Hot desking can spark greater productivity

Date: 19 November 2019
Written by: Extentia Group

Sluggish productivity levels throughout the UK are a cause for concern but could a different working environment boost employee performance?

Hot desking is becoming increasingly popular across the UK as more businesses promote flexibility and mobile working. In simple terms the practice of hot desking sees employees effectively share desks instead of having their own assigned working space. Therefore, upon entering the office employees are free to sit wherever they like, and next to whoever they like. This practice has been proven to help colleagues and different departments better integrate with one another, whilst providing a more agile, dynamic and collaborative approach to work.

Hot desking can also have commercial benefits, for those businesses looking to optimise their workplaces. A recent study by Jones Lang Le Salle found that at any one time up to 40% of a company’s workforce are not in the building – taking into account people that are on annual leave, sick, working at a different site, or out visiting suppliers or clients. On this basis, you can argue that there really isn’t a requirement for business to have as many desks as employees. Whilst we wouldn’t recommend that any businesses reading this should remove 40% of their current desks right away, it does certainly provide food for thought!

Is Hot Desking right for my business?

Before taking the plunge however, there are some other factors to consider. Research suggests that there may be some concerns amongst employees concerning the introduction of a hot desking policy that has not been carefully planned and delivered by an employer. For instance, the prospect of not knowing where to sit every day was identified as the biggest stressor when it came to hot desking, a 2019 survey conducted by Brickendon revealed.

Meanwhile, within our recent report, “Overcoming the UK’s Productivity Challenge”, almost two thirds of respondents (64%) said that people came in early to work to get the best seats even if the early morning isn’t when they are naturally more productive. Over half were concerned that this forced people out of their normal work hours and that they were arriving already tired, even before the day had started.

This demonstrates that hot desking can drive agile and flexible working, helping to boost productivity levels but that it is imperative that businesses take the time to address employee concerns.

Nigel Taylor, Chief Operating Officer at Extentia said:

“The advantages of hot desking are well documented; however, our research shows that there is a thin line between it having a positive or negative effect. It is not simply enough to send a group email on a Friday afternoon announcing the introduction of hot desking on the following Monday morning. It is vital that managers carefully evaluate the mechanics of their current workspaces, the size and behaviours of their workforces, and the equipment they must incorporate.

“At Extentia, we have worked closely with organisations to introduce a range of highly effective workplace solutions that have boosted employee engagement and productivity, whilst increased collaboration continues to break down barriers between senior and junior staff, fostering increased trust and loyalty. Our hot desking solutions have also helped businesses to free up space for other perks, like break-out or fitness areas. When planned correctly, hot desking can be an invaluable solution that delivers significant benefits.”

To download “Morning Larks vs Night Owls: Overcoming the UK’s Productivity Challenge”, click here.

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