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Desk for a Day is the New Hot Desking

Desk for a Day is the New Hot Desking

Covid-19 has seen an end to the days where multiple people happily shared the same desk without a second thought. This has posed a challenge to businesses with agile office designs that include the practice of hot desking. Workplace design company Evoke Projects looks at the rise of Desk for a Day working.

Farewell hot desks, hello hoteling

The humble hot desk is in need of some serious rebranding, especially since Victoria coined the term ‘hot hotels’ for quarantine. However, it is not the term ‘hot desk’, but the practice of short term desk use that is worrying employees. Move over hot desk! ‘Desk hoteling’ is the safer alternative workplace design solution.

Hot desking versus desk hoteling

Both scenarios have a number of desks allocated within the office fit-out to cater for employees who are not in the office full-time. Hot desks are allocated on a ‘first in, best dressed’ basis. In contrast, desk hoteling has workstations reserved in advance, usually through an online reservation system. Hot desks are available for short periods of time, whereas people will usually reserve a Desk for a Day in a hoteling system.

Businesses have better oversight of occupancy under a hoteling system design strategy compared to the more casual hot desking.

Why are we seeing a growth in hoteling as a workplace solution?

Following the working from home explosion of 2020, businesses recognised the benefits of more flexible working. The idea that you have to be seen in order to perform productive work was shown the door, quite literally. In fact, many companies reported increased productivity and motivation from employees who no longer faced lengthy commute times.

A recent survey of United States landlords by real estate technology platform KayoCloud reported that 82% of companies are embracing a hybrid working model whereby employees will be in the office three days a week. In Australia, we are also seeing the growth of hybrid workplace solutions, mixing home and office based work.

The ‘hub and spoke’ workplace design model is popular. Employees commute to the hub when they need to collaborate with a large group. Other days, they work from home for deeper focus work or attend regional offices for smaller meetings and team collaboration. The head office hub with regional office space spokes is not a new workplace design, particularly for large employers. However, the home office and coworking spaces have become new spokes. Coworking spaces are becoming more neighbourhood-centric and more convenient than regional offices that may still require a long commute.

A Desk for a Day works well for hybrid workplace designs, hence its growth in popularity.

Benefits of Desk for a Day and hoteling

  • Desk for a Day is a concept that will sit comfortably with employees concerned about hygiene. The desk is theirs for an entire day with plenty of time for proper cleaning overnight.
  • It gives people the flexibility to work when and where they want to. This leads to better well-being as people feel empowered and valued.
  • People have versatility as desks can be booked in different zones within the office fit-out e.g. a ‘focus’ space or a ‘collaborative’ zone.
  • Working from home full-time can lead to loneliness and stifled creativity. A Desk for a Day enables collaboration, connection and stimulation. It can also suit self-employed workers who want the vibe and motivation that comes from being in an office environment. Desk for a day booking systems are often available at coworking and pop-up work spaces.
  • For business owners, a hoteling system enables efficient use of space with reduced real estate lease and maintenance costs. The office design can be reconfigured to make better use of space e.g. creating break-out zones within the office fit-out. For larger companies, it might be possible to create a café or gym in the office space that becomes available.
  • There is good oversight of occupancy to enable further refinement of the office design and fit-out.
  • Flexible workstation use gives a business the agility to increase or decrease the size of the work team as required.

Implementing a Desk for a Day system

  1. Choose a booking system
    Once you have decided how many seats to assign to the hoteling ‘pool’, a good booking system will be invaluable, particularly one that has Covid-safe protocols built in. For example, Condeco Software, link to includes Workspace Management, Desk Booking and Meeting Room Booking modules. The system shows the office interior design, which can be set up with fewer desks or ‘closed’ desks. The system also triggers and records cleaning schedules between desk bookings and keeps detailed data for contact tracing. Sensor systems such as Measuremen’s Sensor Connected Workplace link to can also track workplace utilisation in real-time so that you can collect data and manage workplace design.
  2. Adopt hygiene protocols
    A strict cleaning protocol will be necessary, not only for the desk, but also the chair and equipment on the desk. When selecting office furniture, easily cleaned surfaces and antimicrobial chairs are best.
  3. Adapt the physical environment and office design
    Physical distancing will add extra peace of mind. Effective social distancing signage and wayfinding signs will be particularly important in areas that are visited by people who may not be familiar with the office fit-out.

A zigzag formation of workstations within the office fit-out provides good spacing, while high-walled cubicles and plexiglass dividers create a physical barrier between staff. Under a hoteling system, staff will not have their own desks to leave personal items in overnight. Lockers or mobile carts can solve this problem.

For more information on Desk for a Day office designs, please call Evoke Projects on 1300 720 692.

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