Recruiting, Technology

Hot Desking is Heating Up the Return-to-Office Conversation

With the pandemic in the rearview mirror, the majority (66%) of workers are reporting that they’re back in the office full-time. Organizations are scrambling to find ways to cut costs and optimize their workspaces, but some previously lauded solutions are proving ineffective.

hot desking

One such nullified solution is hot desking.

Though once viewed as a paragon of cost-savings and flexibility, hot desking is now understood to be a time-waster for employees. Leaders are left struggling to find a balance between providing seating flexibility for their employees and maximizing employees’ time and space utilization.

The Dilemma of Hot Desking: An Efficiency Paradox

Hot desking gained prominence with the promise of providing employees with a more collaborative and flexible alternative to assigned seating in the office, and the technique’s popularity has risen in recent years. According to The Gensler Research Institute, in 2020, only 10% of office workers reported having unassigned workspaces, but by 2022, that number had almost doubled to 19%.

However, despite the promises and popularity, hot desking doesn’t deliver and, in fact, can be detrimental to employees. For example, employees are now wasting up to two weeks per year simply trying to find a free desk in the office. Another survey found that hot deskers waste an average of 18 minutes every day just looking for somewhere to work.

In addition to its inefficiencies, hotdesking frustrates many employees.

Some dislike not having a specified space to call their own in the office. Every day, employees have to pack up their pens, papers and sticky notes rather than being able to leave them in their own designated area. Because they’re likely working from a different place every day, hot deskers can’t display family pictures, have a plant at their desk or otherwise personalize their space.

Finally, some employees even say connecting and collaborating with coworkers is more difficult because they have to search for others throughout the office rather than finding them at one specific place.

The Solution: Technology to the Rescue

Despite the downfalls of hot desking, there is a way to mitigate some challenges: indoor mapping technology.

An indoor mapping platform can integrate with other systems already in place and allow workers to book desks or meeting spaces ahead of time, drastically cutting down on the time it takes to reserve a spot. However, about a fifth of employees report lacking tools such as indoor mapping that would make flexible work arrangements like hot desking easy and productive.

For hot desking to succeed, it’s imperative that organizations invest in the tools and tech infrastructure that facilitate this flexible work arrangement. Advanced indoor mapping technology allows employees to instantly locate available desks that meet their preferences — be it near windows for natural light, in quiet zones for focused work or alongside certain teams. Equipping staff with an interactive office map on their computers and mobile devices eliminates the daily hunt for a spot, along with frustrations around accidentally taking someone else’s seat.

By committing resources to technologies purpose-built for fluid work environments, companies can realize the intended benefits of hot desking — more efficient real estate and stronger collaboration — while avoiding the pitfalls of poor execution, like lower employee satisfaction.

Tools exist to support the workplace flexibility workers want and businesses need, and it is up to organizational leaders to prioritize investments in these critical technologies.

Morten Brøgger has many years of leadership experience from multiple prominent SaaS businesses, including Wire, Huddle, and the globally leading Mobile Roaming Clearing company, MACH. Morten’s positions in international companies reflect several years he has spent in Switzerland, Luxembourg, and in recent years, the USA. As CEO of MapsPeople, he returns to a top position in a Danish-based company where he is the head of the market-leading provider of indoor mapping.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *