June 28, 2017

What are the benefits and drawbacks of hot desks vs. dedicated desks? And why should you ultimately offer both?

hot desks vs. dedicated desks

Renting desks by the day, month, or hour is the primary way a coworking space makes its money. There are essentially two ways to offer memberships in exchange for desk space: hot desk and dedicated desk rentals. Which approach is right for your space?

Hot desks: desks and/or seating areas shared communally amongst a group of members

i.e. John’s a freelancer who’s only in town two weeks of every month. He pops by the venue about 3-5 times a month and books himself a hot desk to get focused work done.

Dedicated desks: desks rented out to one specific individual

i.e. Tina runs a small, but successful ecommerce business. She comes into the venue everyday and sits at the same desk. She leaves her computer monitor and wireless keyboard on her desk and has a small locked storage cabinet where she keeps all her packing supplies, letterhead, and notes.

A look at the specific benefits and drawbacks of hot desks vs. dedicated desks

On the surface, they’re both desk rentals, but in all actuality they really couldn’t be more different. To illustrate why, we’ve outlined for you the basic benefits and drawbacks of hot desks and dedicated desks.

Why choose one when you can have both?

Ultimately, most coworking spaces find that a mix of both hot desks and dedicated desks is the ideal offering, as the two types of memberships can work together to maximize the benefits and cancel out many of the drawbacks of only offering hot desks or dedicated desks.

Cast a wider net

Everyone wants something different out of coworking. For example, a freelance copywriter might only need a laptop, while a 3D artist needs two monitors, a desktop computer, and a tablet. For others, it’s not about the equipment at all but simply a way to get out of the house 3-5 times a month or finding a workplace where they can hunker down and slay 60+ hour workweeks. Simply put, offering both dedicated and hot desks ensures you attract a mix of members that keeps your community dynamic and your members engaged.

Create a steady, ongoing revenue stream

Including both a fixed and variable pricing model allows you to optimize your growth efforts. Both hot desks and dedicated desks can be rented out on an ongoing monthly fee. That allows you to have a reliable MRR, supplemented by your more variable streams of revenue such as event rentals, drop-in visitors, and shorter-term memberships. This diversifications allows you to mitigate risk.

Enjoy the opportunity to experiment

The great thing about planning out your space is that you don’t need to commit long term to a specific number of hot desks vs. dedicated desks upfront. At the end of the day, desks are desks. Make an educated guess at the optimal ratio of hot desks to dedicated desks, measure the success of your initial hypothesis, and adjust accordingly. If you realize it’s harder than you thought to sell dedicated desk memberships, convert a bank of dedicated desks to hot desks. If your members are clamoring to commit to a desk of their own, add a bit more storage and convert some hot desks over to dedicated.

Foster a lively, bustling community

When you have mix of dedicated and hot desks, your community benefits from the best of both worlds. Your dedicated desk members dictate and perpetuate the tone of the community, while your hot desk members inject a freshness that keeps a community from feeling stagnant.