Some Like it Hot

Hot-desking gets a bad rap. It was an experimental concept to reduce office space requirements that has been losing favor because it hurts morale, can cause social tension, and is arguably un-hygienic. In hot-desking, employees don’t have a single personal space. Employees check into vacant workstations with a login. Upon Login, their personal, virtual desks are immediately available. When their shifts end they log out and a new person uses the same space. If you know the origin of the term, you’ll understand the downside. The term hot-desking comes from the practice of hot-bunking on submarines. Because space is tight on a sub, up to three sailors can share the same bunk. When their shifts end they get into bunks that other sailors have just vacated, and the beds are still warm. Eeeewwww.

From the concept of hot-desking, however, comes a useful feature of VoIP communication, also referred to as hot-desking. When SIP phones are hot-desking enabled they allow the phone’s user to move a personal phone configuration anywhere there is an Internet connection.

Depending on the phone model, an SIP phone can have phonebooks, speed dials, key configurations, and even touch screen wallpaper stored as part of the user’s personal configuration. One of the key advantages of VoIP communication is the high level of personal customization and control each user has over his or her own phone workspace. Hot-Desking allows that personalized, highly productive configuration to follow the user anywhere in the office, country, or world.

I’ll Follow You Anywhere

With hot-desking, a sales representative could work at a main office in Cleveland on Tuesday, then sit down at a satellite office on Wednesday, and get not only new voice mail, but also the entire phone configuration. Unlike follow-me or call forwarding, there is no rerouting involved. The current login is the number. The phone number, configuration and everything about the user is in the current phone. The phone back in Cleveland is deactivated.

A VoIP administrator or user can even schedule hot-desk logins. An employee working in New York Monday through Wednesday could arrive at a desk in Tulsa on Thursday and have the personal phone configuration waiting.
The implications are significant. Many physicians will have two or three offices with rotating schedules. In the past, it meant complex and expensive forwarding and often maintaining a reception staff in an otherwise empty office. With hot-desking, the team can be in their Rochester main office Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday, 30 miles away in Spring Valley, the entire phone configuration — with the doctor’s and each staff member’s personal phone set-ups — will be waiting when they all arrive at their rural clinic. Thursday Morning, when they are back in Rochester, everything will be back as it was when they left Tuesday evening.

SIP phone hot-desking has a role in nearly every modern office. For mobile staff, sales staff, telecommuters, or any company with multiple locations, hot-desking extends the productivity benefits of a familiar phone workspace anywhere in the world.

Frontier Computer Corp. is the world’s largest distributor of Peplink products, which are essential tools for establishing the solid connections needed for Voice over IP. We are also a distributor for industry leading SIP Phone Manufacturers Yealink and Grandstream. Both Grandstream and Yealink phones are ready for hot-desking. Visit for an on-line catalog of SIP phones.

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