#BlogJune 16 – Hotdesking

 

desk-1283688_1920.jpg

Disclaimer: stock photo – not my desk. A library would never use Macs

This week we had a much loved staff member move on. Her position won’t be re-advertised so I have inherited her desk.

I work weird hours and I spend more than half of my working hours out on the service desk, so I was previously hotdesking with a few other part time staff. I didn’t mind it, I’m not particularly possessive of having my own space since all I really need to do my job is a personal network drive to store my files, and an internet connection. According to my experience, here are the pro’s and cons of hotdesking compared to… erm, regular desking.

PROS

  • It is a space saver. The whole hotdesking thing was actually initiated when a few staff moved to another campus, meaning there were just enough desks for two offices to be consolidated into one, if a handful of part time staff shared a few desks. The empty office was actually converted to make more student space in the library.
  • Better team relationships. The two old offices were actually divided into the “Librarians” office and the “Loans team” (i.e. library technician & assistants) office. We are lucky to have a really cohesive staff team, and having everyone together in the same office has fostered that even more. Us librarians used to be in an office upstairs, the “ivory tower”, as I called it, which meant we were not that approachable.
  • Less clutter. You’re less inclined to leave piles of paper around when a  space isn’t “yours”. I’m a self-declared paper-hater, and turn down offers of booklets and handouts and bits and pieces which I’m guaranteed to never look at again if I file them away in some drawer of booklets and handouts and bits and pieces. Having limited space to store unnecessary papers is a plus, in my opinion, because it discourages it from accumulating.

CONS

  • It’s hard for people to get in contact by phone since they don’t know which desk you’re at. We have a shared office space so colleagues can easily approach each other in person, but if a phone call comes through the main desk, the staff member there does not know what number to forward it to because they don’t know which station I’m at. I’m sure that workplaces that have embraced “full hotdesk” are mobile based.
  • Using a handful of different computers meant setting up my internet bookmarks for each of them. Even though I saved my bookmarks as an HTML file and imported them to each computer I would use, I would end up adding and subtracting bookmarks and they ended up being all different on different computers. I’m sure there are web-based bookmarking apps I could have used to get around this, but I didn’t bother. I’m not a huge bookmarker, I just like having a  little toolbar of my most used sites to access quickly. Again, I’m sure “full hotdesk” workers use laptops.
  • You’re not able to personalise your workspace. As I mentioned, I don’t mind, but some people find it hard to adjust to different environments all the time, and would rather have their workspace set up according to how they like it and how they work efficiently. Also, it is nice to have pictures, decorations, trophies, etc. to customise your workspace to make it more personal. My first thought when I got set up at my new desk was that I’ll need to bring in some knick-knacks to put around the place.

OTHER OBSERVATIONS

  • Even though there was a handful of desks to chose from, most of us would end up having a de facto “main” desk that we gravitated towards. Mine was the smallest, which made people feel sorry for me, but I didn’t care because I had all the space I needed. Much more than my study at home.
  • Staff members would express confusion and surprise when I changed location day to day. Sometimes they’d be looking for me, and they’d look at my “usual” spot and not see me, so they’d conclude that I wasn’t around. They’d then get spooked when I suddenly appeared sitting somewhere else. Now they’ll know where to find me!
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4 Comments

  1. I voluntarily share a desk with another staff member because I work from home as much as possible and when I do go into the office, I’m usually in meetings. Recently I broke my foot and worked from home full time for 8 weeks and my co-inhabiter kinda took the desk over, which I don’t really mind. It’s a bit odd though because she’s got photos of my family on her desk along with hers! I basically have a drawer there with a bit of stationery in it and that’s it! I mostly work on the lounges in the office and kinda like my nomadic desking practices, but every now and then I think it would be nice to have my own space again.

    Tip: If you’ve got Chrome on work computers you can sign into it and it saves your bookmarks and makes them accessible across all computers.

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    1. Ah, I forgot that Chrome does that. I logged in to check my Gmail one time at my parent’s house and it synced all my bookmarks to their computer, even after I signed out. I felt kind of exposed. (I did work out how to un-sync in Chrome settings). Thanks for the tip, if I ever go back to hotdesking I think I will do that!

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  2. There’s a few approaches to hotdesking, and yes as you comment, it usually involves laptops. However in some library situations it can be possible to run a virtual desktop or thin client though that approach usually needs to be set up from the IT Dept’s end.

    As far as online bookmarking is concerned, I’ve gravitated to pocket and have it on all my devices. I tend to have multiple devices open and it’s nice to be able to easily share data across all of them.

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    1. Yeah Pocket is meant to be good, especially for saving the thousands of links that people share on twitter, facebook, etc – but there’s never enough time to read them straight away.

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