If you are unfamiliar with the term ‘hot-desking’, you aren’t alone, despite the fact the term has been around for a while. Hot-Desking is the practice of allowing more than one employee to use the same physical workstation as everyone else, usually at different times and on a reservation basis to help reduce the amount of resources needed to accommodate employees working different shifts.
It’s hard to argue against cost reduction through space savings that hot-desking provides, especially when real estate and work space prices are at a premium. Hot-desking allows companies to get more bang for their buck. But could there be a downside to hot-desking? Here are some things to consider and why I and many others don’t particular like the idea of sharing space.
Workstations are Unhygienic
It can’t be proven that hot-desking is a breeding ground for unhygienic workspaces. However the chances are greater when sharing workspace with larger flows of workers on a regular basis. Eventually an illness might be transmitted from one person to another, even if employees are encouraged to wash their hands frequently to avoid transmission of those illnesses. Some studies show that the typical office keyboard contains more germs than a toilet seat. Although bacteria and viruses can’t live for long periods of time on non-organic materials like plastic. The flu virus can survive on a hard surface for a whopping 24 hours.
Hot-Desking Can, At Times, Be Inefficient
The office instant messaging tool may solve many communication problems, but there are times, according to hot-desk detractors, where a face to face encounter is a must. Not knowing where a person is sitting from one day to the next can lead to wasted time searching for the individual – especially for new employees.
Lack of Designated, Personal Space Can Make an Employee Feel Disassociated with the Company
Things like family photos and personal mementos can help an employee make a workstation their own (and foster a sense of belonging within the organization), but those that are constantly in a state of flux are much less likely to bring these items in on a daily basis. When I worked for a company hot-desking, I never really felt part of the company or the team. I always felt disorganized and truthfully like I was more a number than a productive and important member of the company.
Hot-Desking Can Be Frustrating When Adjusting Your Workstation’s Ergonomics
It stands to reason that one of the benefits of a permanent workstation is that the employee has the ability to set the physical characteristics of the space as they see fit in order to lower the chances they’ll suffer from carpal tunnel or other repetitive motion disorders. It doesn’t take a great deal of imagination to surmise that an employee that’s taken the time to find the sweet spot of the adjustable height workstation or other office furniture or accessories won’t be thrilled at the idea of having to share a workspace with someone else.
Hot-desking, as an idea, isn’t a bad one. It seems however that the more you delve into it, any potential savings in cost are quickly offset by the negative impact it could have on your workforce.