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Hot desking- the death of the personal workspace?

There’s some controversy about whether hot desking in the office is a good thing or not. It can cut office costs by around 30 per cent and lead to a more efficient work place – but there is some debate about whether it’s good for staff morale.

And done wrongly, it’s not good for staff morale at all.

So, if you’re going to sound the death knell on personalised workspaces in your office, then make sure you get it right from the get go.

Here are some tips on how to make a successful move to a smoking hot hot-desking workspace…

Explain why you are moving to a hot desking environment

Don’t simply force hot desking or activity-based working on your office employees without explaining why you are doing it.

Try to get your staff in favour of the idea early on by setting out some of the advantages to this new working arrangement.

Just a few advantages of hot desking are:

  • An open-plan office layout can be more efficient & less hierarchical
  • A tidier, clutter free environment
  • Done right, hot desking can help improve employee productivity and satisfaction
  • Sitting with different people every day can build bonds across the whole company rather than in a single department
  • Staff can learn new skills from new work neighbours
  • In some offices, more than half of desks go unused all week
  • An assigned desk is a waste of both space & money for staff who are out of the office on a regular basis
  • More staff can work remotely from home, adding flexibility for employees

Have a consistent hot desking policy

One of the major problems which frustrates people who don’t like hot desking is that there are no rules in place.

With no ground rules set out for how the policy is going to work, the office can feel a bit like a free-for-all environment. And that’s only ever going to lead to trouble.

So decide on a set policy and make sure you and your staff adhere to it.

Answer questions such as:

  • Is every free desk available to any member of staff at any time?
  • Do office staff need to book a desk in advance?
  • Do cleaners tidy the workspaces or should all staff clean up after themselves?
  • Are personal items allowed at workspaces?

Provide other personal spaces for your office staff

If, like most hot desking offices, you decide that the answer to that last question is a firm ‘NO’ then make sure employees have other options for their personal items in work.

Many people are attached to their personal belongings and resent not being allowed to keep them with them at their desks. But hot desking succeeds best when workspaces are depersonalised, clutter free and people clean up after themselves when vacating ‘their’ desk for the day.

So, make sure you have space somewhere in the office for lockers where people can leave their personal items while at work.

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