Desk space in London is not cheap, a desk in Shoreditch can carry a monthly premium of up to £450. As each of our desks had about 60% utilisation, there was a considerable cost saving to be had. So we decided to join the ever increasing trend and move to hot-desking. We could follow suit with the majority of hot-desking environments and just get laptops and universal docks. However this didn’t cut it for us for the following reasons
- We wanted 2 x 23” monitors and fitting these on a desk plus a laptop is tricky
- We wanted phones that automatically login when you login to your computer
- We wanted desktop power
- We wanted as few cables as possible
- We wanted a cost effective solution for interns, temp staff and casual staff without having to buy and maintain loads of spare laptops
- We wanted engineers to have full control of their desktops and to be able to install what they wanted. Remote desktop services would be too restrictive. Standard desktops would need large hard drives for all the profiles and would be troublesome for people to have to setup each time.
Basically, we wanted all the benefits of hot-desking without any compromises Here’s what our end solution looks like;
Each member of staff gets issued with Windows 10 installed on a solid state drive and plug it in as a kind of 1990’s game cartridge into an eSATA III caddy
Their computer is the same regardless of which desk they use. Windows 10 handles everything swimmingly, we have Dells ranging from 0-3 years old, the boot time for any computer is >60 seconds.
It’s like they pick up and move their desktop every day.
They get the power of the desktop but it’s easier to move than a laptop
The phones were a little trickier, but with the help of our friends at Spitfire, and using 3CX as a backend we looked at Snom phones with single sign on (SSO). The slight issue here was the 3CX SSO. This looks in AD for the ‘computer object’ you’re signing onto, you put the MAC address of the phone into the computer ‘location attribute’ and thus 3CX knows what phone to sign you onto.
- The script queries the MAC address of the Dell hardware the SSD is plugged into
- It then cross references this against a table and finds the MAC address of the Snom phone that the Dell hardware sits next to
- It then updates the ‘computer object’ in AD with the Mac address of the Snom phone during computer boot
- Then when the user logs on, 3CX knows what phone to log the user onto
- When the user logs off their computer the phone logs out as well – this way when the switchboard says a person is available – they really are and haven’t simply forgotten to log out their phone
There may be a better technical solution to hot-desking in world, but we couldn’t find one. This should allow us to do incremental upgrades to desktops and at the same time afford engineers full flexibility. It is literally hot-desking with no technical compromise