Does hot desking affect office dynamics?

The concept of hot desking has been around for years and became especially popular in the late 1980's and early 1990's. The term is said to have been adapted from "hot racking" - where naval officers would share their bunks in shifts so that the beds were always kept warm. But what exactly is hot desking, and how does it affect office dynamics and productivity?

Hot desking put simply, means not having a dedicated desk. Instead, all employees are able to log onto any computer within the office, where they will have access to their personalised desktop. Some call it rent-a-desk and others say it makes an office your own personal playground. In theory, you could have a new desk buddy every day of the working week. Sound good? Well, it seems that opinions are mixed.

Whatever the industry, it is vital that a workspace makes an employee feel comfortable and productive. Is this possible when your desk is in a different place every day? How effective (or disruptive) hot desking is depends largely on the area of work concerned, as well as the working style of the individual employee. It certainly appeals to business owners who want to cut costs. Studies reveal that in London's West End, space for one four-square-metre desk costs around £8,500 year. With many desks sitting empty half of the time as remote working is on the rise, it is understandable to see why hot desking is a cost-effective option. But is imposing it blindly simply to save money asking for trouble?

Human beings are creatures of habit, so the concept of hot desking certainly isn't embraced by everybody. However, there are many advantages of that are frequently overlooked. Hot desking allows employees to widen their network, as every time they sit at a new desk, they are given the opportunity to expand their connections with both personal and professional contacts. It also gives less experienced members of staff the chance to rub shoulders with more experienced colleagues, meaning they are able to learn from them, picking their brains and broadening their knowledge in the process.

Again, it depends on the personality of the individual, but some employees thrive in new environments - especially when it is 'buzzy' as being in the middle of the action can increase productivity and innovation.

With most employees spending around 40 hours a week at work, an office becomes their home-from-home. Before enforcing hot desking, it is therefore paramount that you weigh up whether it will positively or negatively affect office dynamics. Saracen Interiors is dedicated to creating inspiring and imaginative environments which motivate and engage your workforce, so we will help you consider the perfect office solution.


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