Reminder: Hot Desking Means Not Claiming A Desk As ‘Yours’

Reminder: Hot Desking Means Not Claiming A Desk As ‘Yours’

Hot desking environments are becoming increasingly common. If you’re working for a company with a hot desk approach, take note: it’s not a good idea to routinely use the same desk even if you’re mostly in the office.

The Commonwealth Bank adopted a hot desk approach when it moved a large group of staff into its Commonwealth Bank Place building in Sydney. As Business Insider reports, one lesson was that you couldn’t let people ‘claim’ desks, as that often caused friction:

One of the benefits of activity-based workplaces is that an organisation needs about 20% fewer desks than in a fixed-desk environment to account for people on leave or working offsite. That doesn’t work if some people informally claim a certain desk by sitting in the same seat day after day. [Workplace advisor Tony] Armstrong said the bank was wary of establishing a “police culture” that stopped people from sitting in the same desk, so encouraged people to prompt their friends to move desks — even if it was just to one in the same area.

Hit the full post for more lessons on making an office move, including how technology all too often fails.

Seven Lessons From Commonwealth Bank Place, Australia’s Biggest-Ever Corporate Relocation [Business Insider]


  • “The Lync softphones didn’t quite work out as planned; Armstrong explained that staff found it too difficult to set up and adapt to the technology.” ….. facepalm they tried this at my work … hot desking is an awful idea … sure its great if your on a project and you need to come into the office for 2-3 hours … other then that it fails

  • One of the benefits of activity-based workplaces is that an organisation needs about 20% fewer desks. Of course, you lose 20% productivity because people can’t do basic things like leave a post-it on their monitor.

  • Hot desking is a corporate idea designed to justify cutting back, by arguing that the actual priority is increasing productivity (which never eventuates). Suffered through it for years at my old job for one of the other Big Four, and am glad to have those days behind me.

  • And me, I’m excited about the prospect of the cross-departmental virtual team I’m on getting a team room we can all work in during some portion of the week. If people actually leave their normal desks to hang out in the team room, it will likely improve productivity. (Has at other jobs I’ve had.)

  • But, of course, as someone who does 8×5 in the office and almost never works from home or travels, I’m much more efficient with my own work area. If I WAH’d 2 days a week or travelled 2 weeks a month, I could see the cost justification for hot-desking, though.

  • I work in an insurance company call centre and I can honestly say hot desking SUCKS. same shifts week in week out and not being able to sit at the same desk every day means constantly setting up a computer you haven’t used before, a painful task when you’re monitored down to the second. No consistency is NOT a good thing.

  • Before I actually did it, I thought I’d hate ABW. But for the most part I now like it better than the traditional kind of workplace. You do notice some differences, eg most people at my office rarely make or take business phone calls since it’s way easier to communicate via instant messaging or email. The biggest PITA is farewell cards – trying to track down the next people to sign them once there’s only a few left is a nightmare.

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