Companies wishing to reduce their costs are asking employees to book a desk at work, according to a psychologist speaking at the 9th Industrial and Organisational Psychology Conference (IOP) in Brisbane tomorrow.
As increasing numbers of employees work part-time or in jobs that don‟t require their presence in the office, employers are looking at ways to reduce under-used office space.
Many employees will be familiar with hot-desking, a concept involving shared desks in open-plan offices first introduced in the 1980s. But now not even senior executives will escape as cost-conscious designers are recommending a fully ‘non-territorial office’, in which all staff ‘must check in’ in advance to secure a desk, meeting room or private office.
George Mylonas, a member of the Australian Psychological Society who works with companies to ensure their offices are efficient and productive, says that some companies are finding their employees resistant to the concept, which is also known as ‘hoteling’.
“Humans are creatures of habit who do miss the chance to socialise with regular neighbours, store their things and personalise their desk. Some employees try to find ways to book out the same space next to the same people permanently,” says Mylonas.
Mr Mylonas, who has reviewed research into human reactions to non-territorial and open-plan offices, says that companies have found that they can accommodate 20 to 40 per cent more staff by requiring their employees to book a space according to actual time needed and task planned, such as a meeting or quiet research.
“Employees benefit from getting to know members of other teams within the organisation. Properly introduced, this nomadic approach can also promote flexible and dynamic working, which can benefit the right kind of business.”