Excuse me, you’re sitting in my spot

Nowadays it seems as if companies are trying new ways to save money or revolutionize the work space. Big corporations are implementing new ideas that try to increase teamwork and socialization between employees. One of these new trends is called hot desking. Hot desking is when multiple workers use the same work station at different times. No one has their own set office space and when workers come in to the office they simply choose an open spot. On average, 30% of offices in the United States are vacant (Marr). Companies can save money by properly utilizing their work space. More employees are packed into smaller workstations which allow for more meeting rooms. This is supposed to spur collaboration and help project members from different departments by giving them more space to work together. Deloitte’s new Toronto office has implemented this structural change because management believes that it will mesh well with their travel based work (Marr).Space per worker has been decreasing over the past couple of decades. In 2000, there were 4 workers per 1,000 square feet. By 2017, it is projected that there will be 7 workers for same amount of square footage. Many people compare it to high school where you would place your belongings into lockers and go from there.

This is supposed to help workers mingle with different people daily. Meeting people from different departments can be a great networking tool and can be refreshing. Also if you enjoy sitting by someone, you can choose to do so. Same thing can be said if you would like to avoid sitting by someone. However there are still problems with this layout. Even though upper levels of management such as partners don’t have their own offices, they may still sit in the same spot every day. Many workers would prefer if they could have their own spot where they can store their belongings (Collins). Though teamwork is supposed to be more efficient in this structure, what happens when someone just needs to sit down and go to work without being disturbed? There isn’t a sense of privacy that one might have with their own desk or cubicle. Since more people are crammed into a space, there can be a loss of productivity due to distractions. Also, setting up shop at a different desk everyday can be time consuming. Though this idea might seem great, management should really see if it matches their office culture.

As someone with their own cubicle and desk I am opposed to this idea. I feel that in order to be productive, I need privacy and my own work space. Switching desks seems like a hassle. It can be hard to know where to go for specific help when I have questions since the specialist might not be sitting on your floor. Psychologically speaking, I like that I have a space that is simply mine, it doesn’t make me seem as expendable. As an employee I am opposed to this and much rather prefer the traditional office setting because I would be able to work more efficiently.

What do you think about this office craze?

Do you feel that this increases productivity?

Would you like to work in this sort of environment?

Are the monetary cost savings worth it?




10 thoughts on “Excuse me, you’re sitting in my spot

  1. I worked in an environment like this over the summer. A group of employees shared an open space with no assigned work desks. While it increased sociability among coworkers, it also decreased productivity slightly. All the opportunities to mingle led to more distractions and less work getting done. I think having a combination of open work space and private offices is the best solution for optimal productivity. Having experienced both styles, I preferred having a separate space despite the many advantages of hot desking.

  2. I worked in this environment over the summer as well. 2 people would be using the same work space at different point in the day, using when it was first shift and then second shift. Although I see why companies are doing this–to back costs, to increase the amount of working space, and to have employees interact with each other, but I do not think this will be beneficial in the future. When I worked in this environment, there was decrease in productivity and more employees were getting made at one another. When they shared an office space, their things would get moved around a lot or if the person in the second shift came to take their spot, they had to leave and make sure they did not leave any of their personal belongings. There was no sense of “ownership”and someones this interaction is too much interaction. I would prefer to work in a separate desk as well.

  3. I think the introduction of “hot desking” is certainly an interesting one. However, I feel that this type of communication and office arrangement is better suited for company’s that strive on collaboration and project work. For example, a PR company would probably benefit from this, as well as have increased productivity, because of the natural team environment. Personally, I would not benefit from this type of workspace, because like yourself, I need my own private space to collect my thoughts and work on my own. I do think that the monetary costs are worth looking at if offices used this space, but kept assigned desks. I would hate having to move my stuff to a different seat every day, especially if I was working on a lengthy project.

  4. I have worked with this setting for over a year in the past, and I think it all depends on what industry you are in for this to work. I worked in a equity-trading firm and I was amazed by how they constructed their space. We would all come in to the office and basically sat wherever we wanted to if we were not working on a specific stock/project. In a trading firm, it is important to have your very own computer-setting; however, what my company did was to standardized all the equipments so that we would feel comfortable no matter where we sat. We would move around if certain people were assign to a specific project.

    Personally, I strongly believe that this setting can increasing the productivity considering the industry I was in. Although the company I worked at didn’t do it for maximizing the space, but they did save some money by standardizing the equipments.

    Another thing I would like to point out is that this “hot desking”, in my opinion, has made every employee more comfortable by eliminating the “corner offices” type of things.

  5. I think companies are using the idea of hot desking as a way to cut cost and masking it by saying they want people to interact more. It is a great idea in that sense, but really only leads to more issues than benefits. Although people are not told exactly where to sit there will still be cliques formed within the workplace.People will gravitate to the same area daily sitting by their friends which defeats the goal of interacting more with their peers. I also think that this idea blurs the lines of authority in the workplace. Everyone is bunched together and no clear leadership is present because we look to be all on the same level. Lastly, I think it allows for less productivity and lack of motivation because the workplace is more social than work oriented. It is a great idea, but doesn’t seem as if it is going to work.

  6. I think that’s just what hot desking is: a craze. I don’t feel like it is productive to the employees. However, I feel that this is productive and cost effective to the company. I agree with you; there is definitely a sense of insecurity in how expendable you are for the company. When you have your own private space, you know this is your location for your own productivity, and you can organize yourself so you can stay on task.
    I would not like to work in this sort of environment. I would have to come in earlier, just to organize my desk spot and get everything in place before my work day begins. I don’t feel like there is a need for it, and I think it is quite ridiculous.

  7. I agree with Kristin that the idea of hot desking would be much more successful in businesses that strive on collaboration and project work. However, we all know that this is not every businesses’s work environment. The layout of the office space would definitely increase the social atmosphere. At the same time productivity would decrease drastically. Environments like these would make me more interested in mingling than getting things done. This layout situation reminds me so much of the Lincoln Park library. When forced to sit in a cubical there are less distractions and more work getting completed. On the other hand, when I am with a group of other friends, whom also have things to get done, one small tangent leads to another until I realize I have wasted an entire visit to the library. A meeting with a group for the same class project, however, becomes productive in a completely different way. This relationship between the library and the workplace shows that hot desking would primarily hold its success in a collaborative workplace that strives on teamwork.

  8. Last year I interned for a PR and advertising firm and the layout of the office was exactly like this. Everyone was supposed to co-mingle and work with one another. However, I think this layout did not work well. Almost everyone would come in to their work and sit in the same spot and people even had their spots marked. The space above the computers was decorated and personalized. Everyone liked having their own space and the concept of sharing space seemed to make it difficult for everyone. The upper management did have their own offices that had glass windows and doors.

    I feel as if a lot of people would like this concept, but if it’s not utilized properly then it can definitely have a adverse effect. I did not mind working in this kind of environment. But, then again I am a extraverted person and I enjoy talking and working alongside others. But, put a introverted personality in to this work environment and they might hate the concept of it.

  9. “Hot deskin” is definitely an interesting strategy companies are trying to promote more team work and communication. I think the excitement of being somewhere new every day may promote people to have more enthusiasm and better communication with fellow employees. However, for me, I love having a spot to call my own, that is part of the excitement of getting hired. I also feel that having to get up and walk around to communicate with fellow employees, allows your brain to take a rest and recuperate something that ‘hot desking” does not promote.

  10. I actually work in a company that some floors have adapted the “Hot Desking” technique, while other floors have stuck to the more traditional individual cube lay out. I work on the floor with the traditional cube lay out and, while sometimes I feel like I am in a cave, it is also nice to have my own space to put up pictures and keep my documents.

    As a recruiter, I am constantly on the phone with candidates and hiring managers. I would feel bad if someone other than another recruiter had to sit next to me, because I know I would probably get annoying with all my phone calls. Perhaps for jobs that do not require phone calls on a daily basis the Hot Desking layout could be very beneficial. One of the Vice Presidents at my company told me to get to know as many people within the company as possible. Hot Desking would definitely allow this happen easier.

    Also at my company about 1/3 if not more employees work from home at least 2 times a week, resulting in empty cube space. I think for companies that have a high work from home rate could also benefit from Hot Desking. They would be able to save space, and ultimately money.

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