The rapid spread of COVID-19 around the world has forced health authorities and businesses to rethink how employees interact with each other, both in public and business settings.
But the pandemic does not have to be the nail in the hotdesking coffin.
As we learn to balance the new hybrid model of working with contact tracing, social distancing, office dynamics and employee and customer safety, hotdesking can once again become a viable and valuable option.
Many businesses have begun the slow migration back to the traditional office setting, as both employee and employer remain cautious of the ever-present threat of COVID-19.
Protocols such as temperature checking, the removal of desks which would not support physical distancing, monitoring of staff present at any one particular time for contact tracing purposes and an efficient cleaning regimen are paramount.
If a hotdesking environment follows all of these safety measures, there is no reason or data to date to suggest the space is or would be no less safe to work in than any other common office.
Hotdesking can benefit both employer and employee alike as we form our new ‘normal’ working arrangements.
With safety covered, here are the top reasons why we should be warming to the idea.
1. Flexibility for employees
Hotdesking in its very nature supports the hybrid worker by purposely providing space which is designed to not be occupied by the same employee every day of the week.
The idea of just popping into the office, or any office for a matter of fact, albeit on a more casual basis than before, does have it appeal for many workers, giving them the option to either work from home or come into the office when it suits them.
2. …and employers
By embracing this pliable working strategy, businesses can look to engage a whole new realm of candidates when the need to recruit arises.
There are many new parents, working parents and others who quite often are taken out of the recruitment race because they find it almost impossible to commit to a five-day-a-week office commute.
Hotdesking is supporting the equivalent of job share but in a working environment capacity.
It affords a blend of flexible home and office working arrangements, which means engaging these employees looking for flexibility is now a viable option for businesses.
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Hotdesking is a winning combination for displaced staff trying to get their work done and for bosses who would like to facilitate a more formal setting for their employees.
For some employees, it means that they know they can come in and coordinate any face-to-face work they may need to do on certain days of the week with others.
It may also determine when they can organise particular remote meetings while in the office without fear of their little ones running in and interrupting them for the fifth snack of the morning.
For employers, it can ensure that productivity remains, well, productive.
Returning to the office shouldn’t be seen as a punishment (although for many workers it feels like it as they relish in the working from home experience), but this option allows management to keep a closer eye on staff who they may feel need some guidance from a performance management perspective.
4. Social sanity
The practical issues some families have faced with either sharing their limited home office space with a partner or attempting to work while the kids are home have been well documented across the news and on the pages of social media.
For some people, the whole idea of working from home with no other physical interaction with another adult for days on end is becoming long in the tooth.
5. Cutting costs for employers
The recession has hit, and it has hit businesses hard.
Commercial rent is again, another topic which is at the forefront of the news at the moment, with businesses counting every penny and looking at ways to cut their overheads.
Hotdesking allows for the overall office footprint to be reduced.
By minimising spatial requirements, companies can save money not just on rents, but also equipment such as computers, desks, printers and other office amenities.
Promoting collaborative workplaces once again
Teamwork and collaboration has not and will not disappear. We have just had to readjust how this is achieved.
Hotdesking paves the way for offices to be more collaborative by focusing on team workspaces rather than individual spaces.
Yes, there is the innate pull towards the idea of separatism at the moment as we physically space, socially distance and refrain from physical contact with others, but again, if done safely, working in a group environment is achievable.
Hotdesking can be safe, is viable, and is still a hot option for businesses and employees alike.
If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it is that flexibility should be embraced, and hotdesking provides the epitome of the flexible working environment that many of us are looking for.