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What is hot desking?

Posted on: 20th July 2017

Reading time:  15 mins

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Hot desking has a mixed reputation. Tapping into the original theory of activity-based working and the coworking space trend can deliver real results

Hot desking has a mixed reputation. Tapping into the original theory of activity-based working and the coworking space trend can deliver real results


Hot desking has a mixed reputation. Tapping into the original theory of activity-based working and the coworking space trend can deliver real results

With more people turning to flexible work environments, remote locations, and coworking offices, hot desking has become an increasingly popular workspace option that benefits all kinds of businesses and workers.

Research has shown there has been a surge in employees using hot desks in recent years, with one report finding that 110,000 desks were reserved in May 2021. This was a 95% increase from April 2021. 

Hot desking is a flexible alternative to traditional office rentals, and is often found in coworking spaces and shared offices. Here, professionals can work at available desk spaces alongside other people from different organizations. Some include access to conference rooms and meeting rooms and can be paid for by the hour or the day, providing an all-inclusive office environment for all business types.

In this article, we’ll answer the question, “What is hot desking?” and look at where it fits within the coworking space. We’ll also explore how hot desking could benefit your business.

What is hot desking?

Hot desking is the practice of using desk space as and when it’s needed. So, instead of allocating each worker their own permanent space, they can work from any available desk when they need one. That could be turning up and choosing from what’s available or booking a space in advance.

By providing a flexible solution, businesses can maximize their office space by limiting the number of desks they have sitting empty. This means a potential reduction in costs while offering a unique opportunity for workers to collaborate and engage more freely.

So, what are hot desks in the context of coworking spaces? Hot desk facilities can also be found in coworking spaces, where workers from different organizations share an office. Coworking locations usually provide the same facilities as a traditional office environment and come with their own set of flexible, cost-saving benefits.

How does hot desking work?

An organization can approach its hot desking policy in different ways. Some may use a scheduling system in which workers can swap spaces with one another in the same building. Others can reserve their desk space through an online tool, app or office manager. And some offer desks to the first people that want to use them while they have availability. 

What’s typically included within this space?

Offices will vary in the amenities and services they offer, however, the typical hot desking essentials usually include:

● Access to power outlets 
● Reliable and high-speed internet
● Meeting rooms that can be reserved
● Storage facilities 
● Printing services
● Break rooms
● On-site amenities such as toilets, showers, kitchens and coffee machines

At Regus, we offer flexible memberships that enable you to tailor your office experience to your needs. And if you prefer to reserve a regular desk or switch up your working locations, you can reserve a desk by the hour, day, or month.

How do hot desks differ from dedicated desks in a coworking space?

Within a coworking space, there may be both ‘hot desks’ and ‘dedicated desks.’ While they both provide flexible workspace arrangements, there are some differences between them.

Hot desks are flexible workspaces that are available at the moment you arrive or can be reserved a few hours in advance for a short time.

Dedicated desks are workstations reserved in advance, just for you, and cannot be used by anyone else - even when you’re not there. They’re typically considered to be a long-term version of a hot desk.

What are the benefits of hot desking?

So, what does hot desking mean for businesses? Whether you’re a freelancer working remotely, a start-up, or a large, established business, there are many benefits to hot desking. Here are some of the most important:

Work flexibility 

Hot desking creates flexible working solutions for a range of business types. For remote workers, in particular, it enables access to workspaces in various locations, including major cities.


Saving money is high on the agenda for most businesses. Expensive rental agreements are one of the key disadvantages of traditional office space. Traditional real estate can be costly, especially when you consider the cost of a desk that’s not being used due to business travel, holidays, or sickness.

Hot desking is a cost-effective solution, as it can reduce businesses operating costs by 30%

A company’s hot desk office space can be scaled up or down as needed, meaning they only pay for the space they use. Research from Inc. survey shows 40% of an office’s dedicated desk space is unused on a given day. 

Organizations also save money on technology provided in the coworking space or hot desking office. In most spaces, you can use shared resources such as scanners, printers, and video conferencing technology. 

Increased collaboration

Hot desking can enhance the social elements of work. It offers increased face-to-face opportunities for collaboration, innovation and social networking.

Coworking spaces give professionals the opportunity to meet like-minded people every day. You’ll meet new faces from outside your team or organization and expand your professional and social network.

Statistics from the Queens University of Charlotte show that 75% of workers regard collaboration and teamwork as important. Enabling people to work together can improve employee well-being and productivity.

On-site services and amenities 

Modern workspaces attract businesses and workers for their impressive amenities and added convenience. Some examples of added services and features in a coworking space include: 

● State-of-the-art coffee machines 
● Outdoor seating areas and gardens
● Secure, soundproof booths for calls
● Comfortable lounge areas 
● Mail forwarding services
● Call handling services
● Kitchens
● Customized furniture and equipment
● Access to bookable meeting rooms

Better communication 

Hot desking creates an environment that promotes better communication and teamwork. Workers are more likely to approach people they may not have engaged with otherwise. 


When it comes to environmental issues, hot desking is more sustainable than using traditional office space. It reduces the amount of physical space required by organizations and makes their energy consumption lower.

Considering hot desking for your business?

There are many advantages to implementing hot desk solutions. However, not all models will be suitable for every organization. Many businesses strive for a flexible and collaborative work culture.

Here, we can provide tips and advice on implementing the best hot desking solutions for your business.

Hot desking for enterprise companies

For businesses that are expanding or downsizing, hot desking can make access to professional office space more convenient and affordable.

For businesses looking to enter a new market, hot desking is an agile and affordable way to expand. Flexible, short-term agreements give you a local presence quickly without the major investment of opening an office. Similarly, should you need to withdraw from a market, you’re not exposed to the ongoing costs of a long-term contract.

Hot desking also allows you to employ remote workers without a huge upfront investment. With a monthly flexible agreement, you can scale or withdraw in new markets without all the risk of opening a traditional office space.

Hot desking for self-employed workers

Hot desking by nature can hold strong appeal for self-employed workers, solo-entrepreneurs and freelancers, providing the benefits of an office environment without the prohibitive cost of a long-term office contract. Being around other professionals combats the isolation of working at home, helping workers feel connected, while aiding motivation and productivity.

Should your work take you to multiple locations, having a network of hot desks offers a professional setting for accepting projects, and attending client meetings in different cities.

Hybrid-first hot desking

Hot desking is ideal for businesses opting for a hybrid working policy. It supports a mix of in-office and remote workers with varying schedules. It also ensures workers can access office space when they need it.

For example, take a hybrid system that requires workers to be in the office twice a week.  Hot desk solutions can ensure you have enough desk space on any given day for people to use. 

Hot desking for a distributed workforce

A distributed workforce is one that’s located across different cities, states, or countries. Hot desking allows people to book a desk, workstation or a meeting room that could be in either a coworking space or another office belonging to the organization.

How to make the most out of your hot desk space

To optimize your hot desk strategy, you should consider the following points:

Communicate with your teams

Ensure all staff are properly informed if you’re introducing hot desking or a hybrid model to your organization. Outline the benefits and give clear instructions on how it works and where they can go for support.

Make it easy to reserve a desk 

Provide workers with the tools they need to reserve a desk quickly and easily. There are plenty of software and app options for reserving, canceling, and managing desk space. Via a Regus membership, we provide an online hot desk rental system and a flexible membership package that takes care of everything.

Provide a team space

Even with a hybrid working model, there may still be a need for teams to physically work side by side, so ensure you’ve allocated them enough space. It’s a good idea to configure a suitable desk layout so multiple workers can work together and collaborate.

Allow remote access

Remote workers still need to be kept in the loop. Ensure you have the right management system in place that allows secure access to project developments, files, teams, tasks, etc.

Keep in contact

Check in on colleagues regularly. While you may be happy to work remotely, others may feel more isolated. A regular phone call or video call, or an in-person meet-up can help boost team morale.

Be considerate of your surroundings

In a coworking space, you are essentially working in a public place with other people. It’s important that you keep your area tidy and the noise down. That will make it a pleasant and productive space for everyone to work in.

Be social

One of the benefits of hot desking is being around like-minded people. By networking with individuals from diverse industries, you have the chance to make useful connections, explore fresh possibilities and expand your horizons. 

Future-proof yourself

While you may now only need basic office facilities, such as WiFi and restrooms, consider what happens if you expand. Can you get access to larger offices or meeting rooms? Will you need a receptionist? Or, can you hot desk in another city?

Other flexible working solutions

A hybrid office model enables workers to combine working from home, on-site, or in a rented hot desk office.

Hot desking provides many benefits. However, it is only one solution and may not be right for everyone. For instance, some people like the familiarity of their own desks where they can store paperwork and equipment. Plus, if you’re reserving a hot desk at the last minute, you may find there are none available.

An alternative would be to look at a dedicated desk or coworking space that is flexible, agile, and affordable.

A dedicated desk gives you peace of mind as it guarantees you the space for the time you’ve booked it, with no disruptions. They usually come with storage and cost less than having to rent a whole office. They are often situated in their own area, giving you extra privacy.

Coworking, on the other hand, is all about collaboration and networking as it involves people from different organizations sharing an open office environment. Here, people can work alongside each other to generate ideas and share knowledge. Coworking spaces come with varying levels of facilities, with many providing conference facilities, meeting rooms, full-time receptionists, and event spaces.

Are you looking for a flexible, affordable, professional workspace? One that could help boost creativity, productivity, and opportunities? Then coworking could be the best option for you!

Hot desk with Regus

Whether you’re a freelancer or a large organization, let Regus take the stress and uncertainty out of choosing the right office space solution.

You can manage your office space requirements online or through our app. You can also just choose your space and show up. You can book by the hour or day, there are no contract or sign-up fees, and our 24/7 support team is here to help.

Plus, our membership package gives you the ultimate access to the world’s largest network of offices, coworking spaces, hot desks, and lounges. It also offers a range of extra business benefits.

Flexible working has never been easier.

Best hot desking locations

Our memberships give access to thousands of locations across the United States and the world. We offer Regus office solutions across the US, including thriving hot desk locations in the heart of Manhattan and coastal coworking spaces down in Miami, and beyond. These are some of our most popular hot desking locations.

US Bank Tower

US Bank Tower - This prestigious office space located on the 28th floor of the renowned US Bank Tower in Los Angeles. Perched at a breathtaking height of 1,000 feet, this class A building offers unparalleled panoramic views that span across the Pacific Ocean and the Hollywood Hills. You’ll find 34 coworking desks at this space and exceptional amenities.

View more hot desking spaces in Los Angeles

315 Montgomery Street

315 Montgomery Street - Occupying 2 floor, relish the convenience of being situation in the heart of San Francisco’s bustinling downtown area at the prestigious 315 Montgomery location. Here you’ll find 41 coworking desks and exceptional amenities, including a stylish business lounge, impressive views, and impeccable service, this workspace is designed to foster opportunities at every corner.

View more hot desking spaces in San Francisco.

605 North Michigan

605 North Michigan - Regus's largest coworking space in Chicago. Right in the heart of the commercial and business district, this prime location offers a magnificent view that showcases the grandeur of the city. You’ll have the option to select from 20 coworking spaces. Whether you’re starting a new venture or expanding an existing one, this amazing workspace provides the ideal setting for your professional endeavors.

View more hot desking spaces in Chicago.


Topics in this article

  • Work Trends


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