Brett Sadler

Hotdesking – good, bad or indifferent?

mobile_office

A selection of my ‘hotdesking’ tech

Hotdesking is not a new concept. It comes in many forms, from the occasional hotdesker to the hard-core, full time hotdesker and it wouldn’t surprise you to read that not everyone is a fan of hotdesking. Some people love it and some people really hate it. Here is just one article about hotdesking from the Management Today website: hotdesking: hot or not?.

My reason for blogging about hotdesking is that, for the past six months I have been sharing my office with one of the Directors (incidentally, I am not line managed by them). The option came up due to the reshuffling of some staff within the organisation. As part of the deal, I agreed to hotdesk from somewhere else in the building every Monday and then from an outlying office every Thursday. This helped me in two ways: 1) I would actually have a reason to hotdesk (it’s hard to justify when your office is sat empty) and 2) To live the hotdesking way of working I have often pushed onto other staff .

First off, the positives:

  • It has been great to get out and about more – I have interacted with other staff much more than I would normally have the opportunity to;
  • I have seen and heard some good and some not so good working practices – learning I can use when the time is right to improve these sorts of things within my teams;
  • I have worked (survived) hotdesking from various locations;
  • Using headphones can block out a lot of everyday office chatter.

grabbag-03_22_2013-2

There have been however a few negatives:

  • As I have a pretty busy role, I have not been able to keep to my ‘Mondays and Thursday’s hotdesking regime’, especially working from the outlying office – this has been much more ad-hoc than I would ideally like and often less than a day a week;
  • As with anyone who hotdesks, my laptop bag has inevitably become heavier and heavier with papers etc. that I need during my working day (this needs culling fairly regularly to keep it manageable);
  • Sometimes it really is hard to have quiet time to work/think when hotdesking in a larger office;
  • Sometimes finding a ‘private’ office can be difficult at short notice.

A few other things are worth pointing out:

  • I have been essentially paperless for several years now, but as the organisation I work in is not paperless, I am given my fair share of paper. This proves more of a challenge when not always office based;
  • I have all the necessary tech to make hotdesking a success: laptop, tablet, bluetooth keyboard (for use with the tablet) and smartphone.

So, what have I learn’t from this six months? That it is certainly possible to hotdesk on a more regular basis and that staff seem to appreciate seeing me around more. It is definitely something I want to continue doing. In fact, I am now going to work out how I can hotdesk from other locations more often than I do currently. I also realise I need to keep some flexibility of where I work, depending on work demands and meetings.

I realise this is only my experience of hotdesking in a small way, but I thought I would share my thoughts on this. I would love to hear what everyone else’s experience of hotdesking is, good, bad or indifferent?

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One thought on “Hotdesking – good, bad or indifferent?

  1. I hotdesk when I’m up in North Wales. I usually find that it’s the tea run that helps me make friends! But it’s always good to sit somewhere different and hear different perspectives. One thing that troubles me a little bit is when only a small available of desks are available to hotdesk on and they’re shunted out of the way in a corner. There are useful bonds to be made with management etc, and to create some more transparency by sitting management amongst staff, but often hierarchies are left unaffected. It’s a catch 22 though, as I’ve heard some people say they feel a little bit more constrained if management are sitting next to them and it changes the office environment. We held a seminar on agile working before I started in my role, and this is where HR and IT experts really earn their money! (http://www.audit.wales/events/agile-working-seminar). Nice blog, keep uup the good work! Dyfrig

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