Opinion: Hot Desk situation

The company I’m working for, recently shifted into a new building and decided to implement the hot desking culture. Due to space constraints, our office has to be split into 2 levels of the building. Each department has a general “area” they can sit in, or not, because hot desking applies to “everyone” in the company.

You might be rolling your eyes, thinking… here we go again. Another company jumping on the “cool” trend of workplace culture.

I rolled my eyes when the news became official and immediately loathed the idea of not having a desk to call my own. Not to mention the fact that we have to clear off our desks at the end of the day, which means we also have to spend time setting up our gig (cleaning, disinfecting, plugging in cables, shifting the monitor to the right, etc…) at the start of the day, like we aren’t already busy enough.

Sounds trivial? It is.

A month into our new office, and at this moment, I must say that I’m embracing and loving the hot desking culture.

I’m a front-end developer.

Before everyone chimes in to say that hot desking won’t work for the tech department and I’ll take back my words, let me share with you the reasons why it is working for me, for now at least.

  1. When you sit away from your team, it forces you to become more independent in learning because you lose that convenience of having someone within your grasp to simply ask for answers. I’ve noticed that, people do more in-depth checks and research on their own to truly understand the issue before even starting that Skype conversation. Of course, you should still ask if you’ve spent a substantial amount of time researching but can’t find the solution to your problem.
  2. You get to choose your spot (depending on how early you arrive, of course) that you are comfortable in, to sink in for the rest of the day. This could also mean, you can choose a secluded spot to focus on your tasks, or a more active spot to mingle with the rest of the company.
  3. The clean desk policy… Look at it as a way of enforcing the fact that it’s the start of a brand new day when you setup your workstation in the morning. Cleaning up the workstation and putting away your things into your locker at the end of the day, serves as a reminder that work has ended for the day and it should stay that way.

Of course, there’s more that I’m sure I’ve yet to discover as we are still in the teething period of our move-in and I might change my mind later on.

Here are my make or break points that determines the success of this hot desking culture:

  1. The trivial stuff can be easily eliminated. Every desk should be equipped with LAN adapters, power adapters and external monitors. We are hot desking, we should not be moving workstations.
  2. It requires every member of the team to be highly-disciplined and responsible beings. Hot desking is not an excuse for you to go missing just because you are not expected to be at your seat/team area.
  3. If it has been communicated that it should apply to everyone, then, it has to be embraced and respected by everyone in the company. No excuses, no exceptions.
  4. If exceptions, unfortunately, has to be made, then it should be communicated clearly to everyone in the company, and agreed upon, instead of silently approving / allowing them to happen. It’s not fair and you’re just planting seeds of discontent. Don’t forget, I’d still like to have a desk to call my own.