What Makes A Good Leader Within Remote Hotdesking Scenarios?


There’s no simple answer to the question of what makes a good leader at work. This is because all workspaces are different and all the people working in them are likewise unique. In a broad sense, a good leader is someone who fully understands the particulars of their work environment and adapts to it.

But in the case of a remote hotdesking environment, different leadership styles can be more or less effective. Let’s take a look at what leadership styles and strategies work best when organisations employ hotdesking as a strategy.

What Is Hotdesking?

At its core, hotdesking is a workplace management strategy that focuses on adaptability and collaboration. The strategy works on the principle that there is no designated seating in the workspace. Team members come in each day and sit down at any available seat.

But a hotdesking environment also allows for more dynamism throughout the workday. As new situations arise, team members can reorganise to form collaborative working groups, as well as more freely share ideas and resources. Hotdesking, therefore, drives collaboration, and as is now well known, collaboration drives productivity.

Hotdesking also has the benefit of increasing the accountability of team members, another key ingredient of business performance. Rather than hiding away in segregated offices or cubicles, team members in a hotdesking environment are always right in the thick of the action.

In a number of different ways, a hotdesking office arrangement also allows for better leader engagement with the team. Because the workspace is open, a leader can communicate ideas quickly, allocate work, resolve disputes, and set clear goals.

Although a hotdesking workspace affords all of these advantages, it takes a good leader to actually make the most of them.

Hotdesking Leadership Styles

Some people are natural leaders. They have a knack for getting the most out of people and for making those people feel good while they do it.

Most people, though, need to become good leaders.

In order to do so, they often try to emulate leadership styles they have witnessed themselves. This can be good and bad. While it’s a good thing to learn from others, what we often perceive to be strong leadership is often ineffective.

Here is a rundown of the most common leadership types you are likely to witness in a workplace:

  • Authoritarian: “We’re going to do it exactly as I say.”
  • Democratic: “Let’s get everyone’s opinion and then we’ll decide.”
  • Transactional: “You do this for me and I’ll do that for you.”
  • Transformational: “I want to help you be the best that you can be.”
  • Laissez-Faire: “I’m going to leave it up to you to work it out.”

Now, it’s often possible to put leaders into different boxes like these. But more often than not, leaders have an array of attributes that cross boundaries between different leadership styles.

So, rather than painting broad brush strokes, let’s take a look at the key attributes of a good leader in a hotdesking environment.


There is much to be said about the need for workplace leaders to be adaptable in a general sense. The rapid pace of the modern business world necessitates that organisations are able to respond to emerging opportunities and challenges faster than ever before. So, leaders need to be comfortable working in a changing environment and making decisions on the fly.

A hotdesking environment is custom-built for this sort of rapid change, so it’s particularly important that leaders are able to make the most of it.

An adaptable leader in a hotdesking environment will be able to feel comfortable reorganising team members into new working groups, getting team members moving between work stations, and moving around the workspace to make sure everyone’s on the same page.

Whatever the particular situation, an adaptable leader doesn’t miss a beat. They make the most of the dynamic situation of a hotdesking environment and leverage it for better organisational performance.

Calmness Under Pressure

Many leaders consider themselves to be great under pressure. Many of them feel they can adapt easily in a high pressure-situation, getting a sense of excitement by it and shifting into another gear.

That’s all well and good for the person in charge. But this kind of increased energy can often have a harmful effect on a team.

The danger is all the more apparent in a hotdesking environment.

In such an environment, a high-octane leader can be prone to start pacing around, scattering team members here and there throughout the workspace with quickfire directions, kicking off a high-stakes game of musical chairs.

While some team members might thrive with an increase in tempo, this kind of situation can also make others feel uncertain and uncomfortable. In particular, it can create a sense of disorganisation, affecting concentration and productivity much like a cluttered desk.

It’s not just that shifting desks five times throughout the day can be unsettling. It’s also that all of this commotion can translate into team members feeling anxious about how quickly they need to get through their work and what kind of repercussions there might be if they don’t.

This added anxiety will likely affect productivity in a negative way. This is because increased stress levels can trigger avoidance strategies, leading to procrastination, distractability, and poor concentration.

To avoid setting off a commotion, a leader in a hotdesking environment needs to be cool and calm.

Interpersonal Skills / Empathy

Rather than just appearing to be calm, a good leader in a hotdesking environment will also communicate directions and other information with tact and empathy. Team leaders need to understand that everyone working beneath them is different, meaning that they might need to adjust their message accordingly.

In particular, team leaders need to be sensitive to the mental health concerns of their team. Around 1 million Australians suffer from depression and a further 2 million suffer from anxiety.

Unfortunately, some workplace leaders lack the interpersonal skills to pick up on the mood of team members, much less be able to moderate their tone or language. Even if a leader is calm, communicating with everyone in the same flat tone can be counterproductive.

Particularly in a hotdesking workplace, leaders need to communicate with their team members on a personal level.

Hotdesking + Good Leadership = Productivity

So, we’ve looked at the key attributes of good leaders in hotdesking environments. In summary, the best hotdesking leaders are those who feel comfortable adapting to a dynamic environment, stay calm while doing so, and communicate with team members in a sensitive way.

With all of this in mind, it’s important to stress, once again, that these leadership attributes are not just necessary for making team members feel more comfortable or to make them like you.

No, these attributes are fundamental to better business performance.

Hotdesking provides all the ingredients of a more collaborative and successful organisation. But it takes a good leader to put them all together to bake that sweet cake of success.


Hot Desk, Work-life, Flexible Workspaces
20 August 2021

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