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Co working vs hot desking – what’s the difference?

Hot desk or co work? Which is which – and what’s best for you?

Flexible working is booming in London. Constant, rapid advances in technology means less of us are tied to a desk, a trend that led author David Goodhart to coin the terms ‘Anywheres’ and ‘Somewheres’ to differentiate between people who can work remotely and those who require a more static, and conventional, set up.

Co working and hot desking offer a flexible working solution for both groups: you get the benefit of a desk in a professional environment without the long-term commitment, hassle or fees of hiring your own office space. Yet the two terms are often used interchangeably and as an entrepreneur or start up it can be hard to know which option is better for you.

Essentially, it comes down to just how flexible you wish to be: hot desking is the ultimate in adaptable, casual working; co working is more permanent. Our handy guide takes you through the ins and outs and ups and down of co working and hot desking so you can decide which one works best for you.

Desk space

In co working spaces such as Wandsworth’s Le Bureau, members are allocated their own desk and small businesses work side-by-side in ‘pods’. Areas can be personalised, you can have your own landline and there are personal safes in which to store valuables.

Hot desking involves working at various desks depending on what’s free. Employees can’t leave personal items on or near the desk and most hot desking offices implement a ‘clean desk’ policy that requires workers to leave the desk in the same state they found it.

Cost

A desk in a London co working space costs anything upwards of £300 depending on the size of the office and type of desk. The price includes all the costs associate with being in a serviced office.

In some London offices, hot desks can be rented by the hour and cost as little as £16. It’s important to check what services are included as things like phone lines and access to meeting rooms often cost extra.

Flexibility

Hot desking certainly wins out in terms of flexibility. Most hot desk providers allow members to work in any of their spaces – particularly convenient if you are meeting clients in various locations. Hot desks can be rented by the hour, day or week, and occasionally by the month.

Whilst co working desks are only available on a monthly basis, rolling contracts are standard and can be cancelled and hired to match the growth of your business.

Community

One of the major benefits of co working is the chance to become part of a community. Members are encouraged to meet at social and networking events run by the office managers. Friendships frequently give rise to business opportunities, and vice versa, and with so many different businesses under one roof, members find they have ready access to anything from HR and accountancy to recruiters, property management, copywriting and design services.

Being in a serviced office don’t have the additional stress of running an office. Everything from Internet to air conditioning and envelopes are provided.

Hot deskers are inherently transient which makes it hard to form close ties with other workers. That said, many hot desk spaces have communal areas where workers can meet, eat and relax.

To complicate matters, some co working spaces also offer hot desks, and individual hot desks can be hired on a rolling basis. Entrepreneurs may also decide that working from home is the most cost-efficient decision of all and what you plump for depends on the size, nature and basic needs of your business.

Yet as more of us strive to achieve a happy work-life balance, there is something to be said for keeping your home life and work life separate, and leaving work at the office come the end of the day.

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