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Is hot-desking bad for business?

Is hot-desking bad for business? Many employers now have open plan offices and hot desking to save space and reduce costs. But in a survey by Savills of 11,000 European office workers, hot-desking has come under fire. The report, called What Workers Want, said 45 per cent of those employed by a business which had hot-desking said their office layout was not good for productivity. Although hot desking is becoming more common, it seems employees are struggling to get used to it. Most employees still want their own dedicated desk, across the age groups including younger workers.

In the UK, almost three quarters of those surveyed worked in open plan offices and these people were more likely to say that the design of the office had a negative impact on productivity. The report identifies noise as a major issue. While a return to private offices for all staff is highly unlikely, the report suggests employers look at workplace acoustics when they are designing or fitting out offices.  

What can employers do about this? Interestingly, only a third of those surveyed had been asked about their working environment by their current employer. And this might be key. It might be tricky to change the layout of an office, or to allocate individual desks. However, it might be easy to ask someone to use earphones when listening to the radio, or to create a quieter break out space for people who need to concentrate. Asking your employees for feedback might identify issues which are easy to resolve. And happier employees are bound to be more productive.

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