Is hot desking dead?

Is hot desking dead? Yes and No.

Hot desking, as it was originally devised in the 1990’s, is more or less dead.

No more sterile spaces, with people wandering around looking for a desk to use. Too scared to sit near the window – that’s where the seniors always sit. Wasting valuable working time getting their desk set up for the day ahead. Wondering where the guy they were next to yesterday is sitting today. That’s dead.

But what isn’t dead is the idea that you don’t actually need one desk per person in an office. That’s because around half of traditional office space can remain unused on any given day – with people in meetings, visiting customers, working from home. You know – working.

That unused space is expensive. And smart businesses realise that to get the most out of their staff, they need to provide the right environments.

Hot desking still has its niches. For shift workers in a call centre, for example. Or for co-working spaces where people book a space for a short or long burst.

But for the general office, the idea behind hot desking has evolved. These days you’re more likely to hear about the concept of agile working – optimising the use of space through non-assigned seating and shared spaces. And many organisations are taking this concept to the next level and adopting activity based working.

Activity based working

Activity-Based Working (ABW) moves beyond hot desking by creating multiple areas tailored to work tasks. So where you work, is driven by what you’re doing. You may choose a quiet area for focused work, a team hub for project work, a casual area for brainstorming with colleagues. You don’t just work at a desk.

The idea is that ABW does not dictate how you work – rather it allows you and your team to choose the most productive way of working.

Touted benefits of activity based working include:

Greater real estate efficiency with higher utilisation of space
Improved flexibility to move teams and people quickly
Improved support for teamwork and collaboration
Reduced workplace footprint per person reduces environmental impact.

The design drivers remain the same

Office design is continually evolving as work practices and technologies evolve.

Will ABW continue to grow in popularity? What’s the next frontier? Who knows. But, what’s interesting, is that the drivers behind these workplace innovations remain fairly consistent – even since the heady days of hot-desking and fit outs such as Chiat/Day.

Typical design drivers for the workplace:

– Improve workplace productivity and efficiency
– Support business growth and objectives
– Enable more innovation
– Optimise real estate space and building management costs
– Retain high performers
– Attract talent
– Improve health and wellbeing
– Be environmentally sustainable

Because when it comes to workplace design, in the end, we all want the same thing.

Workspaces that are effective. People that are inspired. And businesses that thrive.

At  Crestline we have a wide range of workstations and desks available on good lead-times. Want to find out more or need help with space planning? Give us a call on 07 855 9932 or email

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