Many organizations have downsized their physical office space because they now have a hybrid workforce thanks to the pandemic. Less office space means fewer desks and offices, but that doesn’t matter because people can share desks. No big deal, right?
Not so fast. Desk sharing, hot desking, hoteling or whatever you call it in the hybrid work situation seems great, but if you ask employees how they feel, most will tell you they don’t like it.
Turns out, human nature is still to nest. People like their own space to put their things. It gives them a sense of belonging.
They like to have their personal stuff around them to make their office environment feel more comfortable and home like. They like having personal pictures around, their preferred pens and whatever else makes them comfortable. Not having these things means carrying them back and forth to the office. It also makes the environment feel colder, less inviting, and less their own.
Researchers who’ve been studying the concept of flexible desks since 2006 say that having employees decide where they want to work each day is like engaging in work before they even sit down, and no one wants to do that. And most people go to the office early so they can get their choice spot, like corner desks, desks by a window, etc.
Then after they claim their desk repeatedly, co-workers start to recognize who sits where, and now you’re back to assigned seats again. It’s just human nature.
Let them work where they want
That’s why researchers suggest you make collaborative spaces more inviting. Let employees work independently exactly where they want to – at a desk that’s always theirs.
Desk sharing isn’t a new concept. It’s been around for decades. But up until the pandemic it wasn’t used much because most people worked in an office full time.
Now, it makes sense since people don’t need a desk every day in the office. Except people don’t like change, and taking their personal desk away is like losing something that tied them to their workplace. And that’s something you don’t want to do.