What Are the Differences Between Hot Desks and Fixed Desks?

Hannah Watkins
Hannah Watkins|

When you’re looking for a new place to work, the choices you have to make seem never-ending. Where do you want to be? How much do you want to spend? Which facilities could you categorically not live without? Will I need meeting rooms? 24-hour access? A fireman’s pole?

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Fortunately, the chances are that you’ll know if you’re looking for a private office or just a desk; but if it’s the latter that you’re after, there’s one more decision to make: do you want a hot desk or a fixed desk?

Well, good news – whilst we can’t tell you whether or not an office with prosecco on tap will enhance your working experience (though the likelihood is: it will), we can help you decide which type of desk is best for you.

Here’s our quick guide to hot desks vs fixed desks:

What is a hot desk?

But first, the basics. Let’s clear up what we actually mean by ‘hot desk’.

Hot desking is an alternative to the conventional office set-up. Rather than giving each staff member their own personal desk, hot desking provides flexible desk space that’s shared by multiple employees or freelancers as and when they need it.

In short, you show up to your workspace and pick a free desk to work from for the day.

What is a fixed desk?

A fixed desk is pretty straightforward. Just as in a conventional office, you’ll have a set place which is yours and no-one else’s. You normally also get in-desk storage included with a key and some other perks.

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So why would you choose one over the other?

Benefits of hot desking

There are many gains to be made for businesses of all sizes, as well as freelancers.

Cost

One of the biggest advantages is cost. If you take a look at our platform, you’ll see that hot desks are pretty much always cheaper than fixed desks, making them an ideal choice for those who are just starting up. But it doesn’t stop there: any shrewd businessperson will be keen to cut on their outgoings, regardless of size or age.

Flexibility

Hot desking also lends itself to a range of business dynamics. Many companies make the change to hot desking if they start expanding at a rapid rate. Conversely, companies that are downsizing divert to hot desking when their workforce is powered by more part-time staff or they move to smaller premises.

Collaboration and creativity

The very nature of hot desking means that every day you’re sitting somewhere new, and  every day you have different neighbours. This is brilliant for both team bonding and networking – as you’ll end up chatting to lesser-known colleagues and striking up conversations with people from nearby companies. This paves the way for new conversations and idea sharing, as well as opportunities for fresh collaboration and friendship.

Focus

Studies have suggested that by 2020, freelancers and remote workers will be dominating the workforce. But working from home isn’t for everybody; it can be isolating, and the prospect of a good spring clean can often become far more appealing than it ever has before. Freelancers renting a hot desk immediately gain a more focused and productive workspace, access to a professional address and useful office facilities, as well as the company of other workers and creatives.

Less clutter

When you have room to accumulate clutter, more often than not, you do. But a tidy desk equals a tidy mind – and if there’s no possibility of filling your desk with age-old postits, random staplers and cat photos, then quite simply: you won’t. Every day you’ll be greeted by a shiny, new, clutter-free desk…just watch your productivity grow.

Search our wide range of excellent hot desks here.

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Benefits of fixed desking

Hot desking isn’t for everybody; sometimes, a fixed desk might be the way for you and your business to go.

Stability

For some, the thought of having to up sticks and relocate every day is tantamount to lunacy. Different people function in different ways, and not everybody works best having to constantly acclimatise to a new environment. If you prefer a certain element of stability, then a fixed desk is perhaps your best bet. It’s also a bonus that you’ll know where you’re colleagues are sitting, so you can minimise time fruitlessly trying to find people.

Equipment

Cat pictures aside, a desk need not only be filled with unnecessary items. If you’re a designer or an engineer, say, who needs specific tools and hardware on a day-to-day basis, then a fixed desk might be more beneficial. You don’t want to be carting huge monitors on your commute every day, and repeatedly setting up complicated equipment is a very inefficient use of time.

And for some, a desk is made to be personalised. We spend so much of our lives at work, it’s understandable if you want to add a personal touch to a desk. If you can’t imagine your workspace without a spot of inspiration, some pot plants and a family photo, then maybe opt for a fixed desk.

Bonding

Though there are many arguments in favour of the new relationships that can come out of hot desking, for some people fixed desks may engender more solid bonds and many surveys have highlighted the benefits of sitting with the same team for longer periods of time. Keep your (or your employees’) social dynamic in mind – some people may react differently to the hot desking lifestyle.

Avoiding conflict

Nobody wants a case of ‘sun bed syndrome’. Having a fixed desk will eliminate the chance of you/fellow hot deskers feeling the need to arrive at work excessively early, just to secure a desk of choice. This will do nothing for morale, and with a fixed desk everybody knows that they’ll have a desk waiting for them.

We’ve got hundreds of fixed desks available on the Hubble platform. Click here to search!

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Conclusion

Hot desking is becoming an increasingly common phenomenon, and the numerous advantages listed above make this unsurprising. But it’s not for everybody. While some revel in the possibility of constantly meeting new people and expanding their network, for others it’s an unnecessary hassle that hinders productivity.

So: if you’re looking for a cost-efficient desk, don’t mind a bit of variety or want to expand your network with ease, then we say choose hot desk.

But if it’s stability and personalisation that suit you best, or you work with a lot of specific equipment – then we reckon you should go fixed desk.

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