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The Future of Collaborative Working | How lockers can help you hotdesk
26 February 2016

Using Lockers and Hotdesks to save desk space


Saving Desk Space… How Lockers can help you Hotdesk

When you think of classic office hallmarks, what springs to mind? Swivel chairs, in/out trays and stacks of paper you’ll ‘get round to sorting soon’ are all obvious staples. What about personal desks? An obvious choice you would think…

But do we really need them?

The role of desks in the workplace has changed dramatically in the past decade – what was once a necessity of the office has been demoted to just one of many possible options. Many organisations are looking to move towards a more flexible working environment without fixed spaces, personal storage has become a crucial part of the workings of any team.

In workspace analysis it is common to find that only a fraction of the stations are used at any given time. But we like our own space. We’re territorial creatures and we mark our own space with #1 Dad mugs and family photos. Desk sharing is always a tricky subject to broach; workers can feel detached and dislocated if it isn’t intelligently introduced. When executed well, however, collaborative, open spaces can foster improved working relations and enhance the mood and productivity of your office.

The decline of desks

The way we create our workspaces is tending away from traditional, static desk-based designs to more flexible and efficient ‘agile working’ models.

But innovation is never easy and breaking down the concept of ownership and territory in the workspace is a tough ask. You might transfer the argument that while your bed is only used for a third of the day, you wouldn’t want to share it with strangers. But the office is different to the home and collaborative spaces will help to ensure less of your colleagues are strangers to you.

Personal offices are increasingly seen as an unnecessary draw on space, ultimately counter-productive and a huge drain on budgets. Managers may argue that confidential work necessitates privacy, but appraisals and sensitive phone calls are usually sparse and even confidential space can be made flexible.

Moving away from fixed desks to agile working spaces will help streamline your office and help your workers streamline their own processes and routines. Office workers are generally terrible hoarders. Paperwork piles up, brochures, business cards and broken pens creep into crevices and clutter accumulates. When you calculate your special requirements you need to understand what is essential working day but also their personal accents. The change forces workers to ask themselves questions like ‘do I really need this Dominoes voucher list sitting in my drawer for the next 6 months?’

Where did hotdesking come from?

The term hotdesking has roots in the military; in submarines and ships, multiple crew members would be assigned to a bed or ‘rack’ to maximise space. When one sailor came off duty he would take the place of a sleeping sailor and the next one would replace him and so on.

While being a far more hygienic practice, hotdesking still had a stigma attached to it but it is being used more and more to not only utilise space, but make workers feel like more of a complete social unit, rather than segmented teams that overlap at the coffee machine or printer.

The main fear that you need to allay with the absence of permanent work spaces is that workers can get guaranteed access to the right facilities, equipment and resources whenever they need to.

Lock it up, lock it in

It falls to locker, a storage solution typically restricted to gyms and schools, to unlock the potential of flexible workspaces. As soon as you remove personal space and remove the safety of an assigned desk it’s even more important to assign an area for staff to store their things.

Lockers shouldn’t just be afterthought either.

The absence of individual areas in collaborative spaces has catalysed a trend towards a more customised look to personal storage. Lockers can be incorporated to design and properly integrated into the overall feel of your environment, make them work to your advantage by maximising their space, location and look.

Shifting toward this more modern method of working is an iterative process and it should be a collaborative one too. Let your departments figure out what is essential to them and what isn’t; having an interactive approach will also help your teams feel more involved and more satisfied with their environment. Once staff realise that the absence of a personal desk doesn’t mean their position is under threat they will become more at ease with the idea of flexible working.

The luxury of storing Tupperware and framed school photos and gym clothes around the desk may have been sacrificed, but effective and efficient storage is still available.