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Is telephone Hot Desking really needed anymore?

Is telephone Hot Desking really needed anymore? 1

By Simon Horton, VP of International Sales at Sangoma

The world of work has totally transformed as we all know, shining a light on every practice workforces used to undertake, and assessing whether they are indeed necessary or outdated now. Of course, arguably the biggest spotlight has been on the office itself – do staff need to be present and working in an office five days a week? Clearly the answer is no, but then what happens to the phone system we rely on daily when at the office? Many companies rely on phone hot desking, seeing employees travel from space to space armed with their personal phone number to use from phone to phone. But in the world of hot-desking, is this still required? Or has the evolution of unified communications seen this become yesterday’s news, along with the notion that every employee needs to work five days in an office. 

But before I answer that question, and why I even asked it in the first place, we need to define what hot desking is. Hot desking is going to the office and sitting where you want. Maybe your company doesn’t have assigned offices or set seating spaces, so freedom of choice is total. And remember, hot desking is only going to become more ingrained in the world of work as the hybrid model of working from home continues to become the norm. Gone are the days of employees competing for seats in the morning, and having to clear their workspaces every evening, when hot desking first entered the corporate scene. 

A company can now occupy a smaller footprint at the physical location since everyone isn’t there every day, leading to lower overheads and real estate costs. However, employees need their office phone number regardless of where they are sat, so when they receive calls on the phone or direct line at the physical location they sit at, they are phone calls specifically for them. 

And when that comes to unified communications, which is the stance from which I write this, it means staff members taking their phone number to wherever they sit to work. And if there is already a physical phone at the place they choose to sit from day to day, that means they need to log in and tell the phone system that they are at that place – and that the physical phone at that desk should be accessing and connecting their individual company phone extension

However installing this feature into a unified communication system is not the simplest thing. Some unified communication systems support hot desking, but many do not. This needs to change, and the industry needs to keep up with the rapidly changing world of work and employee expectations. 

But is hot desking of a physical phone an obsolete concept with Unified Communications? Does it even need to be in Request For Proposals (RFPs) from businesses anymore? Because with unified communication systems, a worker can make and take phone calls with their work extension from their computer, or smartphone, via their unified communications platform. And with working from home well established, and indeed work from anywhere models too as long as an internet connection is available, this needs to become the norm.

A unified communications system must truly unite every device and space that someone wishes to have at their disposal – this equates to a seamless communications experience, boosting not only productivity and efficiency, but also customer experience too. No matter where one may be working – whether from the office, from a hotel room, in their garden or while watching the big match, they can take and make calls easily. 

So, the answer to the question posed is that with a robust and thorough unified communications system in place, telephone hot desking will continue to exist, but in a different guise. Every platform an employee uses will allow for individual calls to be placed and taken, and communication with colleagues and staff is seamless. However, that’s not to say that physical phones are no longer required or wanted by some – and if that’s the case, then a solid unified communications system will dial into the desk phone too and allow for that to become another part of the overall communications platform used by a company. Telephone hot desking still exists, but just like the world of work itself, it has evolved into something far more streamlined and integrated. 

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