During the pandemic, working from home brought with it new trends to organize the return to the office.
The hot desking model consists of providing the staff with all the workstations available for each day. Through this model, office workers do not have any assigned seating. Instead, they may “check-in” to an open seat.
They take whatever desk is available, instead of having one assigned space or permanent office desk.
The term is said to have derived from the term “hot racking”. It’s a concept referring to the practice of sailors with different shifts sharing the same bunk, due to the shortage of beds -‘hot’ refers to the fact that the bed did not have time to cool down between shifts
This was introduced in the corporate world in the 1990s. These days, instead of belonging to one person, cubicles and private offices may have multiple owners that occupy them at different times.
In short, hot desking allows one to reserve his or her workstation on a daily basis, which can vary according to availability. Nairobi Garage offers this in Nairobi through their Flexi and club space options & you can learn more about these options here.
Hot desking and hoteling are often used interchangeably.
They both refer to seating that’s available on a first-come, first-served basis. Technically, there is a difference between the two concepts.
Hoteling requires staff to reserve a space (through software like OfficeSpace, for example) before they may use it.
It’s also important to make the distinction between hot desking and meeting room booking. While there are similar concepts, hot-desking primarily refers to booking a workspace for the day.
Meeting room booking is typically used to book conference rooms or other shared spaces for shorter time periods.
Use and optimization of space: Under a hybrid model in which the employee combines on-site and remote work, it is not efficient to leave a desk empty on days when it is not going to be occupied. Hence hotdesking helps organizations make use of the space that is really required.
Reserve the workstation according to the use to be made of it: Whether it is a table for individual work, a meeting room, or a collaborative space. Each collaborator can choose based on the colleagues with whom he or she shares a project at that moment or even according to his or her preferences (a place with more or less light, quieter, or allowing more interaction).
Fosters an open work environment: Hot desking encourages communication and collaboration among employees and helps to keep spaces tidier and free of personal belongings, facilitating cleaning and disinfection in times of pandemic.
So what is really driving this trend that has been around more this year?
The costs of owning commercial real estate have grown more and more by the year. From pre-purchase costs, including property appraisal, legal fees, application fees, environmental screening charges, property inspections, and the costs of working with a commercial real estate attorney is no joke.
As if that’s not enough, you also need to pay for the property month by month and year by year, including the fixed costs like mortgage payments, commercial insurance, and property taxes, not forgetting some hidden charges that emerge month over month.
As much as new office space in Nairobi continues to be constructed on a daily basis. Areas such as Upper Hill, Kilimani and Westlands are currently being constructed into high-rise office space whenever there is empty available land.
Since land around Nairobi which is commercial and suitable for office space is expensive, developers construct vertically upwards. The high-rise buildings are then resold or rented out.
Let’s do some calculations. According to the A4Architect platform, the average smallest space in most of these new buildings is 1000 square feet in area. The average rent per sq ft is between kes 100 to kes 140. The average sale price is between kes 100,000 to kes 150,000 per sq meter.
The office spaces are sold using sectional titles as described under the sectional properties act of the laws of Kenya. In most buildings, 1 car park space is provided per office and off-street city council parking space is used by visitors.
An example of how costly renting an office space in a prime place in Nairobi can be is at The Watermark, in Karen. Let’s assume you need 1000sq ft office space. The cost of buying is on average kes 16,000 per sq ft. Total cost =kes 16,000x 1000=kes 16m. While taking a desk at Nairobi Garage // Karen in the same complex location could cost you about KES 25,000 monthly or even better an office space could go for as low as KES 100,000.
In short, operating costs are a big part of owning a commercial building as well and maintenance is anything but cheap.
You can see where owning a commercial building can get financially overwhelming fast. In the midst of the COVID pandemic, where businesses are forced to pinch pennies even further, the move from commercial real estate maybe even more dramatic. Hence more businesses are opting for cheaper options that are flexible.
To both save on office costs and prioritize the safety of employees, more and more office workers have seen their cushy corner offices become the living room couch.
Yet long before the pandemic forced most of the workplaces into remote work, hot-desking required it regularly of employees.
If you need a refresher, the hot-desking office model strives to keep more people out of the office at any one time.
This justifies the office downsizing that usually accompanies hot desking. Those in the office share a desk while those at home will work remotely.
Remote work grants employees great freedom and flexibility, at least to a degree. Yes, they’re still expected to work X number of hours a day (eight or nine is the norm), but how and where they work is up to them.
If they get their best work done closed off in a home office, that’s their prerogative. The same is true if they’d rather work on a park bench or at a coffee shop.
That doesn’t mean your employees can’t return to the office; that’s not what we’re saying at all. You might even wish to continue with unassigned seating, a major benchmark of hot desking.
However, most employees don’t like unassigned seating, calling it akin to musical chairs. This is a large stressor on employees and one of the contributing factors to their unhappiness around hot desking. All this was before COVID-19 changed the way we do business.
Of course, everyone’s health and safety are a top priority today, so you want to ensure that employees sit at least six feet apart from one another. This will eliminate desk-sharing, but that’s another much-hated aspect of hot-desking anyway.
More so than just maintaining social distancing, employees will also expect you to add plastic or barriers between desks or coworking spaces and ensure someone comes to the office each day to thoroughly disinfect the space inside and out.
With this dedication to your employee safety and the removal of desk-sharing, you may find that your employees are a little more receptive to your hot-desking office model.
Another reason desk-sharing cannot go on as it’s been in the age of COVID-19 is that no one wants to touch the same thing someone else just did.
More generally, some people don’t want to touch things at all. Touchless technology is about to become very big in offices across the country, those that use hot-desking or not.
This hands-free technology includes video conferencing and/or presentations that use wireless systems or beacon technology, touchless check-ins like QR code scanning, bathrooms that dispense soap or a paper towel by detecting the presence of your hands, and VOIP controls.
So if you are trying to look out to try hot-desking or even let your team try out this concept Nairobi Garage could be perfect for you. Whether you’re growing at lightning speed, going steady, or keeping it lean – we’ve got the perfect hot-desking office option to suit your needs. Get an instant flexible workspace for you to scale up as you need here.