How to Create a Hot Desking Policy [+template]

With more and more companies adopting the hybrid work model and adjusting their office space to employees' needs, hot-desking has become one of the most popular workplace strategies in the business world.

Hot desking facilitates remote work, helps employees optimize how they work, and makes companies more flexible in supporting their workers and saving money at the same time. But on the other hand, it requires some guidance and rules for employees.

What is hot desking?

Hot desking is a modern workplace practice where employees don’t have dedicated desks and workspaces. Instead, everyone can use any desk that is available - kind of like an on-demand workstation.

Simply put, when you arrive on-site, you find an open seat, plug in your laptop, and occupy it until you’re done with your tasks. When you leave, another person can sit there and work. Hot desking works both for in-office employees who need to book desks for a day and remote companies using flexible workspaces for their workers.

Why companies use hot desks

Hot desking is beneficial for companies for several reasons. First of all, hot desking is one of the ways to provide workspaces to remote employees and help them connect with coworkers on their own terms.

Additionally, in a hybrid workplace, employees don’t have the need for a specific desk, as they don’t want to come into the office every day. When they use workstations on a first-come-first-served basis, they help companies reduce their real estate spending. Cost savings on real estate are significant in remote and hybrid companies and let companies divert those resources to employee engagement, productivity, and retention efforts.

What is a hot desking policy?

Despite the flexibility of the hot desking concept, companies using it need rules to make it work, and the best way to do so is through a well-thought-out policy. Employees need help navigating floor plans, availability, and desk hoteling, and that’s the reason every company needs a policy document as a useful employee resource.

If we have embraced flexible work, is a hot desking policy necessary?

It sure is. A simple list of dos and don'ts will ensure every employee has access to a workstation when needed and within a particular time frame. Remember, the lack of rules could cause disagreement and conflict between employees, and you may end up with additional issues to resolve.

Best practices in creating a hot desking policy

Before diving into the creation of your own policy, make sure you nail the basics and figure out the details of your desk-sharing arrangement, such as:

  • Will employees be using hot desk space in a traditional office or as part of a flexible working arrangement?
  • What is the number of desks available to each team?
  • Is there additional work equipment in your hot desking area, like monitors and keyboards?
  • If you have a remote work policy, how does it relate to the hot desking policy?
  • Will employees have access to other workspace areas, like lockers, kitchens, and meeting rooms as well?

Hashing out the details of your entire workplace strategy helps both People and Human Resources teams who need to create an efficient policy and employees who want clear guidelines on their work arrangements.

Need a hot desking policy template? We made a simple template you can start with and expand as you need to - download it HERE.

The basic elements of a hot desking policy

We are talking about a pretty straightforward document, a list of rules everyone should follow for desk booking. Still, it is not mandatory to call it a policy or rule. It is not the form that matters but the content.

Now, let's see what your policy should include.

First, write an introduction

Write a brief introduction explaining why you find such a policy necessary and what you believe it brings to the team. Setting the goals and purpose of the policy early on helps employees understand why it exists in the first place and how to make the best of it.

Explain how booking works

Next, choose a booking software that's easy to use and meets your business needs and introduce it to your team members. Your choice will likely depend on the number of locations your employees are in, especially if your team is distributed.

Pay attention to the workflow employees have when booking a desk — you don’t want to burden them with a complicated process. To boost the adoption of your workspace usage, the hot desking system should be straightforward and easy to use.

List out the responsibilities

Depending on your policy and booking software, employee responsibilities will differ. In some cases, employees will need to cancel bookings by a certain cut-off time to make sure others can use the workstation, while in others, you will have housekeeping rules for them to abide by.

From rules for a pleasant work environment to personal items, make sure to list all use cases and requirements so employees can see and understand them easily. In the end, list out the contact of office managers or facility leaders employees can reach out to for questions and help.

Designated spaces for different activities

To conclude your policy, give a list of all available workspaces to employees. For instance, a phone booth is more suitable for phone calls and online meetings than an open space. And meetings should be held in conference rooms to avoid distracting other employees in the space.

In addition to available desks, let employees know which other areas are at their disposal so that they can plan their workday better.

Is hot desking the future of your company?

If you are still wondering whether hot desking is a solution worth considering, we'll have something that may encourage you.

Some of the most successful companies globally, including Microsoft and Square, have embraced hot desking. It doesn't matter how young your business is or how big your team is; you can adjust this concept according to your needs.

Schedule Your Workplace Policy Session

We’re excited to hear your policy, show you how others are tackling challenges are doing, and give you practical advice.
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Andrea Rajic