You come into work one day and get unsettling news. After much behind-the-scenes deliberation, your boss has decided the best move for your company is hot desking. You and your fellow colleagues don’t get much say in the matter; you’re just thrust right into things. How will you deal with the change?
To survive hot desking, we recommend doing the following:
• Be willing to at least give it a try
• Offer your boss feedback as hot desking progresses
• Rally together with other employees who have similar viewpoints to be heard
• Try to get involved with the scheduling process if possible
• If all else fails, look for another job
In this post, we’ll provide tips and advice for employees like yourself who are hot desking for the first time. From why your boss may have decided to change things up, what the hot desking work model looks like, and when it’s time to walk away, you’re not going to want to miss this.
To you, everything seemed to be going fine for your company. You’re regularly turning a profit, you’ve hired on some new employees, and there have been no major scandals. What’s the problem?
You have to remember that as an employee, you’re not always privy to everything going on within the company. There are several reasons your boss or manager may have gravitated towards hot desking, so let’s discuss these now.
Hot desking, with its degree of employee closeness, is supposed to promise better bonds between you and your fellow colleagues. As you work together as a twosome or even in small groups, collaborative ideas may bounce between you all that could be for the betterment of the company.
Your boss may have chosen to embrace hot desking with the eventual goal of moving your office to a smaller space. If not, then he or she may want to use the space they do have more efficiently than at current. Instead of being solely for offices, the rooms that are now not occupied by staff can become meeting rooms, recharging stations, and the like.
Above all, the biggest reason anyone opts for hot desking is to save some money. It’s believed that offices employing the hot desking model can shave spending by as much as 30 percent, which is certainly a major incentive.
Now, many companies find the promises hot desking offers are empty. That may or may not be the case for your office, but your boss likely has to experience this for themselves before they abandon hot desking completely.
Okay, so you can sort of understand the rationale behind your boss’ decision to move to a hot desking model for your office. Now that you’re about to be in it, what kind of scene are you going to witness during your next workday?
Well, for starters, your schedule is going to be different. As we touched on in the intro, many hot desk employees do shift work. This means that, instead of coming into the office five days a week from nine to five or thereabouts, you may only work on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the office. The other three days of the week, other employees will be in the office instead.
Okay, so what do you on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays? You’re still working, but you’d now do your job remotely, also known as working from home. Your boss should equip you with everything you need to carry out your duties from wherever you can, be that your home, a café, a park, or even the beach if you can be productive there. (Productivity is key, by the way.)
You may have a work smartphone, software you can download to your home computer (or a work computer in lieu of that), your own printer/copier, and other basic office tech. While you’re working remotely, it’s still expected that you’ll carry out your job responsibilities and work X hours a day and week. However, with no one overseeing you, whether this happens comes down to the dependability, character, and discipline of each individual employee.
On those days when you are in the office, expect things to look a little different. While once before, all staff at your company probably had their own cubicles, that’s no longer the case. Now, two or more employees will work at a single workstation or desk.
This workstation is large enough to accommodate everyone’s computers and equipment, but still, it feels a bit tight here. That’s one of the biggest adjustments to be made with hot desking, especially if you were relatively cut off from your colleagues before through a cubicle setup.
You’re also going to be working up close and personal with another colleague or two, so you’ll be getting to know them much better. You two will have to figure out who will sit where and set some ground rules so you can both do your highest-quality work.
Should you share a desk with a different colleague during your next shift, those ground rules will have to be introduced again. You can see where it gets exhausting playing musical chairs like this.
Your boss should have an updated employee handbook that reflects the changes made through the implementation of hot desking. The new company policy should cover such things as identifying whose equipment is whose, the sharing of proprietary information (which should be frowned upon), keeping personal effects around (also frowned upon), and cleaning up after oneself.
While hot desking sounds like a treat for a company looking to save money and space, you’re admittedly not thrilled about these changes. You wish things could have stayed as they were. Sadly, they’re not.
As you ride it out in the weeks and months ahead, here are some tips that will help you maintain your sanity.
Is hot desking the greatest office model ever? No, and many, many articles and studies have been published attesting to that. Will it work for your office? It may and it may not.
You can’t go into work hoping each day the hot desking model will come crumbling down at any time. Your boss may find he or she loves how hot desking is working out, and more so, that it’s actually advantageous for your company. If so, then hot desking at your office isn’t going anywhere.
It’s much better to walk into things willing to give hot desking a fair shake. You may find you enjoy working remotely, and that those perks offset the constricted working environment. After a while, even sharing a desk might not bother you as much as you develop a camaraderie with your desk mates.
If it turns out you don’t like anything to do with hot desking, that’s perfectly okay, too. Don’t deny it if you’re truly unhappy. Hot desking is definitely not for everyone, and if it doesn’t suit you, you’re certainly in the majority.
Before things get downright awful, you’d want to encourage your boss to open up the floor for employee feedback if he or she isn’t doing so already. Especially when making large changes to the office structure, it’s crucial to hear how employees are faring.
Whether your boss lets you have meetings where you voice your opinions or they ask for surveys, take any opportunity for feedback you get.
Be honest in these assessments, too, even if they’re not necessarily anonymous. If you’re not saying anything inflammatory but rather, sharing constructive criticism, then you should face no repercussions. If you do, that’s not the kind of job you want to be in, anyway.
Perhaps your boss asked for a survey or two at the beginning of their hot desk launch. It’s been months since then though, and not only have you not been given another chance for more feedback, but your prior feedback hasn’t been implemented, either.
If enough of your fellow colleagues feel the same way about hot desking at your office, it’s worth banding together. There’s power in numbers, after all. Maybe if you all put forth your concerns and complaints, your boss will be willing to hear you out.
Do make sure you frame your thoughts in such a way that your boss can do something with them. Don’t just complain, but offer a solution, too. For example, if you don’t like who you’re sharing a desk with, don’t just say that. Suggest that you sit with another colleague you get along better with.
With the solution already thought of, your boss only has to say yes to your suggestion. If they have to come up with the solution themselves and approve it, it could take longer for it to go through.
Another area that may be a sore point in hot desking is the creation of the schedules. For example, your son has soccer practice every Tuesday at 4 p.m., so you’d like to switch to working remotely on that day. Maybe you have monthly doctor’s appointments that you need to work around, and hot desking is making that difficult.
Your boss won’t know there’s an issue with scheduling until you say as much. He or she may be willing to accommodate your schedule, but do keep in mind you’re not the only employee at the office. Other employees have similar needs and thus, you may get scheduled at an inconvenient time occasionally.
There’s also a chance your boss won’t change the scheduling setup if enough people are happy with it. That’s something you have to anticipate as well.
By now, it’s been months. Any aspect of hot desking you may have enjoyed at the beginning is driving you crazy now. You’ve complained to your boss, both by yourself and with others, but it’s been to no avail. They’re quite intent on keeping up with the hot desking office model.
At this point, you have two choices. You can either a.) continue to stay here, suffer, and hope something changes or b.) you can look for a new job.
Only you can decide which is the best decision for you. This isn’t a choice we’d recommend you take lightly either way. If you can, it’s better to have another job secured before you quit your first one so you’re not in trouble financially, potentially for months on end.
While no job is 100 percent pure bliss all the time, you should be relatively happy in your occupation. If you wake up every day with a knot in your stomach, your weekends always end in dread, and your work anxiety has bled into your personal life, it may be time to think of making your exit.
If hot desking does cause you to quit your job, you wouldn’t be the only one. In fact, a higher rate of turnover often plagues offices that use the hot desking model. In fact, if you start it, other employees might follow suit and quit as well.
Since your workstation is not really your own with hot desking, it’s generally not permissible for you to splay out your personal items. Besides, that’s just more for you to clean up later.
In this case, your own non-work phone would be considered a personal effect. If you need to keep that and other essentials on hand, we recommend a hot desking bag. You should be able to leave this at the side of your chair so you can access it during breaks. Just make sure your phone is muted during working hours!
If your boss is still in the early stages of their infatuation with hot desking but they haven’t yet made it official, you can reject their proposal to do so. If enough employees do the same, there’s a chance your boss might reconsider. Of course, there’s no guarantee this will happen, so you might end up doing hot desking anyway.
What if your boss has already announced that your office is moving forward with a hot desking arrangement? By that point, you can’t say no, you won’t do it…well, unless you don’t mind losing your job, as that’s probably what will happen.
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