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Creating a Hotdesking Strategy
As companies continue to determine their best approach for supporting hybrid work, one topic that frequently comes up in conversations with our clients is hotdesking. The idea of hotdesking is simple - create workspaces that employees coming into the office for individual work can use as they need when they are present in the office. Those spaces aren’t necessarily reserved for specific people’s exclusive use but can be reserved for people to use on a schedule. Moving from concept to actual implementation requires addressing several key issues and aligning your hotdesking strategy with your overall collaboration approach.
Metrigy recently conducted a study of 935 companies in Europe, North America, Australia, and parts of Southeast Asia to determine how they were approaching hotdesking within their organization. For the approximately one-quarter that have already implemented hotdesking, we found a wide variety of implementations in the following areas:
Desktop Check-out and Provisioning Management
About half of those who support hotdesking has deployed an app to manage reservations provisioning of spaces and devices. Popular examples include Envoy, OfficeSpace, Robin, Wisp by Gensler, and WorkInSync. More recently, leading collaboration vendors, including Microsoft, Webex, and Zoom, have added hotdesking capabilities or established integrations with dedicated workspace management apps previously listed to enable reservation and provisioning of spaces and devices.
Some companies may desire to group teams physically in the same area. For example, if members of a software development or marketing team are in the office together, it may make sense, if space permits, to allow them to book workspaces near one another to facilitate ad-hoc collaboration .
One challenge we found among companies that support hotdesking is aligning availability with demand. If you only have enough available space to support say half of your potential in-office workforce, and everybody wants to come in on Wednesday, you will quickly find that you exceed capacity limits. To overcome these issues some companies have implemented schedules based on workgroups. For example, sales teams can use hotdesking space on Monday and Tuesday, product teams on Wednesday and Thursday, and so on. Desktop provisioning apps are critical for providing insight into historical utilization, but anticipating future utilization can be tricky and may require employee surveys or working with team leaders to set appropriate policies .
Metrigy found no clear consensus on the types of devices that companies provision to their hotdesking location . Monitors are the most popular, allowing those who bring their laptops to the office to take advantage of a large screen. Other typically available devices include desktop telephones and high-quality webcams to support videoconferencing. Some companies make headsets available, though often due to hygiene concerns, many people will feel uncomfortable about wearing a headset that has been worn by others. More than half of companies with employees regularly splitting time between office and home will provision multiple headsets to them; one for the office and one for home. In this scenario, lockers are effective for allowing employees to store their personal devices in the office. Only about 25% of companies require employees to bring their headsets with them.
An emerging option for hotdesking equipment is the provisioning of all-in-one desktop devices available from vendors including Cisco, DTEN, and Poly. These devices, used in conjunction with a hotdesking management system, allow employees to sign in to the device when they arrive and have easy access to meeting and other collaboration apps, as well as have high-quality video and audio experiences. Finally, about 35% of companies provision USB speakerphone devices, also enabling high-quality audio experiences via noise cancellation.
Implementing hotdesking creates several management requirements, including the need to ensure dynamic updates of user location to support E911. A hotdesking employee using a provided desktop phone that’s been associated with their company phone number must have their current location transmitted to emergency call centers in the event of a 911 call and local notification to security personnel, in accordance with Kari’s Law, must report their hotdesking location. Beyond E911 requirements, companies must ensure that their collaboration management platforms support dynamic provisioning, especially when using permanent devices like phones and all-in-one systems, and that they can manage voice and video quality as appropriate.
For those companies deploying dedicated devices, the IT staff must ensure that user information is erased and the employee is automatically logged out after the expiration of a reservation or some period of inactivity. The last thing any company wants to deal with is an employee sitting down at a hotdesking location and seeing calling, messaging, and other collaboration information from the previous occupant.
When implemented correctly, hotdesking can be an effective means of maximizing available office space to ensure that those who need individual work locations have them and can reserve them before going into the office, with appropriately available collaboration capabilities. But failure to take a proactive approach can lead to chaos, frustration, and business and IT headaches.