Is hot desking so called because it's hellish?

Telecom New Zealand offshoot Gen-i has just moved into new premises where it uses "hot desking".

Telecom New Zealand offshoot Gen-i has just moved into new premises where it uses "hot desking".


While the company claims that the system delivers efficiency, I cannot think of anything worse.

I remember visiting Vodafone's new Auckland headquarters some years back; they also used "hot desking". Instead of having their own desk, members of staff pick up their laptops from their lockers, and sit where they can. Offices were open plan, too, and even CEO Russell Stanners had no privacy.

Hot desking has been around for some years, and has various pros and cons, but I see nothing but trouble in the concept.

Imagine all the messing around of getting your stuff out of a locker and having to look for somewhere to sit.

Imagine, then, you have the hassles of plugging everything in, including the telephone. Chances are that you probably also have to clean up after the filthy beast who sat there before.

With space being tighter, there will be less privacy and more noise, presenting more distractions to your work and making you less productive.

Furthermore, you can't store all of your things in a drawer, making for a messy desk. You cannot personalise your workstation, either, to feel at home, and neither will you know the person sitting nearby.

What an inhumane "battery hen" system hot desking represents! No wonder there are reports that people do not like it and morale suffers.

I have reported enough on HR issues for various technology magazines to know that the way you get the most out of your workers is to make them feel happy and valued — it works that way for me, too!

Treating staff like numbers and making them shift around willy nilly is just the way to frustrate them and increase the likelihood that they will leave.

Far better for employers to show that they care, that staff are worthy of a desk, a workplace they can call their home.

Staff can also get to know the people nearby, and as long as they don't gossip too much, having someone to chat to will make workers feel less isolated and more content and more productive.

Isn't that what building teams is about? Knowing your workmates and having happy, friendly offices? I know that hot desking is all the rage now, but I hope Gen-i will not regret the move.


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