How to ensure hot desking doesn’t get the cold shoulder
There’s no doubt that the hot desking phenomenon has changed the way offices work and then there’s the bottom-line benefits like optimising space and costs.
However, there are some things to consider along the way that may improve the user interface for your teams and go a long way to ensuring that your people retain a sense of belonging:
• Have a system that’s simple and clear for employees – what are the prerequisites, what are the expectations, how are problems resolved, what is/isn’t acceptable.
• Put together a hot desking protocol document and make sure everyone understands the parameters and expectations.
• Consider implementing desk booking software to give users real-time access to available spots to reduce disruption, any confusion and to keep productivity on track. This could also allow you to monitor and track seating and collaboration preferences, which could assist you in future planning or road block identification.
• The “clear desk” policy is all well and good but accept that employees will have some personal belongings that will need housing – lockers could be the way to go. Studies have shown that there are significant stresses caused by not feeling grounded in a work space because there’s a policy of no family photos, no plants, no individuality to be expressed.
• Reassess your expectations around cleanliness, hygiene and accountability – who cleans, how often, no eating at the desk etc.
• Remember the need for quiet/break out zones – not all work can be done discreetly or comfortably from an open, shared space and these quiet spaces need to be readily available – not just in name only.
• Make sure you have a clear system in place for reporting and addressing equipment problems and maintenance to minimise frustrations and down time.
• Ensure hot desk work spaces are fit-for-purpose, robust and ergonomic – just because people may be at the desks intermittently does not cancel out the need for appropriate and compliant furniture and fittings.
• Have you got systems in place to cater for those random times when your entire workforce is under the same roof at the same time? Note to self: the floor is not a conducive work space.
• Consider the “warm desk” policy – a designated area for a team but without a fixed personalised desk per member; a neighbourhood concept.
• In Zurich, Credit Suisse has moved to activity-based work spaces with a “touchdown area” comprising three small working spaces for the ultimate hot-desking experience – available for one hour maximum. That’s sizzling desking, not just hot desking!
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