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Are You Hot Desking?

Are You Hot Desking?

Once upon a time, your office desk was your home away from home. It served as a place to display your awards, favorite sports team paraphernalia and obligatory family photos. It became a nice little hiding place that gave you just the right amount of privacy to be productive without distraction. But this cozy space is slowly being taken away. Why you ask? You can blame Hot Desking.

Never heard of “hot desking”? It is how companies are rewriting the office design rules by ditching desks and dividers. The entire office space becomes a work place. This free-range approach encourages employees (and their laptops) to shuffle between shared desks, open tables, couches and workstations. This trend seems to be growing in popularity, and why not, since on paper it appears to make sense financially and collaboratively. But personally, I think it’s a bad idea. Maybe I’m too old school or maybe I’ve watched too many Mad Men episodes, but sometimes you just want your OWN desk.

For one, this germophobe thinks it is highly unhygienic! Reportedly, the average keyboard and mouse has sixty times more germs than a toilet seat! I would feel totally disgusted every time I sat down to work at shared hot-desk! I’m not touching that! Did the person sitting here before me have a cold? Did they wash their hands after they used the restroom? Will the computer short-circuit if I spray disinfectant right onto the electronics?

It would be disorienting. If I need to talk to the head of finance, where is she? There is no designated desk or office in which to find her. Maybe, instant messaging solves this situation to some degree, but I feel like I would spend my valuable work time roaming aimlessly on the floor looking for people with answers. Where are you, Carole?! Has anyone seen Carole?

It seems as if companies choose to hot-desk to cut down on the number of desks and get people to sit together but I also feel like I would gravitate to the same desk anyway. (I just cleaned it with Clorox wipes for crying out loud)! And others around me would sit at the same desks day after day. Perhaps people would begin to leave a few belongs behind for convenience and to mark their territory. Poof! And before you know it, low and behold – a desk of your very own! How nice!

Hot desk or not to hot desk? That is the question. It’s been my experience that productivity and motivation are maximized when employees have their own workspace. Businesses need to be mindful of how the layout of the workplace can impact employee satisfaction and morale. Making sure employees feel that they have a place within the organization and that they are a valued part of the team has an immeasurable impact on retention, satisfaction and performance.

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