Hot Desking, The Pros and Cons

A modern office phenomenon, hot desking isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it does offer some clear benefits. Firstly, it can reduce office costs by around 30 per cent and lead to a more efficient work place – but there is some debate about whether it’s good for staff morale.

Change is always unsettling and if you are considering introducing hot desks in your office, be aware that you may face some stiff resistance. Consider starting off with an optional hot desk area. This will slowly introduce the concept to your staff and limit the chances of open rebellion.

Here are some more top tips on how to make a successful move to a hot-desking workspace…

Explain The Benefits

The benefits are not just cost cutting. Having a more fluid workspace will encourage communication and offer people the opportunity to get to know their colleagues better and learn more about other aspects of the business. By explaining this from the get-go should elicit a more enthusiastic response.

Some advantages of hot desking are:

  • An open-plan office layout can be more efficient & less hierarchical
  • A tidier, clutter free environment
  • Done right, hot desking can help improve employee productivity and satisfaction
  • Sitting with different people every day can build bonds across the whole company rather than in a single department
  • Staff can learn new skills from new work neighbours
  • In some offices, more than half of desks go unused all week
  • An assigned desk is a waste of both space & money for staff who are out of the office on a regular basis
  • More staff can work remotely from home, adding flexibility for employees

Provide Other Personal Spaces For Your Office Staff

If, like most hot desking offices, you are not also able to provide dedicated desks, then make sure employees have other options for their personal items in work.

Many people are attached to their personal belongings and want to have somewhere to store snacks, photos, stationary etc. but hot desking works best when workspaces are depersonalised, clutter free and people clean up after themselves when vacating ‘their’ desk for the day. Consider offering wheely pedestals, lockers or shelves for personal effects.

Have a Consistent Hot Desking Policy

With no ground rules set out for how your hot desking is going to work, the office can feel a bit like a free-for-all environment. And that’s only ever going to lead to trouble.

So, decide on a hot desking policy and make sure you and your staff adhere to it.

Answer questions such as:

  • Is every free desk available to any member of staff at any time?
  • Do office staff need to book a desk in advance?
  • Do cleaners tidy the workspaces or should all staff clean up after themselves?
  • Are personal items allowed at workspaces?


As we mentioned, a good hot-desking policy will put the onus on staff to clear their desk at the end of every day. They might remove all their possessions, but they are unlikely to dust and clean the desk. With shared workspace, desks need sanitising more often, but with a clear desk policy, cleaning is easier, quicker and more thorough.

If you’re considering implementing hot desking, speak to your cleaning contractor so that they can adjust the cleaning regime accordingly.