The modern workplace has changed drastically in the last ten years or so, with the proliferation of new technologies, and the rise in flexible working and the so-called ‘gig economy’. In response to these changes, a growing number of companies are ditching their traditional working practices in favour of agile working.
Creating an Agile Workforce
Put simply, agile working means adopting a way of working that enables employees to work where, when and how they want, with the fewest possible constraints. The ways in which employers choose to do this can vary, but for many companies hot desking is a key component when it comes to creating an agile workforce.
In a hot desking company, employees do not have a fixed, permanent desk. Instead, they are encouraged to move around the office space, choosing different areas to work in, depending on their activities and priorities that day. The driving idea behind hot desking is that it encourages cross-company communication, collaboration opportunities and increased productivity, however, it can also have financial benefits, helping companies to boost efficiency and reduce office costs.
In a traditional workplace, each employee has their own assigned desk. If an employee is on annual leave or out of the office, their desk sits unused. Hot desking helps to reduce these instances of wasted space, enabling businesses to make the best and most efficient use of the space available to them. And with fewer traditional desks needed, businesses can save on equipment costs and can potentially downsize to smaller office premises which offer lower rates.
It’s clear to see that hot desking can offer significant business benefits. However, in order for it to be successful, it does need to be managed and implemented carefully.
Firstly and perhaps most importantly you need the right technology and infrastructure in place to ensure that your employees can work effectively from anywhere within (and even away from) the office. For most companies this means switching to cloud computing and hosted phone systems, and issuing employees with appropriate hardware such as laptops, mobile phones and tablets.
Secondly, you need to take some steps to ensure your employees are comfortable with this new way of working. For many employees the switch to hot desking can be a big culture change, and the most common complaints tend to centre around a lack of permanent space to store both work-related and personal items.
There are a couple of potential solutions to this. Making the switch to a paper-free office helps to cut down on paperwork (reducing the need for storage), but on its own it doesn’t completely solve the issue. The best solution is to combine a paper-free policy with personal storage lockers for all employees. Today’s storage lockers feature smart technology and in-built security systems to ensure that employees feel comfortable leaving their belongings, while tracking data enables facilities teams to track their usage and make adjustments accordingly. They also come in a range of finishes and decals to blend in with different office environments.
For your hot desking policy to succeed, it pays to take a gradual and collaborative approach. Be sure to involve your employees in the process to ensure that the new workspace and policy works for them, and take into account their concerns and do what you can to mitigate them.
With a happy workforce on board, you can forge ahead with this new way of working and start reaping the benefits of having a truly agile workforce.