Hot desking! – What makes the perfect hot office desk space
Want to create a hot office desk space? Then look no further, we have invaluable info on what a hot desk space needs. Hot desking is a hugely popular enterprise strategy, but firms need to consider ergonomics, desks & chairs, connectivity and staff wellbeing alongside the projected savings. Hot desking is the practice of sharing selected desks between numerous employees, it’s on the rise globally as companies recognise the cost saving and value that the practice can bring. More and more organisations are catching on to the fact that not every employee needs a permanent desk space – and the trend in the rise of home working shows no signs of abating.
Why create a hot office desk space?
The reasoning behind hot desking and other flexible workplace strategies are straightforward. On the most basic level, not all desks are required every day, particularly in large organisations. Hot desking enables an enterprise to reduce its office footprint and lower overheads while still finding a seat for everyone who comes into the office on any given day. Flexible seating can also deliver cross-silo benefits by enabling people to sit near and get to know people from other teams within the organisation.
The best practice for the layout of a hot office desk space is to outfit it with different kinds of seating, such as specific areas for those who need to focus, away from the general hubbub, as well as collaboration areas and meeting/social zones for groups to gather and share ideas.
However, enterprises risk these benefits being lost if the system put in place is not carefully designed with the right facilities in place. Hot desking can lead to employees feeling they have no physical ownership or stake in their environment, and woe betide any organisation that runs out of desks for people.
Moreover, a one-size-fits-all strategy with respect to furniture, IT provisions and peripherals can add to the feeling that workers’ individual needs are not being catered for.
Getting connectivity right
The forward march of technology means that standards and protocols eventually become obsolete. Sometimes this is more of a step change than a gradual process, a case in point being USB connectivity. USB-C is now the industry-standard connector for transmitting data, video and power. It is being promoted by all the major laptop, smartphone & tablet vendors and supports Thunderbolt 3, a protocol that allows 40Gbps bandwidth, reduced power consumption and the capacity to handle 100 watts of power.
Newer devices now come equipped with USB-C ports, but these are not supported by the older USB-A standard; therefore, older docking stations cannot be used. This means that businesses using hot desking workspace will need to consider hybrid docking stations that support both older and newer USB standards since both will be in common use for the next few years.
More generally, there can be incompatibility issues between the products of different vendors. Clearly, connectivity across a wide estate of hardware is an essential component in getting your hot desking strategy right.
With hot desking comes consumerisation, the pressure to support the devices that employees wish to use. This comes with benefits and pitfalls of its own but the fact is most companies will need to provide more flexibility in the machines they support.
Desk, Chairs and Ergonomics
At the most basic level, the desks and chairs in the workspace are essential items and as stated before a one size fits all approach to seating and desking will not work and everyone must be for.
This might seems very basic but it will surprise you how often these items are overlooked. An office desk must be large & spacious enough to house a computer, monitors, keyboard and also there needs to be enough space for a notepad to jot down notes the old-fashioned way. Comforatble chairs and many of them are a must many people find it hard to concentrate and get their work done if they uncomfortable and the few good chairs held by a small number of people can cause tension.
Ergonomics has emerged as a big issue when it comes to implementing a hot desking strategy. In a study by Kensington on the importance of ergonomics in the hot desk environment, 38 per cent of respondents rated is as it ‘very important’ with a further 33 per cent choosing ‘important’.
Many of the survey respondents aired specific complaints around the inflexibility of the arrangements in their organisation and how it failed to cater for the real needs of employees check out what some of the respondents said word for word answering this question: What ergonomics issues have you faced with hot desking?
“Chairs are swapped, purloined or disappear. Various staff members have lumbar issues”
“Different requirements for monitor placement etc. Adjustment of chairs and so on wastes a lot of time or gets ignored and causes health issues”
“I would never have believed how territorial some people are, nor how possessive they are about chairs. If every chair/desk is different it’s a total pain. Electric raise/lower desks really help”
“Some employees with special DSE requirements need special display equipment and chairs. Hot desking is not always feasible for these employees”
“Some people need footrests, mouse pads with extra support and chairs with different support”
“Specialist equipment such as ergonomic keyboards and mice is not readily available when hot desking and too big to carry around”
“It is too difficult for staff to move equipment and often too cramped so neighbouring desks overflow”
“Generally poor ergonomics made worse by the deployment of UC&C via laptops (e.g. no phone, no separate screen, no docking station)”
There is no doubt that hot desking is here to stay. More and more, it seems that enterprises are committing to hot desking strategies for the right reasons, including improved cross-team communication, agile working and cost savings.
However, implementing a hot desking strategy effectively requires careful thought and planning. There are a number of factors that can affect hot desking success. The smaller ones can be mildly irritating if they are wrong; for instance, the number of coat hooks in each area.
Larger ones include providing a docking solution for hot desks that can cope with every make and model of laptop in the hands of the workforce, and ensure that the ergonomic setup is quick and easy to change when someone new arrives at a desk. Inadequate solutions on both these counts reduce productivity and, in the latter case, can create longer-term problems with both health and morale.
The key to a successful hot desking strategy is to tackle these points before they become problematic within the workplace and to involve employees in the decisions that affect them. In this fashion, individuals can retain ownership of the spaces they inhabit and make the most of the advantages that hot desking offers for the business and their own careers.
Check out our stock office promotion to get you started on creating you hotdesk workspace.