George Town Interiors

Designing a Hot Desk Office Space

Hot desking is an innovative, space sharing model of a work environment where flexible seating and state of the art technology allow the workplace to have more employees than desks. Unlike a traditional work space where documents and tools are stored for a designated worker, in a hot desk office space, work is stored online and follows the worker to the computer where they log on. This eliminates the need for workers to have designated work space.

Hot desk workspaces are designated to a task instead of a worker. For example, a client service centre may have a group of call centre work stations that are set up with duo monitors, quality head sets and a white noise machine to reduce sound levels. Another set of work stations may be at a front counter that is open to the public. Workers can migrate from one type of work station to another depending on where they are needed. Because their work is stored and accessed online, there is no need to move equipment or supplies with the worker.

The hot desk environment is an ideal cost cutter in workplaces where employees have different schedules or in locations where business space is at a premium, such as in Central London. A worker may take over a workstation at the beginning of a shift, just as the previous worker is finishing up for the day. For a group of employees who travel frequently or spend time out of the office, hot desks are an efficient way to walk in, sit down and start working right away without needing to set up their workspace.

In many offices, ghosting machines are used so that workers can access their files and software from different locations. A ghosted computer has its contents "cloned", or transferred to another hard drive. This is a way for workers to be able to use software from other devices without having to reinstall the programs.

Hot desking relies on advanced software tools that make use of cloud computing or private intranet software to make files accessible to mobile workers. There are thousands of applications available to companies that want to streamline their work spaces. Here are some of the top performers.

Carbon Copy Cloner and Drive Image

This free software can be used to ghost your computer. Install it on the hard drive that you plan to clone and the software will walk you through the steps to organise your files and set up a destination hard drive.

Skype

It wasn't very long ago that the idea of video conferencing was left to the science fiction writers. But now, Skype is commonly used professionally to have face-to-face chats with people all over the world. The service can be used with most smart phones, tablets, laptops or desk tops and works with all the major operating systems. Skype can also be used for voice calls, instant messaging or file transfers. Users can even collaborate on-line by sharing their desktop.

Dropbox

Dropbox is a file sharing and backup system that allows you to access files anywhere that you have internet access. Rather than transfer files with a USB storage device, you can add it to a Dropbox folder. Log in to Dropbox from another location and your files are instantly available to you. Users can also organise their Dropbox into different files with varied permissions. So the project files can be in a shared folder that your team can access, while private files stay private in another folder.

Basecamp

A very simple, intuitive program, Basecamp is online collaboration software that is used to manage projects with shared task lists and team messaging. Basecamp is used to delegate tasks, organise projects and for group discussions.

FreshBooks

A very popular invoicing application, FreshBooks integrates neatly with Basecamp and keeps track of clients, projects and invoicing for work. FreshBooks even keeps track of timesheets and converts them to invoices.

Google Docs

With Google Docs, several people can work on the same spreadsheet or document. It doesn't have as many features as Microsoft Word or Excel, but it has enough for most users. Coworkers can share documents to collaborate on logging issues, creating budgets or editing written work. Many small companies use Google Docs to house process documents or instructions that need to be maintained by several people.