7 Tips for hot desking

7 Tips for hot desking

If you are yet to hear the term, hot desking is the concept of a temporary desk in a permanent workplace. While it is certainly not a new concept, it has found favour with organisations that operate on flexible schedules or balance the need for their staff to work from both home and the office.

When staff are only in the office for a day or two, or even for a morning here and there, the need to have a full-time office space is diminished. The desk can then be used by other workers who operate on a similar schedule. This makes it more efficient for organisations in terms of space and resources and it can be cheaper in the long run. While it is great to promote employee flexibility and cut costs for the company, not everyone is a fan of hot-desking.

If your company has recently changed to a hot desking environment (or considering it), then here are some ideas to maximise the situation and make it work for you and your team. Learning to cope with change and building resilience is a positive tool and these tips will help you work towards doing just that. Very soon you too may become a fan of hot desking.

Switch to an online to-do list

There’s a huge debate about whether people are fans of paper to-do lists or prefer using online apps. I switched over to the online system about a year ago and have seen amazing results in terms of my organisation levels. I currently use the online task list and zero inbox method that Dermot Crowley teaches, after seeing his keynote at the Clariden Global 5th Australia National EA/PA conference I highly recommend it. If you move your lists online, then there is no need to continuously drag your to-do list from desk to desk. It is one less thing to worry about.

Create an efficient online filing system

When you don’t have one space to call your own, then you need to ensure you have an efficient online filing system to quickly and easily locate the files you need. Make sure your method of choice is workable and replicates how a paper-based system would operate, so you don’t waste time searching through your laptop.

All documents need to be put in a specific place rather than left as an attachment to an email. Be consistent and try to keep up with your filing on a regular basis for ease. Delete those documents that are no longer relevant to keep space for the more important documentation.

Work in spurts

If you work continuously for long stretches of time, your mind and body can become tired. The 90-minute rule capitalises on the fact that our brains can only concentrate for 90 minutes at a time. Therefore, you need to devote the first 90-minutes of your day to the most challenging task. Even if you don’t feel you are at your most alert during the early hours, it will help discipline your mind to get straight to work without the need for procrastination. A good tip here is to switch off all your other devices (phone and email) so you can devote 100% of your attention to that one task. You can then apply the 90-minute principle to the rest of your day, time permitting – just remember to take a break in between.

Put processes in place

Failure to locate an empty desk can certainly put a spanner in your works. Therefore, your company should put the necessary processes in place to eliminate the risk of everyone turning up at the office at the same time. There is nothing worse than arriving with a busy workload only to find that you cannot secure a space to sit.

An online booking system can work well, especially during peak periods and ensure that everyone has somewhere to work. Condeco is one such system, but of course, there are many others. Trial them to see what works best for you.

Working away from your team or boss

Unless you have a needy Boss who wants and needs you there all the time, working remotely can be a real blessing. But first, you need to fine-tune the processes and contemplate the best way to operate remotely away from one another. You may be surprised to learn that it CAN be done with just the slightest tweak of systems.

Again, having set processes and systems in place is important to ensure that everything keeps slowing. Working remotely (or across the office) will highlight the need to ensure you have regular catch ups with your Boss. It will also require you to be more strategic in your role which will involve asking the right questions to ensure you are always across what is going on to stay one step ahead.

Just because you are in separate locations, doesn’t mean that you will cease working together. On the contrary, you may even find the level of communication and productivity between you and your team, or your boss improves immensely.

Ditch the clutter

An unmanned desk can feel particularly sterile and clinical especially if it is all decked out in grey and white or other nondescript colours. If you know this is an issue within your company, or have heard comments about the unfriendly décor, then do something about it.

As a Leader in the business, make it your business to ensure that the space is as friendly and as inspiring as you can. Discuss it with whoever is in charge and arrange to change it. No one wants to work in a bland and colourless environment. Add a pop of colour or a print at the very least, so it feels welcoming to all who use the space.

Change your mindset

Change is a fear that many people struggle with. It can leave many individuals feeling devalued, out of touch, or even worried about their future. But on the other hand, change can be an excellent chance for you and your team to learn and grow and conntect with other departments. It can create new approaches to age-old problems. It can increase opportunities and actually be a vital part of your career success. Change, in the long run, can have a very positive impact on those in your office and even minimise stress and anxiety. Workplace environments are adapting and if this increases more benefits to those in the office as well as a more sensible approach to work/life balance, then I, for one, am on board.

While there is a chance that hot desking might not be a good fit for your office, it is worth considering if you have a mix of employees and contractors. The added flexibility can become beneficial to you if used to your advantage. If hot desking is on the cards at your workplace, it is definitely worth attempting on a trial basis at the very least – nothing ventured, nothing gained as they say!

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