Hot or not by csgirla


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Hot or not
For employees to accept hot desking as the norm,
employers need to adopt a considerate and holistic
approach to ensure staff are productive from the
moment they arrive at their desks

     ot desking simply means providing spare desks         site and to address environmental concerns - travel
H    which are used on an ad hoc, first come, first
served basis without any management. Office staff
                                                           and pollution levels are greatly reduced when
                                                           employees don't commute to the office every day.
do not have a permanent desk at work, but vary their                                                                        Nigel Reading says there are a number of steps a company
work stations regularly, according to the demands of       According to Reading there are three dominant                               can take to facilitate a seamless transition to a
their role and the needs of the organisation.              drivers for the adoption of hot desking as a business                              hot desking and remote working model.
                                                           practice - cost, the need to reduce carbon footprint,
The cost of accommodation forms a major proportion         and the fact that office staff are often away from their   respondents said they would be more in favour of hot
of a company's total expenditure and this type of          desks for a considerable amount of time but, despite       desking if it meant they had the option of being able
arrangement enables employers with itinerant               their absence, valuable - and expensive - office           to work from home.
workers and staff who are frequently out of the office     space and resources are still retained for them.
to make better use of available resources, as space        Studies undertaken by Advanced Workplace                   Almost two thirds of respondents - 59 per cent - said
within the office does not have to be allocated to         Associates indicate that most buildings are only           the main reason they disliked hot desking was that it
them permanently.                                          utilised at a rate of 45 per cent under traditional        caused unnecessary disruption to their working routine
                                                           approaches to work and workplace.                          and 23 per cent said they like to have their files and
Nigel Reading, Business Development Director for                                                                      other information sources permanently around them.
BusinessSolve says that the business, economic and         “For many companies, these issues are pressing
environmental benefits of decentralising combined          enough to move from their existing facilities to           73 per cent of those surveyed claimed they would
with hot desking and remote working are widely             smaller premises, thus encouraging employees to            find it stressful and inconvenient if they did not know
acknowledged, but it is fair to say that until recently,   adopt a remote working and hot desking model.”             precisely where they would be sitting when they
the practice of hot desking was discussed more often                                                                  arrived at work each day and for 70 per cent of
than it was actually implemented.                          A recent survey of office workers by Project Office        respondents, having their own regular desk at work
                                                           Furniture revealed that hot desking is out of favour       gives them a sense of security within their firm, with
Both private and public sector organisations are           with UK employees. Some 67 per cent of respondents         nearly two thirds stating they like to have personal
under increasing pressure to cut costs and effective       do not like hot desking, despite the cost savings and      belongings on their desk which makes them feel they
space management and efficient utilisation of existing     convenience it can mean for their employers.               own their own workspace.
resources can be a critical factor in achieving this.
Hot desking also allows companies to address other         Two thirds of those sampled said they would be less        Reading says that it is only natural that some
mission-critical issues such as allowing flexible          likely to accept a new job at a firm where staff have      personnel will resist the concept, as they feel that
working practices by providing the option to work off-     to hot desk. But, on the upside, 84 per cent of            they have earned their right to their desk and the

12      MARCH 2007
                                                                                                                                                         IN FOCUS

security and comfort that comes with it but adds that        “If the arrangement is to work smoothly; rules will         Lynn Headington, Marketing Director for Project
careful management of the situation can lead to rapid        need to be adhered to concerning office                     Office Furniture said, “Judging from the results of our
acceptance. “In order to facilitate a seamless               housekeeping, including telephone and message               survey, it's very important for people to feel
transition to a hot desking and remote working model         handling, and issues such as clear desk policies. Also      comfortable and secure at work - more specifically to
there are a number of steps a company can take. It's         make it clear which resources will be made readily          have their own desk if working full time at the office
important to consider how the change will affect the         available, and which need to be booked in advance.          in order for them to be productive and efficient.
staff - not many of us like working in isolation so          Maximising productivity is also critical, implementing
make sure the new set up allows space for group and          an effective scheduling solution enables users to           “That said, hot desking can be an effective way for firms
team meetings and for some interaction.”                     check the availability of resources and book them           to manage their overheads, and is clearly popular if staff
                                                             either in advance or on arrival. In fact, with the right    can also have the chance to work from home. If working
52 per cent of respondents to Project Office                 tools, hot deskers can be just as productive as they        two days out of five in the office, hot desking is a cost
Furniture's survey felt their productivity was increased     were when based in their former centralised office.”        effective way for FMs to maximise return on investment.
by sitting with the same colleagues because it means                                                                     Our message to employers is to consider whether a hot
they can hear and share information without having to        According to Professor Cary Cooper of UMIST                 desking policy is really going to increase efficiency or will
communicate formally and more than half - 57 per             University, Project Office Furniture's survey results on    it leave staff feeling alienated and out of the loop. If there
cent - felt their efficiency may be reduced if they          hot desking bear out a common theme. “Staff want            is a risk of this, then firms need to work hard with their
regularly had to move their personal belongings.             an element of security that is represented by having        internal communications procedures to prevent this from
                                                             their own desk. They want to feel that they have            happening if they go down the hot desking route.”
“It's also essential that you communicate any                some control over their working lives and their own
proposed change in working style before presenting           desk is particularly important at a time when jobs for
it as a fait accompli,” says Reading. “By allowing           life are fast disappearing. That said they are                FOR MORE INFORMATION
workers to express any concerns they may have                increasingly seeking a happy work-life balance, so            Business Solve    
about the new practice gives you a chance to                 like to be able to combine working from home and
address these fears and design the hot desking               turning up to the office. They value that flexibility but     Project Office Furniture  
model and policy with their needs front of mind.             still want deskspace that they can call their own.”

   Practice makes perfect
   Booking music practice rooms at London's Royal Academy of Music is now
   more efficient following the deployment of a sophisticated scheduling solution
   developed by BusinessSolve.

   Practice Room Manager is based on the firm's Hotdesk Manager, and enables
   students to book music practice rooms in advance, via a Web Browser or
   Touch Screen panel.

   The Academy's management board decided to overhaul its previous booking
   procedures after Student Union representatives outlined that paper-based
   bookings were outdated, environmentally incorrect and unable to keep pace with
                                                 the increasing demands placed upon
                                                 it by the Academy's 700 students.

                                                 With the recent move to a Windows-
                                                 based environment, the Academy
                                                 was in a position to consider a more        Using Practice Room Manager, students now pre-book practice rooms either
                                                 effective method for pre-booking            from offsite PCs, or from any of the Academy's onsite computers. When a
                                                 practice rooms.                             practice room has been booked, students receive confirmation via email or
                                                                                             SMS. On arrival at the Academy, students use one of four touch screen panels
                                                 After the Academy assessed the              to confirm their arrival and authorised use of the practice room. If they do not
                                                 scheduling solutions available, staff       confirm their arrival ten minutes after the time slot the room was booked for, the
                                                 and student representatives                 system automatically releases the room, making it available for others to use.
                                                 concluded that Hotdesk Manager
                                                 best suited its requirements and the        Chris Meaney, the Academy's Head of Technology, commented, “The Royal
                                                 Academy's strategy for deploying            Academy of Music attracts some of the world's most promising musical
                                                 more Microsoft Windows-based and            talents. It is right that the Academy should provide them with the tools and
                                                 web-based teaching tools. With its          resources they need to help them optimise their essential practice sessions.
                                                 flexible rules engine, easy
                                                 integration and easy-to-tailor              “Both in principle and in practice, Hotdesk Manager - re-branded as Practice
                                                 interface, Hotdesk Manager enabled          Room Manager - is the ideal scheduling solution to introduce to the Academy.
                                                 the Royal Academy of Music to               We are confident that it will vastly increase the efficiency of the room booking
                                                 easily re-brand the solution as             process, and help our students to maximise the effectiveness of their time at
                                                 'Practice Room Manager'.                    the Academy.”

                                                                                                                                                               MARCH 2007         13

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