The push to become more agile has reshaped the look of the traditional working environment, no more so than through the adoption of ‘hot desking.’ In a modern company, employees are no longer expected to plant roots at a particular desk, sitting at the same spot day in, day out.
Instead, hot desking encourages employees to be fluid in the way they work, to feel as if they can work from anywhere within a company’s building, or remotely from home, while still having access to all the facilities they need to complete their work. Many companies are now trialing this new approach, but what exactly are the benefits?
The most obvious, and sometimes most difficult, adjustment for employees is the lack of a permanent workspace. In the past, you could often identify where a particular person worked simply from the various types of trinkets that would adorn their desk, from family photos to scattered post-it notes. Hot desking provides an opportunity to get rid of all that mounting clutter, to help you feel more focused and organized. Anything you need can be stored away in a locker until the next day.
Getting to know your peers
The mobility that comes with hot desking provides a great way of getting to know new people in your building. It is intrinsically social by design, allowing individuals and teams to work alongside each other more closely when required. Employees are able to create relationships with others across the entire business, making collaboration far more natural and productive.
Owning your environment
For a workforce to be productive, it needs to be happy. People have different needs in order to work effectively, and a rigid desk policy does not always cater to every employee. Some may prefer the social chatter and lively atmosphere that comes with lots of individuals working closely together, but some work best in a calm environment, free from distractions. Hot desking allows employees to explore where and how they work to maximize their comfort and productivity.
Although hot desking encourages employees to move around the business, their experience still needs to be the same regardless of where they work. To facilitate this, companies are moving the entirety of their internal business systems to the cloud, allowing employees to access everything they need remotely. HR, payroll, printing services, even joining meetings and chatting with colleagues, can and should be available from anywhere in the building. Importantly, employees will no longer need to rely on that dodgy fourth-floor printer.
As traditional work environments typically created a specific spot for each employee to work in, those areas would go unused when that person was out of the office or off work that day. Hot desking allows businesses to significantly cut down on all that wasted space, as not every employee will need to be provided with a traditional desk every day. This not only cuts down on equipment costs, but can allow companies to downsize their operations into a space that is more affordable, while still maintaining a productive workforce.
Giving employees autonomy
Hot desking is as much a cultural change as it is a physical one. As workers are able to change what their day-to-day environment looks like, it affords a great deal more flexibility when it comes to their social and home lives. Whether they are attending an event, or simply need to be back in time for the school run, employees are afforded greater choice when it comes to working remotely when they need to. With hot desking, people are no longer tethered to their desk.
Dennis Publishing, publisher of IT Pro, moved buildings and adopted a hot desking model as part of a wider collaboration shift in May 2017. You can read more about our experiences in this interview with Dennis CTO, Paul Lomax, here.