Hot Desking for business: Good or Bad?
Hot Desking has become common among businesses. According to research, almost two-thirds of multinational companies are planning on implementing shared-desk workplaces by the year 2020. Hot desk is when no one in office space has their own working desk, but they sit wherever there is a free seat available. Hot Desking is a synonym to co-working as freelancers and start-ups seek to take benefit of cheaper open-plan office space where they can have the opportunity to collaborate with the complimentary or like-minded businesses.
It aims to improve business productivity, professional relationships and help businesses save money. However, is it good for businesses and employees? Or is it an unnecessary trouble.
The idea behind hot desking is to promote remote and flexible working. A business which used to think that their employees had to present at the office for work are now discussing the issue to implement a suitable solution. The best office space solution is different for every business. However, flexible working is much more than working at home. Hot desking is all about being able to work from anywhere the employee needs to be, whether that is from a café with a client or a customer’s headquarter or during the commute. This can also increase collaboration and a sense of community among colleagues.
Implementing hot desking can help businesses save money. Often, the employees outnumber working desks in open-plan offices and allocated seats can be an expensive and ineffective use of space. According to research, the UK can save almost £34 billion just by freeing up desk space and by encouraging flexible working. This can improve the sense of community in businesses.
Therefore, instead of renting large office spaces or buying extra work desks, desk phone, hot desking can create space where workers can bring their own laptops to work. With the cloud software employees can backup and store files without needing a large, costly desktop computer. Some might argue that employing hot desk strategy can help create a more equal working environment since the employees are free to sit wherever they want, irrespective of whether they are a supervisor or not.
Hot desking can make it easier for employees to move around the office which leads to conversations among different employees who may not talk otherwise. The idea of hot desk setting is to encourage employees to share ideas, knowledge, and views which can boost creativity and productivity.
According to research hot desk strategies cannot always be positive and this can have a negative impact on business. Employing a shared desk system at the office can cause problems like distractions, distrust and uncooperative behaviour. As the work environments become more shared not only does it increase demands, but it also decreases the perception of supervisors.
Hot desking can cause employees to feel less valued which can adversely affect employee morale and productivity. A study done in 2011 revealed that competition and unwanted noise in the workspace can make workers feel less valued.
Another drawback is the lack of cohesion. As employees might not be seated close to the people they want to work with on some specific projects. Further, there have been concerns raised about the wellbeing of employees. Since having to look for a place to sit every day can make it difficult for a few employees to deal with stress.
Loss of own space
Another research revealed that the practice of moving work desks itself can generate additional work and a sense of marginalisation for a hot desk. Furthermore, the everyday ownership of work desk can give rise to a social and practical tensions and shifts to hot desker’s identification with the company.
Whether hot desking is a good idea or not depends on the business and the work that is being done. It is important to give employees the freedom to share their opinion on whether the setting works for them or not. While some people might enjoy the change of scenery every day, others may prefer to get the work done in their own dedicated space. Hot desking does come with its own share of issues. However, most individuals feel that it can work efficiently and effectively when done right. The key is to plan well, communicate clearly and use the office space intelligently. When employees are encouraged to mingle instead of forced then hot desking can lead to increased team morale and boosts collaboration.