I have never seen any studies or data specifically providing evidence that hot seating positively or negatively impacts agent morale or productivity. Anecdotally, I would say that in the right culture, it can be positive for the agents. They can choose where they want to sit, giving them a level of empowerment. It gives agents the chance to interact with a variety of people, and can offer value in disseminating knowledge among agents. Without the right culture, it can be counterproductive, making agents feel like they don't have their own space or they aren't near the right resources to support them. Ideally, call centers with hot seating offer a variety of ways for agents to connect with and communicate with their team and team leaders -- instant messaging, team huddles, walk-around team leaders, bulletin boards (electronic and physical) and other tools like voicemail and email are all useful. In addition, hot seating can be valuable to the call center by reducing facilities costs and simplifying seating configuration management.
Editor's note: Read about the difference between hot seating and desk sharing in the call center.
This was first published in February 2009