerning the theme of future solutions for agile working, 52% of leaders in the company real estate sector stated that they had planned to implement a certain level of unassigned workstations. 45% also stated that they were looking to re-invent traditional workspaces. The survey participants felt a strong need to improve efficiency and flexibility of their workspaces and employees, and in this period the Coronavirus factor has undoubtedly accelerated the process, underlying this need.


What type of companies is it suited to?

Being a concept that revolutionises the traditional way of seeing the office, it is undoubtedly suited to companies with a fresher and more innovative mindset. Furthermore, it is better applied to medium- and large-scale working situations, where there are a large number of employees and various company divisions.

Hot desking is therefore suitable for companies that support and promote new working methods, and that are clearly more flexible and less traditional.


The LEGO case

At this point, we would like to provide an illuminating example of a company that decided to re-invent itself and embrace innovation. The company in question is LEGO.

In the London, Singapore and Shanghai offices, the CEO of LEGO, Niels B. Christiansen, decided to implement a sub-category of hot desking: activity-based working (ABW).

The concept of ABW is characterised by the fact that each individual working area is designed to adapt to a particular role and activity. This solution offers spaces designed for each individual activity, according to what the employee is doing. As well as traditional workspaces, there are private, soundproof rooms for people who need to concentrate on their own. If, instead, an afternoon of meetings and presentations has been planned, a conference room can be reserved.

The aim is to ensure that employees are allowed to be as productive as possible by moving to spaces that are best suited to the work that they have to do.

These offices are the best expression of working environments that facilitate the generation of new ideas while at the same time saving physical space within an office.

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