The death of the assigned desk…
Long gone are the days of the assigned desk where one employee equaled one designated desk. With the way we work constantly evolving and being redefined, the requirement for designated seating arrangements is fast becoming extinct in the modern workplace.
With today's office now home to a mixture of permanent, mobile and freelance staff, it means that more and more companies are seeing desks lie empty and unused on a regular basis. By carrying out simple desk occupancy studies it is often the case that you actually don't need half the desks that you think you do, and that these empty desks are costing you not only space but money too. With flexible working on the rise, as well as the cost of office rental rates, many companies are turning to hot-desking as a space saving solution, seeing as much as 30% reduction in office running costs as a result.
The benefits of hot-desking
Apart from reducing the amount of wasted space in your office, hot-desking also offers a range of other benefits to your workforce as well as your business. With no permanent seating arrangements employees are forced to work in a variety of different areas within the business. This allows colleagues from different departments to interact with those who they would not have normally on a day to day basis, allowing thoughts and ideas to be spread across the company, leading to a more open company culture.
With collaborative working on the rise, hot-desking fits in perfectly allowing employees to choose the correct working environment for them and the task in hand. Whilst the designated desk restricts employees from doing this, hot-desking means employees can move freely around the workplace, retreating to a quiet place for some head down space or a team table in order to bounce some ideas around.
Why it's not working for you...
In theory, the concept of hot-desking is a great idea, however when put into practice many companies struggle to implement it effectively within their organisations. So, where are you going wrong? Here are a 5 of common problems companies are facing when implementing a hot-desking approach and some simple yet effective solutions…
Not allowing for personalisation.
Whilst hot-desking does not allow for personalisation in the sense of photos of loved ones, potted plants and other desktop accessories, by creating a well-designed workplace for your employees you are able to not only inspire them, but give them that much needed sense of belonging within the organisation. In recent years office design has shifted towards a more holistic approach blurring the boundaries between the home and the office so that people feel comfortable and relaxed in their work surroundings, giving them a sense of ownership at work.
Not considering technology.
In order for hot-desking to be successful the right technology and IT infrastructure must be put in place. Not only is important that all your staff are able to be mobile through the use of mobile devices such as laptops and tablets, but you must also consider communicative technology to ensure your staff can be reached no matter where they are working within the building. This might include using internal communication software such as internal social networks, phone systems or an instant messaging software.
Not encouraging your employees to move around the office.
Although the intention for hot-desking is to allow your employees to be mobile and move around the office, many will do the complete opposite and will find themselves setting up camp at one desk for the whole day and avoiding movement in the fear that they will lose their desk to someone else. This sedentary behavior will not only lead your employees to being less productive but can have detrimental effects to their physical health. Encourage your employees to get moving by centralising communal devices such as printers, copiers and bins as well as creating spaces specifically designed for different tasks
Not implementing a clear desk policy.
One of the main benefits of hot-desking is that it should encourage people to cut down on the desktop clutter and keep desks clear. However, if this does not happen then this can start to cause problems. In order to solve this a strict clear desk policy must be put in place to ensure that people do not 'claim' desks by leaving personal items and paper work out. This can be done by implementing simple rules like, if a desk is empty for an hour or more, it should be left clear so others can use it.
Not having the right storage in place.
Without a personally assigned desk your employees will not have anywhere to store files and basic office equipment. Make sure there is adequate, well organised storage available in a communal area so that they are able to keep desk tops clear. Use lockers and personal storage solutions such as boxes and desk tidies as well as communal storage accessible to all for shared files and reference material.
Not having the correct ergonomic furniture available.
If your employees are expected to sit at a range of different desks you must ensure that the furniture you provide is fully adjustable so that the user can adjust and change it to suit their individual ergonomic requirements. Office chairs should offer adjustable arms, height and lumbar support in order to fully support each individual. If your office chairs don't have these features then people will either be reluctant to using different desks or if they do, suffer from problems such as back pain or other musculoskeletal disorders.
It's not just chairs you must consider - computer screens should be on flexible monitor arms, allowing the user to bring their screen to the right eye level in order to avoid eye strain.
When implementing hot-desking within your own organisation the most important thing to remember is to consider the needs of your employees and listen to what they want. Whilst many employees may not favour hot-desking, by asking them what it is they do not like or dislike about it you will be able to design around this.
For more help and guidance about implementing hot desking in your office design please get in touch with a member of our team today!
You can get in touch by either calling us on: 0845 130 9066 or by filling out our contact form and we will get back to you as soon as possible.