Businesses are changing. The emergence of teleworking in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic has forced even the most conservative companies to change not only the way we work, but also the spaces in which we work. Initially, this transformation was motivated by necessary social distancing measures, but it’s now consolidating out of conviction. If we’ve learned anything during these months, it’s that we can work from anywhere, but at the same time we have realised the priceless value of the office as a place to meet and socialise.
In this article we will delve into the characteristics of this new hybrid system between remote and face-to-face work and the way in which companies are adapting their spaces to this mixed way of working called hot desking.
What are hot desking spaces and why is it a model of flexible working?
Among these transformations are the so-called hot desking spaces, a model of flexible working that does away with fixed workstations in companies and favours the use of shared desks and an open environment that encourages personal relationships.
You book a place, take your backpack or briefcase, arrive at the office and log on. When the day is over, you pick up your stuff and leave. That’s how hot desking works. No one occupies a fixed desk or has their own drawers; they settle into their pre-reserved place and start working.
“Hot desking allow greater freedom to choose in which space we want to work”
The hot desking model enables all information to be on the cloud, and employees to access it through digital tools. And what about meetings? Everything is done within the same application; rooms are booked online for the time the employee requires and the number of people needed.
In addition, they’re usually equipped so that attendees who are teleworking can participate comfortably, with screen systems, cameras and mixed reality tools that allow them to participate in face-to-face activities in an inclusive way.
What are the benefits of this flexible working model?
Telework was the lifeline that prevented the widespread shutdown of many companies during the pandemic and showed that it’s an efficient and realistic alternative to face-to-face work. However, it has shown us that people are social beings who need contact with others. The concept of hot desking spaces captures this new workplace scenario, where offices are not just a place to perform specific, individual functions, but open, flexible environments that foster relationships between colleagues and the exchange of ideas, thus helping to forge a more robust company culture, something that teleworking is not always able to achieve.
“We have realized the incalculable value of the office as a place for meeting and socializing”
This new hotspot model sees the office as an increasingly socially-oriented place where employees enjoy greater freedom to choose where they work as well. It leaves behind the 20th century idea of companies as rigid, grey, cubicle-divided areas, opting for open-plan, minimalist spaces instead.
But the benefits of the hot desking model go further, with perks for both employees and the company, as well as for the environment.
Benefits of hot desking for employees:
- One of the most attractive advantages is that you choose daily where you fancy working. If you need a breath of fresh air, maybe today is the day to book one of the garden stations.
- Changing desks daily allows you to meet new colleagues every day, which translates into freedom and social culture. It also improves social interaction between employees from different departments, an aspect that telecommuting or even the fixed workspace model leaves completely unattended.
- Numerous studies have linked hotspots to increased innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship.
Benefits of hot desking for companies:
- According to a study by Zenefits, 73% of employees report that their companies’ flexibility measures increased their job satisfaction, and 78% of employees say they’re also more productive because of them.
- Allowing employees to work wherever they want, be it from home, from a coffee shop or at an available desk in the office, reduces the need for hundreds and hundreds of square metres. Allowing them to choose where they work from means smart facility management that also reduces overall costs.
Benefits of hot desking for the environment:
- This type of model is designed to combine remote and in-office working. This means that, every day, a certain percentage of employees will work from home. The less commuting to the office, the less vehicles will be emitting CO₂ on the roads and, in addition, the classic rush hour traffic jams will also be reduced.
- Another sustainability-related point promoted by hot desking is the gradual phase-out of paper. As no one has a fixed location, there will be no more accumulation of paper and more paper. Employees will have all the necessary documents available on the cloud, so having internet and a laptop will suffice.
Hot desking is much more than just a new way of organising offices. It’s a system that fosters communication, creativity and employee comfort. The pandemic has made us reflect on a new office model in which the hybrid format is proving that leveraging the best of face-to-face and teleworking can be the way forward.