The Dean of my faculty recently made the suggestion that we change the graduate student office spaces to a "hot-desking" or "hoteling" model. This is only being suggested for office space, not lab space which obviously has certain safety/operational requirements that would preclude this model.
In a nutshell, hot-desking involves shared office spaces (normally open-plan) where no individuals are assigned specific seating. Instead, individuals can pick any available desk whenever they enter the office. It is generally expected that individuals do not "claim" certain desks by leaving personal items on the desks.
The current state of the graduate student offices vary from department to department: from small offices shared by a pair of students to open-plan offices with around ten students. Current indications are that the Dean would like to have less desks than students, the rationale being that most grad student offices are half-full at any given time of the day (instead they would be working in the lab, performing TA duties, or working from home). My faculty is Engineering and Applied Science so most students have laboratory/experimental components in their research that take a significant proportion of their time.
The argument that I have seen for this model are that it encourages collaboration, but the more likely explanation in this case is that enrollment is up and space on campus is limited. I have found some articles online about implementing this model in a typical office, but I think there are many ways that graduate schools differ from a typical office environment.
As I said, this was a suggestion by the Dean, so he is looking for input from the students and faculty before they begin drawing up floorplans for renovations. I've taken part in a committee to investigate attitudes among faculty and students towards switching to a hot-desking model. The general feeling is between "not enthusiastic" to "downright hostile". I'm personally on the fence about the idea.
So my question is, what are the impacts of implementing a hot-desking model for graduate student workspaces? I am looking specifically for answers from students, staff and faculty in the sciences, applied sciences and/or engineering who work at a university that currently uses a hot-desking model. Can you say whether there are tangible/measureable benefits or drawbacks to more traditional office models?
I am not looking for an opinion on hot-desking is good/bad, I already have lots of those from my own colleagues, thanks!