There was once a time where the typical office scenario was called “cubicle island”: you had rows and columns of cubicles, each one a workspace for the company employees. Those who excelled got a larger cubicle, and those who made it to the top got an actual office, complete with a window.
Advances in technology mean that cubicles are no longer required for the successful operation of a business. Cell phones mean that phone calls can be fielded from anywhere. Increasingly powerful internet applications mean that anything done in the cubicle can be done anywhere in the building, or even from home.
The increasing freedom offered by technology has given rise to hotdesking. As we press into the future, we find that cubicles are getting more and more obsolete. Instead, open plans where employees can move about freely are becoming popular. Advocates of hotdesking suggest that the method promotes collaboration and allows for ideas to grow. Without the figurative (and literal) barriers created by cubicle walls, employees are able to socialize and develop the new ideas that will push the company at large toward success. Detractors suggest that hotdesking can stifle creativity.
Do you hotdesk?
- Confidentiality is harder to achieve. Because you don’t have the barriers keeping confidential information relatively contained and controlled, you’ll need to look to alternative means of keeping sensitive information from spreading across the office like a wildfire. Confidentiality can be maintained by setting aside a dedicated office for private conversations, or by installing “pink noise”, which is a low hum that helps to muffle and distort nearby conversations.
- The age of your employees. Employees who have spent their lives working in cubicles have created a routine. They have a dedicated working space and their habits are probably custom designed for that work space. While millennials may be open to the idea of an open work space, your older demographic might be staunchly against it. Your employees may not like the idea of wandering around looking for a place to work, meaning a loss of productivity.
- The primary goal of hotdesking is collaboration, so if your company isn’t focused on collaboration, hotdesking will probably be more of a detriment than a benefit. If employees prefer to work independently, they’re likely to find others in their workspace to be a distraction.
- You’ll need an eye for interior design. The benefit of cubicles is that they offer practicality – they’re an efficient use of minimal space. They may be unattractive, but they get the job done. You have no such comfort with hotdesking. Hotdesking requires that the space not only be open but also inviting – it has to look good and make the employees want to be there. Many companies solve the problem by investing in lounge chairs and contemporary furniture, meaning hotdesking is less about designing a work space and more like designing a living room.
- Different equipment. Laptops run on batteries and without a dedicated place for employees to store their items, they’ll need a means of transporting them. Hotdesking will probably require you to upgrade and redesign your wiring so that employees and recharge their laptops virtually anywhere in the area, and you’ll also need to invest in storage cubbies, as well as crates or carts so your employees can tote their belongings around.
Regardless of whether or not hotdesking promotes or stifles creativity, one thing is for certain: the requirement for less space reduces financial responsibilities and saves the company money. But is it right for you? Here are a few things you’ll want to consider as you explore the idea of hotdesking.
At first glance, hotdesking seems like a fantastic idea. As with any change, however there are cons to implementing a hotdesking system. Only you know whether hotdesking will be right for your company.
We here at Digitcom are currently facing a space crunch and we’re considering a move to a bigger building. As we’re constantly examining new ways to run the company efficiently and effectively, we’re considering a hotdesking trial.
And to our employees, what do you think of hotdesking? Do you like the idea of having an open layout workspace, or do you prefer the current system? Let us know.