What is Hot Desking?

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  • Written By: H. Bliss
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 14 October 2019
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Hot desking is a term for the practice of temporarily occupying an office work space. The term can be used to refer to a businessperson renting a temporary office space or it can refer to shared desk arrangements like those used in busy telephone call centers. Companies and individuals can save money on office rent and access office space on the road using hot desking. Risks associated with hot desking include computer security and infectious diseases.

Generally, office spaces used for hot desking have some equipment already available for the office user. Some temporary office spaces have computers and telephones available, while some simply have a data link or Internet connection available for business executives who work with their own computer equipment. Some hot desking office workers use the same space repeatedly, but they share the desk with other workers and remove personal tools and items when they go. Offices that offer this kind of temporary space usually also offer server space or personal storage space.

Advantages to hot desking include reduced office costs, networking opportunities, and access to reserved private office space away from home. Because the average employee is at his desk less than a third of the time, companies can benefit from using hot desking in their workforce because it makes use of desks that are not occupied. Some companies only use shared desk arrangements during busy business seasons when they take on an additional temporary workforce.


Shared office spaces with shared computers, computer interface devices, and telephones can act as harbors for viruses and bacteria that cause illnesses like cold and flu. With many users using a computer station, if the computer is not secured and maintained carefully, viruses can compromise the security of every user on the workstation. High-traffic shared office spaces like those found in tightly-packed call centers can be particularly susceptible to distributing disease.

The best way to deal with illness prevention in a hot desking arrangement is for the user to sanitize everything she touches frequently before starting the office shift. Sanitizing a desk space can be as simple as giving a sanitizing rubdown to surfaces on the desk and chair that the user contacts frequently, plus the phone, keyboard, and mouse. A sanitizing wipe down of a shared desk can be done with disinfectant spray or rubbing alcohol on a clean cloth. Shared equipment like headsets should have at least their earbuds and mouthpiece sanitized with rubbing alcohol before use. It is safest for a hot desker to supply her own headset whenever possible.


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Post 2

I had to do this when I started my job. I was working part time with another girl, and she made it very clear that the desk belonged to her, and not me, and not to make any changes At. All. Period. I couldn't even put up any personal items because she said they were distracting her.

I finally got the desk to myself when she quit to have a baby and went back to nursing school. I finally was able to put up my own stuff and could customize things like I wanted them to look, and how it was most efficient for me to work.

Post 1

I call this practice "gypsying," since you don't stay anywhere very long. I've had to do it when my computer was down and I hate it. I have to take all of my stuff with me, and if someone calls about something, I might have to go back to my desk to check on it for them. That's really annoying.

When we had interns in the office, they had to do some hot desking, since they didn't work on the same days of the week, and the tech guy didn't want to have to set up more than one computer. I know it was a pain in the neck for them. They had to keep their supplies and notebooks separate, and they each had a desk drawer. That is so irritating when you need to keep something safe.

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