Office life: why everyone hates hot desking

Office life can’t get more depressing than hot-desking. Is it worth the cost saving? Or does it sap employee motivation? Here’s the truth.

Few aspects of office life are more depressing than hot-desking. This involves many workers using a single workstation during different time periods. it does away with each staff member having their own personal desk. The trouble is this casts them out to a noisy, messy wasteland of shared work spots.

It’s easy to see why companies think it an attractive option in the office. In places like London or Hong Kong real estate prices are massive. Annual costs for a single workstation are as much as $20,000. And due to holidays and illness workstations are often empty. So, the temptation to bring in shared desks is obvious.

Office productivity

Yet no one seems to consider the cost of sapped productivity. Research has demonstrated that while there may be cost saving in office space hot desking has significant negative impacts on both productivity and staff morale. These are due to:

  • a lack of permanent space,
  • an unclear work hierarchy, and
  • inconvenient communication between team members.

In fact:

As you surely know by now, they’re demotivating, distracting and linked to higher stress and blood pressure. According to recent research, there isn’t even an upside in the form of more serendipitous face-to-face conversation; in fact, they make people talk less. Of course, they do save money, which is the real reason they exist – though if they do that by making employees vastly less effective, you’ve got to wonder if it’s a viable long-term plan.

Maybe the people we should pity most are HR? They have to oversee the hot desking system. They have to constantly patrol the office for signs of encampment.

It’s time to end this madness.

What do you think? Why not leave a comment below?

Photo by Leone Venter on Unsplash

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