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Putting hot desking in the hot seat

By Sandra Nistor

Are you sitting comfortably? Project manager Sandra Nistor asks the tough questions about hot desking and gives her honest take on how to make it work for everyone.

As with everything else in life (including GoT’s season 8), hot desking has its supporters and faultfinders. Everyone naturally has different preferences for how they spend their working day, whether that’s based on their role, personality type or individual needs.


Being seen as a more collaborative way of working that shakes up traditional office dynamics, the concept of hot desking is particularly appealing to Gen Y employees. As a result, more and more companies are embracing it, hoping to attract that younger talent. But it’s certainly not for everyone. So as a newcomer to this practice, I’m going to breakdown a few of the initial pros and cons that have struck me.


One obvious advantage is for those employees that don’t need to be in the office every day. For example, if you’re constantly jumping from meeting to meeting, it makes sense not to waste more time travelling back to a desk. For fans of minimalism, hot desking can also help to keep workspaces clear. Of course, keeping your desk tidy should be normalised as part of any setup. But for the more clutter-prone among us, it can be useful to get into the routine of cleaning up at the end of each day. Plus, those in more creative roles often say they get inspired by sitting in different environments. The same view all the time can lead to the same mindset, while the freedom to move around helps to spark new ideas.


But what about the cons? The biggest struggle is usually a lack of personal storage space, along with  not being able to personalise your desk. However, these could both be easily sorted by creating more storage areas and providing designated areas for people to display that personal photo or motivational quote. The IT department can also play a pivotal role in making sure that all desks are properly and fairly equipped. No matter where they sit, everyone should have everything they need for a productive day from the outset.


So going forward in this new hot desking world, my personal goal is to embrace the change and be adaptable enough to perform well in any environment. But I also believe employers need to be adaptable, too. They could work together with employees to find what works for them. Because a flexible seating arrangement should also leave space for flexible individual solutions.