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Are People Who Hot Desk More Productive?

A hot desk workspace has several productivity benefits, including encouraging employee collaboration, promoting activity and movement, and improving concentration levels. However, if hot desking is carried out poorly, it can disrupt the working environment and damage productivity levels. We’ll cover more about hot desking and whether it can drive productivity levels in this post.

Are People Who Hot Desk More Productive?

Workplace flexibility has always affected employee productivity and the general office experience. Flexible working involves giving employees greater control of their environment, which can help improve productivity levels.

Flexible working has been in place for a while but the events in 2020 sped up these debates, leaving flexible working as an option for every employee within a company. Some of these practices include flexitime, hybrid working, and hot desking.  

A hot desk workspace is an increasingly popular modern workplace solution, but what is hot desking? 

Hot desking is a workplace seating arrangement where workers can book a desk for use anytime during their working day. Rather than having assigned desks, employees have first-come first-served access to available workspaces. 

Flexible workspaces seem like a good idea, but we need to question whether they actually drive productivity levels. 

So, are people who hot desk more productive?

The answer is yes - as long as hot desking is executed well.

What Are Hot Desks?

Hot desking is a system where employees don’t have appointed desks within a workplace. Office hot desks can be accessed and booked by every worker. 

Hot desks are ideal in a hybrid working scenario where ⅓ employees work from the office on Wednesday, while ¼ workers use the office on Friday. 

Designated workspaces won’t work here as up to 60% of desk spaces won’t be used within the work week. This wastes lots of business space and money.

Hot desking generally means that businesses won’t need lots of working desks for their staff.

For instance, if 45% of 100 workers use the office on Wednesday, you could rent 60 desk spaces, instead of 100 for each employee. 

This can have major economic gains as businesses save on furniture, renting spaces, and energy usage. It’s estimated that hot desking can save on the expense of running an office by as much as 30%

A woman sat at a work desk using her desktop computer. Hot desking means that employees don’t have appointed desks within a workplace. Office hot desks can be accessed and booked by every employee. 

Hot Desking Drawbacks 

Despite the financial benefits, hot desking does have some issues, particularly when the system is implemented poorly. Examples include:

  • Harder to find employees and team members within the office
  • No personal ownership over coworking spaces
  • Employees competing to access certain desks

As these hot desk disadvantages primarily affect employees, rather than the top-level of businesses, does hot desking actually improve worker efficiency? Are people who hot desk more productive? 

Are People Who Hot Desk More Productive?

Research shows that some employees do like hot desking as a scheme. According to Verdict, 54% of office employees believe hot desking makes the workplace more inviting, while 46% of employees report that hot desking increased their productivity output.

So, what are the factors driving hot desking productivity? 

Here are some of the reasons why hot desk employees may be more productive:

1. Encourages Employee Collaboration 

Hot desking encourages people from different companies and teams to work together.

In both private offices and designated co-working spaces, this collaboration forms a diverse group of professional workers. This relationship can create new opportunities where fresh investors, clients, or partners are introduced via hot desking. 

This 2018 study on coworking spaces claims that physical coworking spaces are useful in creating connections between innovators, entrepreneurs, and startups. The paper says that this was attained via deliberate workspace design, aka shared workspaces. 

Rather than waiting for creativity to strike at a dedicated workspace, hot desking gives employees flexibility as they can work in inspiring, new environments. Hot desking settings naturally promote social interaction as workers are exposed to people they might not have encountered before. 

Creating new ideas occurs naturally when you’re around different people. According to The University of Bath, being open to new people and experiences fosters creativity, and can trigger fresh, innovative ideas. 

By sitting in different office spaces during the workweek, employees have greater chances to work alongside a diverse group of coworkers. A hot desk workspace can harbour original ideas as people expose themselves to new perspectives, working on projects outside their typical work circle.

Several employees working alongside each other at their desks, in an open plan office.Rather than waiting for creativity to strike at a dedicated workspace, hot desking gives employees flexibility as they can work in inspiring, new environments.

2. Promotes Concentration and Focus

Being able to choose your workspace depending on your needs may help improve focus levels. 

A study from the University of California found that employees are interrupted every 11 minutes and can only resume their tasks after 25 minutes. This adds up, taking valuable time away from work tasks during the day. 

Employees looking to focus on their work can choose a hot desk workspace that delivers everything they, and their team members, may need. A hot desk close to a charging station, printers, or tea and coffee amenities can help prevent valuable time lost throughout the day. 

Hot desking allows workers to choose their own desk depending on how they work best. A study from UCL looked at a classroom setting and found that natural light exposure increased academic performance

Research from the University of Exeter also found that employees who worked in a setting decorated with green plants were more productive than those who worked in bare spaces. 

If an employee feels they would work better at a desk near office supplies, around plant life, or in a brighter environment, they can choose a desk that meets their needs. This can improve employee happiness, which can increase overall concentration levels

However, this may be a double-edged sword, as workers may compete to gain ‘the best’ working setting. If employees begin to argue over the most popular hot desk workspace, this can hinder focus instead of improving productivity. 

To prevent this, companies should implement sufficient booking procedures so employees can book hot desks fairly and easily. 

At Tramshed Tech, we have a range of coworking and hot desking solutions for you and your team. With spaces in Cardiff, Barry, Newport, and Swansea, you can book a hot desk space easily through our booking page

Our spaces are buzzing with welcoming, productive, and constructive energy. With useful amenities like free tea and coffee, high-speed internet, and printing facilities, you don’t have to worry about losing focus throughout the day. 

3. Improves Wellbeing and Activity Levels

Using the same desk every day can promote sedentary behaviour, along with it’s additional health risks. Hotdesking promotes regular movement within the office as people explore different workstations. 

For example, an employee may book a hot desk workspace in a lounge area during the morning, have a team meeting in a private room after midday, and finish their work at a collaborative coworking space in the afternoon. 

The variety of choices encourages employees to change working spots and take sufficient breaks during the day. Michigan State University claims this can lower stress, improve mental health, and help improve employee well-being.  

Hot desking can lead to tidier workspaces which has a positive influence on employee wellbeing. Clean, de-cluttered environments can benefit mental health, as tidy environments promote calm, happiness, and relaxation. 

As workers understand they will be moving desks during the work week, they won’t let mess and clutter build around their workplace. Hot desking helps employees maintain an organised, tidy workstation easily.

Research from Princeton University’s Neuroscience Institute suggests that as the human brain responds to order well, messy desks can drive a lack of focus. The research also claims that removing desk clutter can help people process data better, improving productivity as a result. 

In addition to improving employee well-being, a clutter-free hot desk workspace can strengthen morale, reduce distractions, and improve overall productivity levels

People walking through an office.Hotdesking promotes regular movement within the office as people explore different workstations. 

How To Implement Hot Desking Well

It’s clear that hot desking does have its advantages but it’s not without its faults. 

As mentioned earlier, issues like competition over certain desks, no comfort over a personal workstation, and difficulty locating people within the office are all examples of hot desk workspace issues. 

With this in mind, here are some things companies can do to implement hot desking successfully and maintain a positive working environment

1. Begin Slowly

Instead of adding hot desks throughout your company, carry out hot desking slowly so you can see what works and what doesn’t. 

For instance, try hot desks with one work department, or add hot desks onto one floor within your building. Gather employee feedback as you go and see if it has helped improve productivity, morale, and creativity levels. 

2. Have Multiple Workspace Solutions

Everyone is different, so while some people like working at a hot desk workspace, others might prefer a typical co-working office environment. 

Give your employees several workspace arrangements to suit their needs. In addition to hot desks, bookable meeting spaces and co-working office spaces that foster communication will cater to a variety of employee needs. 

An open floor office plan with multiple workstations. Multiple workstations contribute to why are people who hot desk more productive. In addition to hot desks, bookable meeting spaces and co-working office spaces that foster communication will cater to a variety of employee needs.

3. Make Booking Hot Desks Easy

Hot desking aims to improve productivity, but may not do so if employees find it hard to book a hot desk workspace. 

Hot desking needs decent technology software that allows employees to design their work schedules and book desks easily. 

There we have it! We hope this post helped answer why are people who hot desk more productive. 

We are Tramshed Tech: a startup ecosystem home to 50+ companies ranging from pre-revenue start-ups to scaling businesses with 600+ registered members from the digital, creative and tech communities. 

We’re currently based in Grangetown, Cardiff Central & Newport, Barry and Swansea. If you’re interested in joining us at any of our locations, please don’t hesitate to get in touch

Written by Rosh for Tramshed Tech



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