How Companies Should Address Hot Desking Anxiety

9th November 2020 | 3 min read

In the modern workplace of today, long gone are the rows of assigned cubicles – in their place we have open plan offices, flexible working and hot desking. However, as well as the numerous advantages to this style of working, there are also a few disadvantages that employers should be aware of when introducing this style of working. Read on to learn more about hot desking and its potential pros and cons – including how to tackle hot desking anxiety.

What is hot desking?

Put simply, hot desking is a workplace practice where desks are non-allocated and instead, employees select their work station when they arrive at work each day. Some offices use a booking system to monitor hot desking; whilst others give employees complete freedom to choose.

The benefits of hot desking

Better use of space and money:
Traditional offices can be a financial drain for employers, as full office capacity is rarely reached. Now that people are increasingly opting to work remotely, we may see more companies adopting hot desking to save costs on space and equipment.

Tidier offices:
If each employee has their own fixed desk, personal possessions, clutter and mess tend to build up in the office. Hot desking forces employees to keep things minimal and clean everything away at the end of each day, meaning better organisation and a tidier environment.

Increased communication and productivity:
Especially in coworking spaces, hot desking can bring together people from different companies, boosting networking and collaborating opportunities. Many people also find that the flexible nature of hot desking keeps things fresh and improves their productivity.

Hot desking anxiety

Hot desking doesn’t work for everyone – many people prefer to have a set routine and find it hard to build relationships with their colleagues when their desk neighbours are constantly changing. Sometimes this practice even leads to something called hot desking anxiety. This can occur for several reasons.

Not finding a desk:
When you hot desk, you may sometimes have to spend a while hunting for an available workspace. This can cause stress, especially if the person in question has an important meeting. Similarly, if you need to locate an employee, it can be much harder to track them down if there are no fixed desks or seats.

Feeling lonely:
When you work next to the same people every day, you naturally build bonds and relationships. When hot desking, this ability is somewhat compromised. Instead of having a chat with your usual desk neighbour, you may find that you spend all day communicating with others via email or phone, which can contribute to loneliness at work.

Lack of personal touches:
If you hot desk, you can’t personalise your work space; whether that’s a photo of a loved one, a plant, or a special snack drawer. Some employees dislike the impersonal feel of hot desking and feel anxious having to set up and pack away their desk each day.

How to address hot desking anxiety

Business looking to reduce this type of anxiety in their employees can employ some of the following steps.

Firstly, implementing a booking system for hot desking will reduce the anxiety some people feel at having to search for a desk when they arrive at work. Instead, they can book days or weeks in advance, taking the pressure off and improving the effectiveness of the system.

Next, do your research. Regularly assess employees using surveys, emails or interviews to find out how often people are hot desking and adjust your facilities accordingly. Not everyone enjoys hot desking, so you may need to up your ratio of assigned desks. Encourage your employees to give feedback – after all, communication is key.

Finally, arrange some social sessions or work drinks to help employees connect and blow off steam after work. Socialising leads to stronger bonds and better teamwork and these sessions will make up for any time spent away from colleagues during the day.

At the end of the day, hot desking can take time to get right, and by building a workspace that caters to everyone, employees can enjoy the best of both worlds.