Shared office space is the new reality for white collar workers as the nation's high real estate costs and corporate austerity initiatives push firms to eliminate waste everywhere they can. It makes financial sense for your company to maximize the usefulness of desk space and other office furnishings that sit vacant for most of the day. The resulting increase in cross-team communication with such a profound workspace change is also shown to inspire collaboration and innovation. Great minds interact more frequently, creating opportunities to work together to solve problems and create new products and markets.
To make the hot desk system work with diverse work teams, clear rules on desk-sharing and meeting spaces must be established. Some ideas to implement include:
Don't let the collaborative spirit drive away your more introverted team members. A great deal of work is accomplished by the lone wolf, nose-to-the-grindstone types. While creativity may be fostered by forcing workers to interact, respect the processes of those who will never be comfortable with constant human interaction.
Observe a daily schedule of safe or "quiet" hours. During these periods, people may enter designated private offices to work undisturbed. Create a fair schedule so everyone who needs secluded work space gets some time each day.
There are office products designed to partition off, or "hide" a truly introverted worker in a quiet work cocoon. You may not want to go that far, but make sure any shy-but-diligent person has a private office space or the option to work from home if co-working is a challenge.
To help employees adapt to hot desk workspaces, make it simple and graceful to set up a given workspace on the fly. Invest in easy-to-adjust desks and chairs, and provide shelving and tables with ample space to spread out files and project materials.
Dedicated lockers for personal office effects are a great idea. Purchase several sturdy carts to store in the locker room, so staff may easily transport items from their lockers to temporary desks and back. Give workers a sense of control with individual climate, music and lighting options in temporary office and meeting spaces.
Issue each person their own landline handset, if such phones are used, so people who worry about the spread of germs feel more secure. Make it easy to plug and unplug the handsets with accessible jacks. Institute a strict routine of disinfecting and cleaning all shared spaces with non-toxic products and methods, and provide disinfecting hand sanitizers and surface wipes near each work station.
Hot desk management tools
Use co-working software to book hot desk times and ensure key people have access to rooms and amenities when they need them. Standard scheduling programs don't have the agility and flexibility you need to manage diverse personalities and furnishing arrangements, so go beyond the common and invest in a program designed specifically with the hot desk model in mind. Tracking employees and scheduling meetings throughout the work day are all tackled by these tools.
Check to be certain all workers are able to access co-working and scheduling apps. Cloud storage and shared printers are also vital hot-desking tools, but you must offer continual training programs so all staff understand how to access shared data and equipment.
Get feedback on a regular basis to refine your co-working arrangements. Order pizza and ice cream for the crew and ask them to make recommendations for useful changes. Provide a way for shy people to vent anonymously (with restrictions, of course) through a suggestion box or other comment method.
Each firm must adapt its shared spaces individually, basing decisions on specific operations and worker roles when implementing the hot desk system. Don't be afraid to experiment until you develop the plan that's most productive and cost-efficient for your team. For more information, contact commpanies like Add-On.
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