The Best of Both Worlds: Dedicated Desks and Your Coworking Journey

The Yard Coworking Space

In a flexible work ecosystem, choices have expanded to meet the needs of a diverse modern workforce. Contemporary office spaces present hybrid workers—employees with the option to work from home, in person, or in between—with a range of solutions, from on-demand offerings like coworking day passes and one-time meeting room reservations to monthly coworking memberships, dedicated desk rentals, and private offices of all sizes. With the variety of membership models that shared workspaces like The Yard offer to coworking professionals, how do you know which option is right for you?

Whether you’re considering your very first coworking membership, are actively searching for a new space to work, or just want to learn some more about The Yard, this series hopes to provide an engaging resource and demystify the coworking industry for the curious and current members alike. This week, we’ll take the opportunity to explore a membership structure that’s usually regarded as intermediate. A dedicated desk splits the difference between an open coworking membership and a private office rental, combining the benefits of both at a competitive cost. It’s the best of both worlds!

Gensler, a global architecture, design and planning firm, identifies four essential modes of work for an optimal work environment and a positive employee experience: space to focus, collaborate, learn, and socialize. Each of these key areas are invaluable for employee engagement and, taken together, have demonstrable effects on individual productivity and a company’s performance as a whole. A well-designed facility helps coworking professionals find the perfect environment for each moment of their day by striking an effective balance between open seating and on-demand private space. At coworking spaces like The Yard, carefully arranged furniture, fully integrated technology, and other practical aesthetic considerations can divide an open floor plan into smaller social units with different levels of suggested activity. All 10 The Yard locations come with a comfortable and accommodating coworking lounge, supplemented by single-person phone booths available on a first-come, first-served basis and reservable meeting room spaces large enough for a working group summit. With a diverse layout designed to facilitate each essential mode of working, you can activate the full potential of a coworking membership.

The Yard Coworking Space

A hot desk, or floating desk, is the foundation of a coworking space. Typically the most cost-effective level of coworking membership, a hot desk rental includes all the amenities of a shared workspace like The Yard—24/7 space access, office supplies and technology, and on-site support from a dedicated managerial staff—but requires coworking members to find their own seating based on each day’s availability.

In many cases, the flexibility of an open floor plan facilitates the connection and community-building that makes shared workspaces so special. The diversity of industry and organizational structure within a coworking space, along with a range of on-demand offerings available to one-time visitors and a regular calendar of on-site events, presents members with an array of unique business perspectives and abundant networking opportunities. Coworking spaces are located at the intersection of work and play: in fact, that’s why The Yard has its name! In a flexible workspace, an open floor plan can be an accommodating coworking lounge during the regular business day and an art gallery or concert venue after office hours, with nearly any number of additional uses and possible formats. At The Yard, you can engage with this aspect of our offering on whatever level feels most comfortable. If you’d like to preserve the social element of a shared working environment, but in a space to call your own, a dedicated desk rental is one way to make that happen!

Despite all the personal and professional benefits of a coworking membership, it doesn’t meet every hybrid worker’s specific needs. Indeed, Gensler identifies some possible drawbacks to a hot desk arrangement. In the latest editions of their U.S. Workplace Survey, a workplace research initiative conducted every year since 2005, the firm reports a degree of dissatisfaction or decreased effectiveness in unassigned seating among certain respondents. Some of these potential pitfalls come down to a company culture with room to improve, or a workplace lacking the necessary infrastructure to maximize employee experience. For example, a facility without a regular maintenance schedule or staff may exacerbate concerns around cleanliness. Similarly, a space with inadequate acoustics or soundproofing material may result in increased noise complaints from coworking members. These issues could also be a matter of personal preference, or an individual employment structure with different prerequisites for high performance. A dedicated desk rental presents an intriguing alternative within a coworking space.

In an issue of Charter, a business newsletter published in partnership with Time Magazine, authors paired insights from organizational analysis and behavioral psychology to understand how workers navigate unassigned seating. Often, even when office workers aren’t assigned a desk, they will assign one to themselves. Organizational studies experts have found that seats on a corner, in a warmer area, or with a specific or desirable view will fill up first, and a number of businesses experimenting with open seating have observed that their employees will even come to the office earlier in the morning to claim these spots. Over time, colleagues come to recognize their colleagues’ seating preferences, essentially resulting in unofficial seat assignments. This natural tendency in an unassigned seating arrangement allows employees to feel increased ownership over their workspace by regulating their relationships with coworkers and colleagues. If the energy it takes to find a seat in open coworking each morning feels stressful, or disruptive to your regular workflow, you may find success in a shared workspace with the comfort in predictability that a dedicated desk provides.

Just as the quality of your work is shaped by the quality of your environment, the kind of work you do determines the kind of environment that will bring out your best. Workers in technology, consumer goods, or finance may find hot desks a natural complement to their regular flow. Likewise, there are other industries represented in coworking spaces like The Yard that demand a higher standard of confidentiality. Coworking professionals on a call-heavy schedule, or who work in a field especially dense with proprietary information—like the legal, governmental, or energy industries—may not be the best fit for a floating desk, even in a space with plenty of available phone booths or call areas. The effectiveness of an open arrangement for prospective members may also depend on their role itself, regardless of industry: in a recent U.S. Workplace Survey, Gensler reported that employees in more senior positions are more receptive to unassigned seating, even though they are not more likely than any other employee to utilize a hot desk. The hallmark of coworking spaces like The Yard is that, no matter your field or regular routine, there is a membership option that will meet you where you are. As you consider all of these factors, a dedicated desk rental is one worth exploring.

The freedom and flexibility of a floating desk is best enjoyed by employees requiring little more than a laptop and a charging station at a convenient distance. This also tends to vary by industry! Coworking members with more specific equipment requirements may struggle to perform in open or unassigned seating. When the potential stressors of finding a space to work each morning are further complicated by either the time it takes to put together your regular workstation or the impracticality of commuting with all of the tools and supplies you need, a floating desk doesn’t improve your productivity or performance. A dedicated desk rental allows coworking members with a multi-monitor or standing desk setup, additional storage needs, or any desired customizations to make the most of a collaborative working environment in a more intimate and personal setting.

Similarly, while every location at The Yard is equipped with a contemporary and comprehensive surveillance system, the added security of a dedicated desk is a perk worth considering. Some dedicated desk rentals provide you access to a personal space, like a private office, with four walls and a lockable door: you’d receive not only a virtual fob to the entire facility, but a physical key that’s yours to keep for the length of your membership. All dedicated desks, though, allow you to store your valuables overnight knowing they’ll be safe and secure.

If you’re looking to take all the opportunities for connection and community that a shared workspace offers coworking professionals, but are hoping for a touch more privacy or predictability, a dedicated desk brings elements from a coworking membership and private office rental together for a truly unique working environment and experience. Book a tour at The Yard location of your choice, and we’ll be happy to tell you more!

Sam Kurzydlo

Sam Kurzydlo

Community Manager @ The Yard: Greenpoint