The Hot Desking Trend–and How to Survive It

Here’s a scary thought: You don’t have a desk of your own and an anonymous bot is tracking your moves at work, dictating where you will sit.  This tech-takeover might sound familiar because hot desking is a hot new trend that’s caught on across the country. Basically, hot desking means working at shared desks and workspaces. And while it might sound intimidating at first, there are some pluses–and some minuses.

Hot Desking Defined

According to the word wizards at Wikapedia, “Hot desking is an office organization system which involves multiple workers using a single physical work station or surface during different time periods.”  In other words, workers share a table or workstation rather than having a personal desk. Our question? Where do you put the adorable photo of your niece, your favorite hand lotion and stash of emergency trail mix?  Read on.

What’s So Hot About Hot Desking

Fans of this free-range approach to office design say that by eliminating desks and dividers, the entire office is the workspace. (Plus, by using this system, companies can also save a lot of money.)

Typically, staffers with laptops roam between shared tables, couches, and workstations.[1] However in some companies, you sit at a pre-assigned location based on patterns observed during the workday. (For example, you always choose to sit by a window or you tend to seek isolated locations.)  According to an article in Inc., hot desking encourages collaboration and innovation among co-workers and creates a family atmosphere. Plus, when you move around, rather than sitting in a chair eight hours a day, you may be healthier.

And Not So Hot

Sure, proponents of hot desking sing its praises, but not everyone is jumping on the bandwagon. As Ben Collins[2] points out in Business Insider, the idea of moving around and mingling sounds good but people still want their own spaces and often quickly claim choice spots as permanent locations. Plus, it can take a lot of time to set up every day. And even worse, hot desking can be a germ magnet, spreading illness faster than you can say, “Sorry, I have a cold.”

How to Make It Work for You

Whether you are a fan of hot desking or you still pine for your cubicle or private office, here are five tips to make this trend work for you:

  • Learn the rules. If management hasn’t made it clear how hot desking works in your office, speak up and find out.
  • Take the opportunity to get organized and reduce your files. Try to keep what you need on your laptop or stored in the Cloud.
  • Learn to focus. If you have trouble concentrating, consider earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones.
  • Create a small portable office with items you often use. Think paper, stapler, pens, etc. Find out where you can store your kit.
  • Pack hand sanitizer!

Give the gift of relaxation with a Spafinder Gift Card.

[1] Inc., “Inside the Latest Office-Design Craze: Hot Desking,” Flash Steinbeiser, Updated 2016
[2] Business Insider Australia, “Hot Desking’ Is A Big Trend — Here’s Why A Lot Of People Hate It,” Ben Collins, April 2013


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