Mobile technology allows some employees to complete tasks anywhere and with the increase in flexible working, some employers are downsizing office space and introducing hot-desking to save on costs.
However, sometimes the space that people carve out in the office is territory that they wish to defend and people can get moody if their favourite pen or hole punch is not duly returned. People want to sit near their friends and some like to have personal effects. Works stations and chairs are all adjusted for personal comfort. This can all be put at risk when an office wants to introduce hot-desking.
Some are not advocates of hot-desking complaining that having fought through the traffic and weather the last thing they want to do when they get into the office is fight for a desk to actually do their work on. For those objecting to open-plan, hot-desking is at another level entirely. If done badly, it can reduce morale, productivity and team spirit. The advocates will tell you that it is a positive thing, breaking up entrenching habits and encouraging flexibility and networking across teams. You get to know more people this way.
So what are the considerations before the policy of hot-desking is introduced:
- An open-plan office is most suitable;
- Policies on flexible working and agile working need to be in place first;
- IT needs to be fit for purpose;
- Meeting rooms and breakout zones are essential;
- Work stations need to be uniform;
- There needs to be slack in the system – don’t cut back on desks too much otherwise people are without a home.
There are also some things that can make a hot-desking policy fail:
- Wasting time having to look for a space;
- Colleagues losing track of each other resulting in less face to face communications;
- Condition of a hot-desk when it is left by others can cause friction (think coffee circles and crumbs!);
- People resent the lack of personal space;
- People that start early get the best space;
- If lockers are then required for storage and breakout areas this can negate the space savings;
- IT not being up to the role;
- When people decide to “adopt” a hot desk
Our Bishopsgate office in the City has hot-desks but having just refurbished my local space in Raunds each member of the team has their own desk and space in an open plan office. Hot-desking in the City doesn’t bother me, I don’t go everyday and the location is fabulous. However, there is something comforting being at your own desk. Please feel free to share your experiences with us.
Hot-desking is one of the topics we will be covering in more detail at my annual seminar this month as we get to grip with employment law issues for 21st Century businesses. There are a few limited spaces available. For more information about the seminar visit my forthcoming employment law events.