You either love it or hate it: hot desking, the concept of using a different desk every day within your employer’s office. All you need to do is check availability, set up and you’re good to go. But how does it affect our productivity levels? And more importantly: can it actually be used to boost productivity within your company?
Moderation is key
Just like coworking and other forms of using shared offices, hot desking comes in different shapes and sizes, and it’s not always done right. By any means, it’s often such a hassle that instead of boosting it, it causes a lack of productivity and a decrease in work ethics in general. Some companies go all-in, going as far as assigning parking lots and desks for you every single morning. But is that really the best way to approach employees in such a way that they understand the benefits, and more importantly; that they actually notice them? It remains hard to say. But overall, in a society where freedom and the feeling of having certain responsibilities are regarded as key elements of happiness and success, baby-ing your employees may not be the best approach.
Find the right balance
The best things about hot desking are knowing that you’ve got a place to do your work, that you’re looking out at something different every day and most importantly – that you know for a fact that wherever you work from, you’re experiencing the same quality of work. And that’s exactly where a lot of hot desk-practicing companies fall short. It’s important to provide that perfect balance in desk availability. Have enough desks available so that everyone has their own seat every day, and have enough desks so that people can swap around when necessary – for working on important documents together, looking at numbers and other stuff that requires people to sit together every once in a while. It’s not always a necessity to have your marketing team band together, but when they’re working on your company’s next big masterplan – you’re going to want them to.
People love plug and play
As far as providing continuity in quality of work goes, it is a common mistake in hot desking to think that you simply have to provide a desk with a ready-to-go login-based computer and assume it’s good to go. It requires more to make it work. The tricky part about computers that are used for many accounts, is that they don’t really belong to anyone, which can cause missing files, login dramas, software issues and all the following hassle that comes with it. When each and every desk is equipped with plug and play screens, keyboards, mice and other office necessities, odds are employees won’t mind to bring a laptop. As long as the workspaces are customisable to match your employees’ specific needs and are well-taken care of in terms of maintenance, employees will accept it more happily and that will pay off positively in workspace productivity.
Find your fit
Another thing to consider when considering hot desking is your company size. Even though larger corporations are generally very open to hot desking, have more funds available than SMEs and tend to have the space required for it; it might not be ideal. If you can get lost in the building when looking for a certain colleague, hot desking might not be that good for your productivity (or your mood). Same goes with having to sweep four floors worth of desks to find the one free spot. It can cause agitation and frustration amongst colleagues, which deeply affects results in the long run. Department -based hot desking would work better for that matter.
When adding it all up, you could conclude that hot desking is difficult to get exactly right. But when it works, it works miracles for the mind. It’s a lot of fun, productive and makes every day feel new – even though you’re in the same environment as any other day. As long as there’s a lot of thought being put into setting it up correctly, function and form are held as equals, and the mindset among staff is open to making it work – the productivity-levels are going to go through the roof.