février 4, 2023


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We will pay for our hybrid work freedoms with more hot-desking

In Spain it has triggered legal action. In Canada it has railed office workers. In Australia it has rattled civil servants and in Britain it is irking union leaders.

The cause of this far-flung frustration? The steady spread of hot-desking in a pandemic that threatens to turn the personal, assigned desk into an ever rarer commodity.

Hot or shared desks have been high on worker hate lists ever since they began their insidious slide into corporate life more than 20 years ago.

Unsurprisingly, people disliked the tedium of racing their colleagues to find a desk that needed adjusting and made you feel like a worthless cog.

Not much has changed. Last week, when a LinkedIn poll asked if people enjoyed hot-desking at work, 75 per cent of respondents clicked on “no”.

An even larger share of British office workers expressed the same view last year in a university study that also suggested the idea that people grow to like hot-desking over time is rubbish.

Yet demand for “flexible working spaces” is on a roll. A report this month from the JLL property group says 37 per cent of organizations globally have post-pandemic plans to increase their use of co-working or flexible space.

Some have already started. Envoy, a software group that makes an app you can use to book a hot desk, says desk reservations jumped by as much as 60 per cent a month last year.