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Is hot desking more than just a craze?

Published by Hunter Headline on 4th June 2015

Over the last few years, when people discuss office interior design, hot desking has been a buzzword.

Basically, hot desking means that staff don’t have a dedicated desk but take whichever desk is available at the time.

There are a few pros, such as the money that can be saved by businesses and the flexibility afforded by hot desking.

But this needs to be weighed up against the cons, the major one is the differences in how people like to work. Imagine a management accountant working quietly on compliance reports sitting between two marketing executives brainstorming the latest creative headline. Not a marriage made in heaven!

Also, human beings are typically territorial. They like their own space and it actually gives them a sense of belonging. This means that workers who hot desk can feel alienated from the workplace culture. They must also set up their desk space, chair and phone to suit them each new working day.

Can hot desking work for your business?

Firstly, consider the make-up of your workforce. Sales people or consultants who spend a lot of time away or in meetings will adapt to hot desking much better than desk-based workers. Hot desking can work well if there is a high proportion of part-time or contract workers, as they will be used to somebody else occupying ‘their’ space.

Younger ‘Gen Y’ staff will also be more adaptable to a hot desk office layout than older workers.

Next, consider confidentiality. Office design has to take into account the need for privacy and confidentiality. That applies to both verbal communications and storage of paperwork. Hot desking is not ideal for highly sensitive environments.

Hot tips for hot desking!

  1. Consider making hot desking just part of a move towards wider flexible working practices. Communal working areas, breakout rooms, zoning and adaptable furniture solutions can bring the benefits of hot desking with less resistance from staff. Productivity and motivation should always be the key focus because any potential cost savings from hot desking are insignificant when compared to a demotivated workforce.
  2. Have rules around desk sharing. Make sure people leave a clean and tidy desk, ready for the next person.
  3. For areas that contain hot desks, use creative office interior design techniques to make the zone comfortable. You can make an area feel personal without having to ‘personalise’.
  4. Create a communal area that gives staff a familiar place to take a coffee break or have impromptu meetings. This is especially important if there is the potential for teams to be divided.
  5. Consult with staff to find out what measures can be put in place to keep them feeling connected to the workplace.
  6. Give each employee a personal storage area. Ideally, give them both a caddy that can be taken to their desk for the day and also a locker for storing personal items.
  7. Talk to the experts. Evoke Projects has a team of office interior designers, project managers and builders to offer you shorter lead times, integration of design and costing, no duplicate margins, no risks and no surprises.

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