Hot Desking: A Trend for the Future
If you’ve heard the term “hot desking” thrown around lately and haven’t got a clue about what it means, fear not. We spoke with our ergonomists to clarify the emerging workplace trend.
A clever business strategy that’s grown in popularity in the last handful of years, hot desking evolved as employers began to notice that 100% of their employees weren’t present at their workstations 100% of the time. Though implemented differently depending on the company, hot desking refers to workstations that employees can use on an as-needs basis.
It’s an effective space-saving strategy, but hot desking can have some pitfalls if the workstations aren’t set up with the comfort and safety of the users in mind.
When it comes to this trend, some people throw ergonomics out altogether. They may believe that the tools don’t need to adjust to the user, because the user isn’t using them very consistently or for very long. On the contrary, these workstations should especially emphasize comfort and be tailored to the employee who sits there, however infrequently. Even working at a computer for one hour a day has the potential to cause musculoskeletal discomfort. Now, if you work at a computer for four hours a day, that risk is nine—yes, nine!—times higher. Remember, the effects of poor posture are cumulative, so sitting well at all times is crucial.
For employers with a mobile workforce, it’s important to note that a workstation that is set up with ergonomics in mind is more likely to be an incentive for staff to work in the office, rather than from home. You can’t expect a “dumb desk”—that is, a desk that uses typical office furniture, rather than ergonomic work tools—to help create the workstation of the future. If the future is going to allow employees to have a more flexible schedule, then the workstations must be as flexible to accommodate and fit the user, instead of forcing the user to fit into the furniture.
Consider investing in sit/stand desks, quality task chairs and laptop stands or monitor arms to allow all employees to position their equipment where it’s comfortable for them. Task lights can encourage users to customize their space, helping to compensate for the psychological ramifications of not having a desk to call home.
Regardless of how often employees work in the office, it’s important for them to be comfortable. Even more than that, they should have a sense of control and ownership over their space, too. Ergonomic work tools can provide this feeling. Believe us, a little investment in the hot desking workstation goes a long way.