“Hot-desking” is a relatively new phenomenon in the South African workplace. At its basic level, it means that instead of having to have physical offices, small businesses can rent a limited number of communal workstations. Individuals do not need their own desk, but can use what is available as and when needed.
“Altering the way your office is structured and how you work can be daunting,” says Simon Campbell-Young, CEO of The Extension. “However, the concept is taking off in a massive way, due to a clear number of benefits for SMEs in particular.”
The first issue, he says, is space. “Physical desks take up more space in an office than anything else. The concept of hot-desking means that far fewer desks are required, reducing office space, and in turn, reducing costs exponentially.”
Lowered costs is the main reason why SMEs opt for hot-desking, he adds. “Hot-desking allows SMEs to have ‘offices’ in prime locations, for a fraction of the cost. Office space, particularly in desirable locations, is prohibitively costly, usually completely out of reach for small businesses and startups. By reducing the amount of space needed hot-desking becomes an extremely cost-efficient method of running a business, with all the amenities in a great location.”
Next, Campbell-Young cites flexibility. “Today’s mobile workforce sees multitudes of employees working remotely, and remaining productive and effective. All they need is a laptop and a WiFi connection. Let’s face it, no employees really need to be in the office five days a week, eight hours a day. Many staff have jobs that involve travel, or being on the road the majority of the time.”
This being the case, he says, why waste time and money giving all these staff who are not in the office much their own workstation? “It makes no sense when considering today’s mobile workforce that are perfectly capable of working in a dynamic, remote and flexible way.”
Another benefit, he says, is hot-desking’s ability to bring employees together. “Particularly in creative environments which involve a lot of brainstorming, bouncing around of ideas, and creative communication, hot-desking can help the creative process by creating an environment that encourages collaboration, teamwork and the fostering of ideas among staff.”
He says an example of a hot-desk facility is The Extension – Studio Hot Desks situated in Cape Town. This is an alternative to traditional long lease offices. “It is tailored to both the individual and small businesses, offering first class desk space in a highly desirable location.”