First they came for the walls around your work station to leave your desk and workplace possessions contained within a neat but exposed compact cubicle. Now your boss might be coming back for your desk, too. Hot-desking, or the practice of arriving at work each day without having a regular desk to call your own, is making a return in many workplaces to reignite heated debate on the so-called merits of arguably one of the biggest management mistakes in history. Somehow, someone somewhere managed to earn big dollars convincing our brightest leaders that taking away dedicated work spaces for employees to allow everyone to muck in together was great for productivity. The rest, as they say, is history - the hot-desker was born. Prior to the pandemic, hot-desking experienced a peak in popularity - certainly with employers. Bosses increasingly saw it as an ideal way to cram the workforce into a smaller space and, in doing so, make considerable savings in leasing costs. Besides, mixing people up was supposed to build better bonds between staff, improve communications and collaboration and make everyone more efficient. Or so the theory went. Employees, on the other hand, abhorred the practice. They argued that by not providing a team member with a desk to call home while in the office meant they denied the employee a sense of identity and ownership needed to fully invest in their work. When COVID-19 hit, the tables were turned. Bosses did everything in their power to stop workers putting their grubby little mitts on their colleagues' possessions. This meant assigning employees their own workstations to limit the spread of the virus - and telling employees to work from home. It is not hard to see why bosses are once again warming to the concept of hot-desking. Many see it as providing them with increased flexibility to manage their office space. As a business grows and staff numbers increase, hot-desking allows bosses to cram more workers into the same space than traditional fixed-desk arrangements allows. When there is a downturn, employees simply spread out. Here is how it works. A company with a headcount of, say, 200 might only make available 150 work stations at any one time. This is because on a daily basis many employees will be out of the office at external meetings, some will be working from home, others will be taking holidays or are off sick and a proportion of the total headcount will comprise part-time and casual staff - in other words those who do not require the use of a desk every day. READ MORE: While hot-desking might provide a solution to managing a workplace's accommodation needs more cost effectively, it represents a false economy. The savings achieved through stripping employees off their personal working spaces will generally be lost through reduced commitment. If you want to upset a team of workers fast, let them know the workplace is going back to hot-desking. It is a better way to destroy team culture than telling everyone they will be whacked with a 10 per cent salary cut in their next pay packet. Distractions and lack of privacy aside, there are any number of other steamy issues for hot-deskers to contend with. For starters, there is the burning issue of daily seat selection. Where an individual sits is decided on a first-come-first-served basis. Early arrivals get their pick of seats. Later arrivals who, for example, drop their kids off at school first or have an early external meeting get the leftovers. There is also the matter of default seat ownership. This happens when the same colleagues claim the same seats each and every day. Moving in on their territory is a controversial move and can spark a heated confrontation. Besides, the uncertainty of not having a dedicated space can be unnerving to some employees. Humans are territorial in nature and require boundaries to function effectively. A regular space ties them to their place of work - without a permanent seat, some workers feel lost or unsettled. On top of that, a dedicated space allows people to curate their own space with their own possessions and gives them their own office personality. And in larger workplaces, it can be difficult to locate colleagues you need to connect with when they move around vast office spaces on a day-to-day basis. At the very least, the absence of permanent desks can spell discomfort for many employees. At its worst, the practice can send a message that employees do not come first, even if the rhetoric is the complete opposite. There is not even a little cold comfort in store for those forced to hot-desk. Most hot-deskers will tell you it is de-personalising and frustrating and provides a daily dose of uncertainty - you do not know where you will be seated and whom you will end up next to. When you take away someone's dedicated workplace, you often remove part of what anchors them to the workplace. Perhaps it is time to close the office door on hot-desking once and for all.