"Sharing makes happy!" - at least that's what we teach our children. But do we like to share our office desk?
Why is the number of shared desk workplaces increasing?
Office space costs money and is often unworkable or simply impossible to obtain in hot spots for non-Unicorns. Also, a large proportion of desks are empty on many hours - due to home-office work or time with customers on site.
Working time models are also becoming increasingly flexible and part-time work is booming (even among singles without children). Good reasons to make workplaces more flexible and more than one person available.
One of the flexibility options is Hot Desking.
What is Hot Desking?
In hot desking, employees either share a desk with others or have no permanent desk and need to find one when needed. Hot desking emerged as a strategy to save space and meet the needs of people who were mostly away from the office.
In addition, activity-based work has prevailed in which it is assumed that employees for different tasks have different space requirements - there are therefore separate work areas for meetings, collaboration, creativity, etc.
In both approaches, the requirement increases to a place that "temporarily" houses two or more people. Desk height and chair position can simply be switched on and off, external monitors and power- & LAN supply plugged in at any time, in the paperless office hardly anyone needs personal office supplies, not to mention pens for handwriting.
Login / Logout Phone App
It gets trickier when desk phones round off a desk. Here, the technical requirements must be met, so that you can quickly and easily log in and out. Also, the personal settings should be retrieved - without having to consult an IT administrator. Already some telephone systems support this - as for example the Login / Logout Phone App of the Endpoint Manager of the FreePBX or PBXact of Sangoma / Digium. Watch the video.
Direct connection between emotions and employee engagement
In our brave new world, the technical possibilities are virtually unlimited and the shared desk with the right technical requirements is no longer a hurdle. Nevertheless, employers should not underestimate the emotional side, despite all the cost advantages. Studies show that employees can feel less supportive and marginalized (especially towards employees who still have their own workplace). Employees talk about distrust of the people who share the table with them or come to the office earlier to grab the best seats ... this definitely does not improve collaboration among colleagues. Shared desk employees also often call time wasted (to find a place or a colleague and to set up and dismantle their workspace) as a productivity killer.
Finally, shared desk can make valuable employees less loyal to the company and less passionate about their job. Lower productivity and higher turnover are not excluded.
So what if office space is tight and shared desk is a necessity? Creating excellent foundations for the change to work - that is, to exploit technical possibilities and to allow employees a (albeit small) place for private matters. In the recruiting process the shared-desk philosophy already addressed. Incidentally, people who like to work independently and very independently have less emotional sharing difficulties, by the way.
No matter what jobs your company offers, do not forget that your employee experience depends heavily on it .... and consequently your customer experience, Richard Branson also knows: "Take care of your employees, then they will take care of your customers."