Luring your team members back to the office from their cosy, sublime work-from-home set up is top of the agenda for many managers longing for the cohesion that an in-house team brings. The converted leader understands that the office will forever be changed as a result of working adaptations brought on by lockdowns. Many employees are embracing the changes with a flexible and creative approach, however…there’s the matter of the HOT DESK.
As the traditional office space has taken on a new look, the hybrid working system of days in and days out has allowed businesses to scale down on desk space. By introducing the hot desk system, workers have been asked to ditch their personal desks and share desk-space with, well, whoever gets their first. Enter sterile working conditions and exit family photograph, personal mug, favourite sharpener and brand new fine liner. Staff members now arrive at work, only to be annoyed at the offset, by adjusting screens, chairs and finding leftover Chelsea bun crumbs nestled in their keyboards.
We’ve recently worked with three major corporations, all looking for an effective hybrid set-up. Re-conditioning office space from only an IT perspective will not provide an adequate and inclusive solution. Team leaders need to approach the project with a holistic outlook, adopting an understanding of avoiding the not-so-hot-desk.
So, how do you make the hot-desk feel like home?
Survey and plan accordingly
Do the research. Send out a survey, interview your teams, create a suggestion box and then listen and apply. Understanding your employees’ needs and habits will help you plan effectively. It’s imperative that they feel involved and part of a progressive process centred on the purpose of improving their working environment. Get buy-in from all stakeholders from the offset and plan and collaborate. It’s all about considering needs and personalities.
Make sure you incorporate a variety of office options. Include plenty of corner offices for those who prefer privacy and create convivial pods for teamwork. Make sure some meeting rooms are private and some more informal. Include an open plan long desk where team members can literally hop on and hop off, and lock up and go focus rooms for those who need to work alone without disruption. Include easily accessible phone booths for private calls. Make sure you have more desks available than required at any given stage; walking into a space that has no available desk will cause anxiety for many employees.
Make your communal space impressive
A very important factor to plan for is your free space. Make sure you provide for comfortable break-away spaces. Lose the old-school canteen and kitchen and make way for cool coffee shop-type areas, heck, bring in a caterer or offer ready-made sandwiches. Include a fitness area or zone-out space and if possible, create outdoor get-together areas. Incorporate couches, armchairs and comfortable furniture that provide a change of environment and a casual get together space.
Don’t skimp on the equipment
A well-equipped desk is half the battle won. Remember that many users already have the responsibility of remembering to bring along all their personal desk kit; so make sure your hardware and software supports the reason to come back to the office. Include excellent printers, programmes, monitors and charging stations. Consider the hybrid aspect and plan for great meeting rooms, with excellent video and audio equipment. Planning with the end in mind always wins. Think about the quality of work you want your team to produce and provide them with the best tools to deliver.
Provide some form of ownership
One of our clients has successfully included personalised mobile ‘caddies’ for their staff members to safely store their personal belongings. Things like stationery, earphones, favourite pens and notebooks are stored away after each session and unpacked each time they return to their preferred station for the day. Lockers can also be useful for storage and there are some cool designs out there that can serve as great- looking room dividers.
One for all and all for one
Avoid a ‘that’ll do’ attitude and make sure all of your working stations are kitted with the same quality equipment and tools. Adopting the hot-desk method means that if you’re in for a penny, you should be in for a pound and workers will pick up on any partiality immediately. Remember you are creating a space where people WANT to plug in.
Ultimately, successful hot-desking is about empowering employees with choice. Creating a safe, secure, comfortable and positive working environment can be achieved by planning carefully, communicating clearly and executing intelligent use of space.