Is Your Facility Ready for Hot Desking?Open floor plans, hybrid, and the remote work culture are changing how the modern workplace operates. While these trends were gaining traction before the onset of Covid-19, the pandemic accelerated and, in some cases, mandated their adoption.

A new trend, “hot desking,” is becoming a staple of the modern post-Covid workplace. Hot desking is an alternative approach to physical office space management that allows employees to sit at any available desk instead of having one permanently assigned. Eliminating the need to dedicate desk space to every individual allows for easy project collaboration and supports the scheduling flexibility common in the hybrid workplace. While hot desking offers many benefits for organizations and employees alike, is also inevitably leads to uneven facility use and unpredictable onsite staff numbers, which can present a challenge. Consider the following implications of hot desking for your facility.

Janitorial and Commercial Cleaning

Unlike the traditional office setting with a fixed seating layout, employees constantly shift from one desk to another under hot desking. This movement and inconsistency in utilization can present unique challenges for janitorial and commercial cleaning staff. For example, hot desking can increase the risk of cross-contamination as multiple people may use the same desks or workstations throughout the day. While the risk of viruses spreading from touching surfaces is low, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends increasing the frequency of cleaning and using EPA-registered disinfectants and cleaning products in high traffic areas.

To address these challenges, you might consider hiring a professional janitorial or commercial cleaning company with the knowledge and a proven track record of maintaining and cleaning complex high-traffic work environments. Having an experienced commercial cleaning and facility services company like Marsden Services provides confidence that the proper protocols will be put in place to address hot-desking, allowing you to focus on other pressing facility management priorities. You should also evaluate and implement personal sanitation and cleaning processes that people must perform as they rotate workstations throughout the day.

Building Security and Safety Considerations

While sharing desks creates greater facility utilization, it can create safety and security challenges within your facility. Giving up a dedicated desk eliminates a private and secure place to store personal items and valuables, increasing the potential for theft or loss as people transition to different workstations throughout the day. Hot desking also creates challenges in locating individuals and monitoring a workplace in an emergency. And with individuals coming in and out of the facility on a regular basis and at different times throughout the day, it can be a challenge to monitor who is entering the facility and to be sure they have permission to be in the building. To address these challenges, your building security staff may need to increase the use of technology or foot patrols to keep your facility and its occupants secure.

Building Capacity and Layout

One of the benefits of hot desking is that a smaller facility can be used for a team that would need to work in a larger space if everyone had an assigned desk space. However, this poses a challenge if all the employees are trying to work from the facility at the same time. If desk space is unavailable or the environment becomes overcrowded, it can lead to employee frustrations. Consider implementing a scheduling system where employees can reserve space and see how many desks are currently available.

Open and flexible environments are perfect for some job functions and a significant impediment for others. Hot desking can foster communication and collaboration, but it can also lead to unexpected interactions and distractions that hinder productivity. Consider setting up conference spaces where employees can collaborate without disturbing their colleagues, especially during busy times. Also consider having quiet zones and private meeting areas, where individuals can take phone calls or participate in virtual meetings.

Hot Desking Key Facility Management Considerations

With hot-desking gaining traction in today’s workplace, facility managers can maximize office space availability and reduce operational costs. It allows employees to move freely between different work environments to meet increased communication and collaboration demands. Hot desking’s success will depend on how well the approach is managed and what practices are in place to keep the workspace safe, healthy, and clean.

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