HotDesk – The solution to unassigned seating

Unassigned seating is a growing trend in the office environment and is expected to increase dramatically over the next several years.  52% of corporate executives anticipate implementing some level of unassigned seating in the workplace within the next three years, and 38% said they anticipate going to a partially unassigned seating environment according to the 2018 Occupier Survey by United States Commercial Real Estate Service (1).

Factors behind the unassigned seating increase are reduce costs, such as elimination of unnecessary desks, which saves space, equipment, heating, lightning etc., but also cleaning. Cleaning might seem like a small factor in the big picture, but it really is not. A company can easily save a large amount of money by reducing unnecessary cleaning for an office that is rarely full, because quotes from cleaning services are based on space and amount of desks, which means that desks that are not used will not be cleaned but charged for (2).

Space or rent is a more obvious cost-cutting measure because the cost of an office space is based on square feet, so less desks means less space needed, which equals less dollars spent per square foot.

Many workplace strategists believe flexibility in where you work in an office is correlated with increased productivity (3). The option to sit where one wants, be alone or within a group, without concerns of hierarchy is considered a benefit to many younger generation office workers.  One might choose to sit by the window, while another chooses a work spot closer to the lounge, café or bathroom.  Others may choose to work based on temperature, noise or other factors that can be difficult to control. Having the flexibility to move within an office to maximize comfort and accessibility enables employees to focus on work rather the environment they are in.

The trend towards unassigned seating has many benefits for both employers and employees, but there are also disadvantages. The biggest disadvantage is the challenge of finding available desks and finding fellow colleagues who may work in a different location each day.  

As many of Innovant’s enterprise clients began experimenting with an unassigned workplace, questions on how to resolve these challenges led us discover that most hoteling based technologies were very  expensive, complex, and required the use of sensors that created serious security risks that put greater demands on the client’s IT department.  To address this, Innovant partnered with leading wireless charger manufacturer Zens in May 2018 to launch a patented technology in North America called HotDesk.

HotDesk combines wireless charging, occupancy tracking, peer locating and desk booking all in one application.  By simply placing a cell phone on a wireless charger located in each desk or work spot, an employee becomes “checked-in” to that space and become discoverable by colleagues.   What makes HotDesk truly unique is that it works out of band (off the IT network.)  The cell phone acts as the gateway to the cloud simply by placing it on a charger to check in.  IT managers don’t need to oversee its implementation or maintenance.    Equipment costs are incredibly low, with just the cost of the wireless charger itself being the investment.

Perhaps most important, employees do not feel like they are being “tracked” because the sensor is the wireless charger, which is a beneficial accessory that promotes engagement while being completely optional to use.

As more technologies compete in the emerging unassigned workplace, Innovant is betting that the simplest technology will be the winner in the end.

To learn more, please watch the video below for an explanation of the general functionality of the HotDesk app.

Work Cited: 1. 2. 3.