Hot desking is gaining popularity.

Comparable to miners who “hot-bed”, hot desking occurs when corporate types share desks in an office on an “as needs basis”, but with fewer bed bugs then are sometimes present in “hot bedding”.

The Benefits of Hot Desking

Hot desking is becoming increasingly common in our tech-based society. The benefits of shared office spaces include:

  • Flexibility while still providing office services and meeting room facilities;
  • Facilitating solo workers to collaborate with other solo workers;
  • Keeps administrative costs down; and
  • Assists consultants, small business owners and part-time workers, such as parents to utilise shared office space.

What are the Legal Considerations?

Shared office spaces can seem a great idea in theory, but you should also ask the following questions:

  1. What are the practical effects of this arrangement?
  2. How can both the owner of the shared office and the hot desk user protect themselves in such an arrangement?

What are Some Practical Considerations?

The shared office owner generally presents any party wishing to use the shared office space with a non-exclusive licence agreement for the shared office space. This licence agreement sets out the terms and conditions for using the space and governs the relationship between the parties.

It is important both parties document the arrangement and read any documents carefully before signing anything.

What Does the Office Space Owner/Proprietor Need to Consider?

When preparing a non-exclusive licence agreement for a shared office space, the premises’ proprietor should have a clearly drafted contract. This applies whether the property is owned or leased for hot desking, and minimally should set out the following:

  • Parties’ details;
  • The basis of the licence agreement – is it a one-off, casual arrangement? Or a standard full time or part-time arrangement?
  • What is the fee charged and on what basis is it charged (i.e., hourly)?
  • Is pre-booking required?
  • What space is used?
  • What services the shared office offers. Are there internet, phone and meeting room services attached? If so, do these services cost any extra?
  • What are the rules of the shared office space?
  • How can both parties terminate the agreement?
  • Is any behaviour unacceptable that will immediately terminate the agreement?
  • What are the hours of access?
  • Does the user of the space require insurances or will this be taken out by the owner?

We suggest that if a proprietor is considering establishing a shared or serviced office business, that a commercial leasing lawyer drafts the initial agreement to avoid disputes between prospective users of the shared office space.

What do the Hot Desk Users Need to Consider?

Users of shared office spaces should ask to see the licence agreement allowing them to use the space and consider the following:

  • What is the basis of the licence agreement – is it a one off or casual or a standard full time or part time arrangement?
  • What is the fee charged and on what basis is it charged (i.e., hourly)
  • Is pre-booking required?
  • What space is used?
  • What the shared office offers by way of services. Are there internet, phone and meeting room services attached? If so, do these services cost any extra?
  • What are the rules of the shared office space?
  • How can both parties terminate the agreement?
  • What are the hours of access?
  • Do they require insurance?

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Whether you are you a hot desk user or a shared-office space owner, let us know if you have any questions on 1300 544 755.

Emma Heuston

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