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What is hotdesking and what are its benefits?
From lower overhead costs to better productivity, hot desking is getting increasingly popular. What is it? How does it work and who does it benefit? We answer these questions here.

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to a surge in demand for hot desking as office desks and spaces all over the world get less and less utilised. The hotdesk trend is becoming a more popular alternative as it is known as a cost-effective option as compared to traditional office desks. It is a fact - renting entire  spaces and buildings can be extremely expensive in Singapore. It is not surprising then that this has been a growing trend in Singapore.

The benefits are plenty, from cheaper overhead costs to greater flexibility and convenience and increased productivity. With so much buzz around hot desking, what really is it? How does it work and can it benefit freelancers, employers, and employees from every sector?

What is hotdesking?

Hot desking is a trend where companies, self-employed persons, and freelancers use non-assigned and available desks to work. A hotdesk can come in various sizes from for a single person to up to twelve persons or more.

They are usually rented out by coworking space service providers situated in various locations around the country. This allows workers to work wherever these hotdesk services are available and stay productive - away from the work-from-home and traditional office desk setting.

How different is hotdesking?

Hot desking is different from the conventional office desk in several ways. Instead of a dedicated workstation, workers have the freedom to choose where they wish to work, so long as there are available hotdesk services near them. Most importantly, this allows a person to enjoy a change of environment, where they can choose the ambiance they want to work in.

Hotdesking amenities

These spaces are also stacked with amenities that are essential for work. For example at Open Fields, some of the hotdesk amenities offered include a stable WiFi, dedicated electrical ports and charging points, color and black and white printing, photocopying, meeting room, clean bathrooms with shower facilities, storage cabinets for belongings, a pantry with snacks, coffee and tea, a fridge, toaster, and microwave. With access to these hotdesk facilities, users can have the peace of mind to get productive work done in a fresh space, complete with various amenities.

Common amenities in a hotdesk space

In this environment, it never gets lonely. There are plenty of opportunities for hotdesk users to get to know and collaborate with other professionals from various fields. The openness of such shared spaces is designed to enable networking and other spontaneous conversations to happen frequently. Hotdesk users also get access to private events within the space, and often enjoy special rates or concessions when attending these events.

What are the benefits of hotdesking?

Save on overhead costs

If you're an employer who is considering the hotdesk model for your employees, you will be glad to know that this helps to save overhead costs, especially the expenses incurred from real estate. Hot desking is not a free service and it starts at a cost of $18 a day and can go as high as $70 a day. Monthly packages are also available for additional savings. Compared to a single office cubicle space, the overall cost is usually cheaper.

Get to work faster

Hotdesk spaces are also conveniently located around the country, and workers can save some time commuting. They can easily reach their hotdesk workstations more quickly, whip out their laptop and start working.

Flexibility in working in different locations

Besides convenience, flexibility is one key benefit of hot desking as workers need not be committed and tied to one singular location for an extended period. Instead, they may choose to work at this one location for a week and move to another the next week. This gives them the freedom to choose where they like to work, whatever works best for them. Companies who have short projects might also choose to get away from the four walls of a traditional workspace and nest themselves for a period in a hot desking space with a completely different vibe.

Work in a more refreshing environment and increase productivity

A change in the environment also means that workers can deal away with office fatigue and lethargy, allowing them to do more productive work. A very unintended outcome of working in the same office for years with the same office management is that of workers being drained and uninspired. This state of dullness hinders them from creative and innovative work, decreasing overall work performance. Working at coworking spaces with hotdesks provides relief and the opportunity to have a get-away from the traditional office desk into a more refreshing work environment.

Collaborate with other professionals

As mentioned above, there are plenty of opportunities for collaboration to take place - from different teams in the same organisation to professionals from different organisations. Organic business relationships can be formed and thereafter business ideas and projects can be developed.

Plug-in to a community

More than just collaborating with other professionals, you may now form meaningful and lasting connections with a group of different people and be part of a new and fresh community that defines how they want the hotdesk workplace to be. These friendships can be largely motivating for you to do more productive work. Access to coworking offices with hotdesk services provides this opportunity.

Who is the hotdesk for?

Self-employed workers, freelancers, remote workers, startups

While the hotdesk seems to be a viable alternative to employers from virtually any field, it is typically best for self-employed workers, freelancers, and those working in startups. All these workers have flexible schedules and hot desking allows precisely for that. For these groups of people, setting up a designated office space is not feasible as they might be constantly on the go and might not always need to be in the office.  Coworking spaces also benefit them greatly as they get to connect with others and get access to a wider network of resources that they might find helpful. Should they wish to have more privacy in a virtual meeting, they may use the private meeting room as provided in the coworking office space as well.

Teams of short term enterprise workers

What about enterprise workers? Is the hotdesk for them? This is not as straightforward. Hot desking work as a strategy might make sense in the short term for them rather than the long term. Such spaces are typically used for short-term projects, where much internal collaboration is required and where a large event space, presentations, meeting rooms and conference rooms are needed facilities. In a focused environment with the flexibility to use the space however way they want, enterprises might opt-in for this.

‍Do a survey with your employees to find out

In fact, to ensure that this option might work best for you, consider doing a survey with your employees on their openness to working in an alternative environment. Let the results of the survey inform you on whether to go for hot desking.

Who is hotdesking NOT for? 

As these spaces are typically very open, those who are more used to desks found in a private offices might find the hot desking model a slight challenge, mainly in terms of privacy. For example, you might find yourself working at a large table with four other people you’ve never met.

Thankfully, most hot desking service providers come with more private space and tables that accommodate fewer people. For more private meetings and conversations, such hot desking spaces usually come with complimentary call booths and even meeting rooms (payable), to give users the extra privacy they need.

Coworking places usually also come with a private office option where they have a dedicated space and desk for workers who value and require privacy more.

The future of the workplace

With the pandemic and its ravaging impact on society at large, the concept of work has rapidly evolved, and so have people’s working styles and needs. Hot desking has been a trending concept for work and has been gaining much approval and appreciation from many corporations, freelancers, and entrepreneurs - especially at a time where WFH can get rather lonely. The reasons why multiple employees are making a move from office desks to hotdesks are clear: remote work need not be lonely.

Its rising success can perhaps be attributed to its flexibility and convenience - of not needing to be tied down to one specific work location. With any fresh concept, much allowance has to be given for transition and hot desking seems like it is securing a spot in this new normal.

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