What is the difference between hot-desking and co-working?

The demand for flexible working initiatives has skyrocketed in recent years, particularly since the coronavirus pandemic showed just how productive staff could be when they worked from the comfort (and safety) of their homes.

As more businesses are eager to benefit from a professional working environment without the long-term commitment, hassle or fees of leasing office space, our hot desks and dedicated co-working desks in Harrogate have become an increasingly popular option.

But which option is best for your company’s needs?

Allow the team at 1 Cardale Park to explain more about co-working and hot-desking – including the similarities and differences – so you can make an informed decision.

What is a hot desk?

A hot desk is a desk or seating area that’s shared between various people at different times.

Nobody has an assigned desk space or seat, meaning you could end up sat next to someone new every day. And personal resources and supplies should not be left on the desk at the end of the day, as you can’t guarantee you’ll be in the same seat tomorrow (or whenever you’re next in the office).

Hot-desking is a fantastic option for businesses that encourage hybrid working, allowing professionals to work from home or the office on certain days. Aside from providing greater flexibility to suit busy lifestyles, businesses can significantly reduce their overheads by renting fewer desks.

Hot-desking is also useful for combatting the isolation of working remotely – something which many freelancers and early startups experience. It can boost social interaction and offers plenty of collaboration opportunities, allowing remote workers to share ideas with people from different departments and companies.

What is a co-working space?

Co-working is an arrangement where workers from different teams and companies come together to work in a shared office space.

Co-working desks are primarily used by SMEs, freelancers and new startups who require office space at an affordable rate. However, they also offer a sense of community – allowing individuals to escape the drudgery of working alone at home and, instead, connect with like-minded professionals.

When you surround yourself with driven and focused workers, you’ll be able to work more productively and take advantage of networking opportunities.

Something else to bear in mind about co-working is that you won’t be tied into any long-term contracts. This means you can concentrate on making your business thrive – upscaling or downscaling to new premises as and when you need to.

The differences between hot-desking and co-working environments

Though hot-desking and co-working share several similarities, including shorter contracts and access to various free and pay-as-you-go facilities and services, there are a few distinct differences to be aware of.

These include:

Desk space

In co-working environments, individuals are usually allocated a desk that they will sit at every time they visit the office. And by having a designated spot, they can often have their own telephone and direct dial number – making it easier for them to liaise with clients and other departments.

Hot-desking, on the other hand, involves an open seating plan where desks are taken on a first-come, first-served basis. In most cases, there will be a ‘clean desk’ policy in place, meaning that desks will need to be tidied and left in the state they were found.  


Hot-desking is (by far) the most flexible option of the two. Workers can choose where they sit based on what’s available when they arrive at the office. And desk space can typically be rented on an ad-hoc basis, either by the day or month.

Though co-working provides companies with flexible office space, desks are usually only available to book per month. At 1 Cardale Park, we also provide 6-month contracts for those who require a long-term solution.


The price you’ll pay for co-working space often depends on the size of the office and the type of desks and facilities available. Prices start from £175 per month (+VAT) for a dedicated desk at our co-working space in Harrogate. Or £150 per month (+VAT) if you opt for a 6-month contract.

With hot desks, seats aren’t reserved and you’ll have to take all your belongings with you every day. However, hot-desking is considered the cheapest way to co-work, with day passes starting from as little as £20 per day – granting you access to all our facilities in Harrogate from 9am until 5pm. If you’d like to hot-desk two or three times a week, paying £125 for a monthly pass will work out cheaper.


If you’re a new startup or a freelancer, co-working will give you the chance to become part of a thriving business community. Social interactions and collaborations will be encouraged and you’ll find out about all sorts of networking events and opportunities.

Although hot-desking is the ultimate in flexible, adaptable working, it can be harder to form relationships with your co-workers when you’re in a different seat at different times. With that said, our hot desk spaces include communal areas where you can meet new people and socialise or relax and take a break from your work.

Is a co-working space right for you?

When deciding whether to hot desk or co-work, it usually comes down to how much flexibility you need.

For example, if you usually work from home but want to network and meet other creative people outside of your company, hot-desking is the ideal solution for you.

However, if you’re a freelancer or a small business, co-working will ensure you don’t miss out on the buzz of the office and the banter in the breakroom. It will provide you with a designated desk that allows you to form close ties with workers from other teams and companies whilst working distraction-free in a professional office environment.

To find out more about our co-working space and to book your desk in Harrogate, contact the team at 1 Cardale Park on 07852492168 or email info@1cardalepark.co.uk.

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Sophie Phillips

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