As many companies welcome their staff back to the office, they are quickly implementing flexible work policies like hot desking in order to space out workstations more effectively and accommodate employees with less workspace. For many companies, it doesn’t make sense to maintain a large office with a desk assigned to every employee if much of their staff will work from home for a good portion of the week. In order to split a smaller number of workspaces among employees, companies are turning to practices like hot desking.
Employees are not enthused by the idea of hot desking for a number of reasons. First of all, hot desks, in the traditional sense, are provided on a first-come, first-serve basis. This means that some employees may not be able to find a hot desk in their preferred location, such as in close proximity to key team members. This hurts their productivity and ability to collaborate. Hot desking also makes employees feel like they are giving up control. These are just some of the reservations people have had about hot desking, even before the pandemic.
The pandemic has brought about a slew of new challenges related to hot desking. For example, shared desks raise concerns about spreading germs since multiple people have to use the same desk.
In a time that has been marked by uncertainty, the thought of not being sure exactly where you are going to sit when you are in the office can be a source of stress for employees. When you don’t know where you’re going to be working each day you go to the office, it makes it hard to feel settled and can prevent you from getting the heads down time you need to do your best work.
Hot desking also means that workers won’t have anywhere to store their personal belongings on a more permanent basis while they are in the office. The uncertainty posed by hot desking feels especially pronounced since workers have spent the last several months working in the comfort and familiarity of their own homes.
While hot desking is not an end-all, be-all solution to working in an office during a pandemic, it is a flexible work option that does benefit workers and employees, despite its pitfalls. There are many ways that employers can improve hot desking to increase employee safety and ensure a smoother transition back to the office.
For one, hot desking doesn’t need to be carried out on a first-come, first-serve basis. Companies can give employees the ability to book hot desks before they get to the office. Reservation-based desk sharing is commonly referred to as hoteling.
The Workspace Booking App provides interactive, color-coded floor plans showing exactly which meeting rooms and desks are available and then allows users to book them. Select meeting rooms and desks can be blocked off to prevent workers from booking them and to ensure that social distancing is maintained.
Advance booking reassures workers because it allows them to book their preferred workspace before they get to the office, and they can head straight to their booked workspace when they arrive. Furthermore, users can see who has booked each desk so that they can book a workspace neighboring a teammate who they need to work closely with while they are in the office.
The Workspace App combined with the meeting room booking solution, Resource Central, also makes it possible for companies to keep desks clean and sanitized. A report is automatically generated for the cleaning staff, to ensure that there is time to sanitize meeting rooms and desks before the next person arrives.
Cleaning staff can review the report to determine when a meeting room or desk needs to be cleaned. If, for whatever reason, a workspace has not been sanitized, the supervisor for the cleaning staff can flag the resource as unavailable for booking. Further, the supervisor can assign a different, sanitized workspace instead. Once the workspace has been sanitized, the supervisor can confirm that it is available for bookings again.