If you’re on a roll with hybrid working, you may be wondering what to do with the extra space in your office. Some companies have found that desk utilisation is as low as 30%. What do you do with the extra 70%? You could sublet the extra space, or you could save money by downsizing and introducing hot-desking. But will it work for your team?
At workbuddy, we are well versed in all hybrid forms of working and have guided countless companies through the transition to flexible work arrangements. Here’s what we recommend you consider when deciding whether or not to adopt a hot-desking arrangement in your office.
Collaboration vs Concentration
Consider the nature of the work your teams do. For most teams, there is a time for collaboration and a time for concentration. Do most people in your team come in for meetings and stay home for individual work? Or do they focus better in the office, and do most of their meetings online?
When redesigning your office space, make sure there are zones for each type of work. I.e. meeting rooms for project-based work, brainstorming sessions and meetings. And individual desks in quiet areas for focused work. In this way, the space facilitates the flexibility of the team.
Our clients have reported that their teams prefer zoned sections of the office like this for the added benefit of signalling to the rest of the team what they need. For example, working in a “concentration zone” signals that they need to focus and would rather not be disturbed. It’s not as easy to communicate this in a traditional office layout.
Booking systems are a great way to support your team in organising their time and ensuring everyone has access to each zone when they need it.
Disruption vs Routine
One unexpected benefit that our clients have seen is that the way hot-desking flattens hierarchy and disrupts traditional office politics, promoting connection between teams and the circulation of knowledge.
With no fixed seating arrangements, people from different teams will end up sitting together and mingling with people they normally wouldn’t have the opportunity to get to know. The level of interaction increases leading to better cohesion within the team. Plus, this environment provides opportunities to disrupt routine ways of thinking and spark innovative ideas.
However, be aware that some people struggle with uncertain seating and the lack of control over who they sit with. They may find hot-desking too disruptive as they function better with more of a set routine. Booking systems can help with addressing this concern.
Tidiness vs Cleanliness
This may not occur to you as a significant factor in your decision, but studies show that the state of your environment does have a direct impact on the state of your mind. Clean desk, clear mind.
Hot-desking naturally ensures a much tidier environment, as people are unable to leave their personal stuff on the desks. It’s a good idea to provide lockers for staff to compensate for this. Our clients have noted how nice it is to start the day with a clear space, like a clean slate.
On the flip side, you will need to enforce daily desk cleaning. Shared desks are less sanitary and no one wants to clean up other people’s mess. Make sure you mandate the habit of cleaning desks with antibacterial wipes or hand sanitizer at the end of every work day.
Before you make a change
We highly recommend taking these steps before implementing any change. Even in the face of high workloads and limited time, these steps will ensure the change is smooth, benefitting your company in the long run:
Space survey: observe how your space is currently being used, the type of work people come into the office to do, and the facilities they need.
Communicate with your team: provide an avenue for them to vent concerns and questions, and allocate people to address every concern.
Invest in IT and tech: You need the right software and technology to match the flexibility of your team while ensuring security and function is not compromised.
Still not sure?
At workbuddy, we are dedicated to helping companies with these kinds of decisions. We are convinced that flexibility is the future, and we don’t want anyone to be left behind. If you need someone to advise solutions for the unique needs of your team, please give us a call. We're here to help you find a solution that fits your specific business requirements.