Facilitating hotdesking in a hybrid campus environment: lessons from the hotdesking experiences of doctoral students in a US public university

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Journal of Corporate Real Estate







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Purpose: University faculty, researchers and graduate students are increasingly working out of hotdesks, nonterritorial workspaces available on a “first come first served” basis and cleared of all work and personal possessions at the end of every work session. The aim of this study of the hotdesking experiences of doctoral students in a US public university facility is to identify the themes and coping behaviors associated with hotdesking and examine their implications for campus workspace design and policymaking. Design/methodology/approach: This study uses multiple methods – direct and participant observation of flex workspaces in the study site, semi-structured interviews of doctoral students hotdesking in the study site and archival research of public institutional data. Findings: Study participants work early or late to secure suitable hotdesks, perform important tasks in locations other than the study site, incur co-working space and home office costs, etc. to cope with the themes of uncertainty, lack of control and lack of workspace continuity associated with hotdesking. Workspace reservation systems, storage lockers and workspaces for diverse tasks can improve the on-campus hotdesking experience. Off-campus support such as financial support for setting up and maintaining a home office, subscription to co-working spaces, etc. can facilitate productivity and foster a sense of connection in hotdesk users. Originality/value: This study contributes evidence that hotdesking doctoral students operate in a hybrid work environment composed of on- and off-campus locations. This study provides original insight that hotdesk users need on- and off-campus workspace support to experience productivity, connection and well-being in a hybrid campus work environment.


Coping with hotdesking, Doctoral student workspaces, Hotdesking in universities, Hybrid workspace policies, Nonterritorial workspaces, Themes of hotdesking


Urban and Regional Planning