Hot-Desk (unassigned seating) Survival Guide

Ok my friends, you know Hot-Desking has arrived and is here to stay when you search on Google and find that Hot-Desking has its own dictionary definition .. (pronunciation and all)

and that Hot-Desking (a verb now?) is an official Wikipedia topic.

What exactly is Hot-Desking?

According to Wikipedia, “Hot desking (sometimes called “non-reservation-based hoteling“) is an office organization system which involves multiple workers using a single physical work station or surface during different time periods.[1] The “desk” in the name refers to an office desk being shared by multiple office workers on different shifts as opposed to each staff member having their own personal desk. A primary motivation for hot desking is cost reduction through space savings—up to 30% in some cases.[2][3] Hot desking is especially valuable in cities where real estate prices are high.[4]

From a facilities and company financial standpoint, this makes sense.    However, Wikipedia also goes on to say: “Research has demonstrated that while there may be cost savings in office space hot desking has significant negative impacts on both productivity and staff morale[5].”

How Can You Make Hot-Desking Successful?

I want to be clear, there are many positives about Hot-Desking and as a nomadic worker myself I am no stranger to working wherever I find myself (client site, co-working spaces, hotels, cafes, airplanes – you get the idea).   Here are some tips to make this newest work environment work for you.

  1. Embrace It.  Someone asked me the other day where my office was and I pointed to my laptop, iPad and phone.  I admit, at first when I embraced this life of travel, consulting and working on the go, I found it stressful.  But then I realized that as long as I had my work tools and my brain and stayed very organized, I could do my work just about anywhere.  There’s a great amount of freedom that comes with Hot-Desking which helps the day stay interesting and worked to your advantage, can actually make you more productive.
  2. Plan Ahead.  In order to make Hot-Desking successful and up your productivity, it is critical for you to plan ahead.  This includes making an airtight to-do list, bring any and all work items that you will need (chargers, earphones, electronics, etc.) and if you have a variety of workspaces available to you in your office like workstations, soft seating, cafe tables and even phone booths, you can plan your day accordingly.  You may decide to work on a project in one environment and then switch it up and work on something else somewhere else.
  3. Make Ergo a Priority.  If you are lucky, and your company has provided adjustable workstations which include sit/stand desks, good ergonomic chairs, adjustable monitors and laptop risers, then make sure to use them and set yourself up so that you can maintain healthy posture and stay comfortable throughout the day.   However, all too often, we are at the mercy of our laptops when we Hot-Desk.  In this case, a few simple gadgets make ALL. THE. DIFFERENCE. IN. THE. WORLD.   Make sure to arm yourself with a portable laptop riser, a portable keyboard and mouse.  If you are truly a company nomad, then a lap desk works wonders as well.  (Check out our Set Your Self Up in Less Than 60 Seconds Ergo post).  If you can’t get comfortable or have specific ergo needs, speak up and ask for what you need.
  4. Set Boundaries. One of the biggest challenges when Hot-Desking is managing distractions.  There are a few things you can do to let people know that you are not available.   1) Make a little sign that says something along the lines of I’m knee deep in work and will be available to chat later.  or simply Please do not disturb.   You can also wear headphones (whether you are listening to anything or not) and ask your co-workers to please email or text you to set aside a time to chat.
  5. Make it Personal. One of the biggest adjustments to Hot-Desking is the loss of personal space.    Try setting up your screen saver with your favorite personal photos.   You can do the same thing on your phone or tablet.   You can also bring something small from home that will fit into your bag or your locker.  I have a small little Buddha Statue that I carry with me that reminds me to stay calm and focused and reminds me that no one can take me away from me.

Hot-Desking is relatively new and we’re all in this together. I would LOVE to hear from you what is working and what isn’t working.

Until the next time!





  • buy fleck 5600sxt
    Posted at 14:10h, 04 April Reply

    Aw, this was an extremely nice post. Spending some time and actual
    effort to make a very good article… but what can I say… I put
    things off a whole lot and don’t seem to
    get nearly anything done.

Post A Comment

At PBE, We Are Passionate About Ergonomics. We Are Equally Passionate About Wellness.
But We Are Most Passionate About YOU!

Follow Us

Join Our Community!

Subscribe now for weekly words of wellness, ergo tips, stretches and more...

100% Privacy. We don't spam.