The general office model has served businesses well over the past few decades, offering every employee a dedicated working area within a specific part of the building. A new employee, on joining a business or organisation, is usually given a guided tour of the building before being shown a desk and workspace at which he or she is expected to conduct most aspects of the job for that day, and for all subsequent days within the company.
The recent years of austerity have affected the way we do business and the way in which we approach our working day. Now firms are desperately trying to trim their expenses and many organisations are finding that the ‘one employee, one desk’ policy is no longer appropriate or desirable.
Allowing for staff absences due to holidays, illness or business travel, many companies have identified the expenditure of providing heating, lighting and electronic equipment for unused workstations. The answer for many is to drastically reduce the number of available desks, doing away with the concept of each employee having an exclusive working zone.
It’s not just the recession to blame for this new trend. The rapid technological advances of recent years have made computers lighter, faster, more powerful and much more portable than they used to be. Tablets and smartphones can be carried in a pocket, allowing an employee to access data no matter where they happen to be, providing greater mobility to staff.
Furthermore, the rise of cloud computing means that members of staff no longer need to carry around bulky and heavy laptops in order to stay in touch with the office. The businessman or businesswoman on the go can receive emails, phone calls and other information from the office quickly and easily wherever there is Wi-Fi connection, which provides a degree of flexibility and freedom never before experienced by the business world.
Hot desking and teleworking
More and more companies are turning to the hot desk model of providing a limited number of workstations at which employees can work for a period of time. Desks can be booked for an allotted time or simply made available to any employees within the vicinity.
Teleworking allows employees to work from home, or even on the go. In some instances employees may rarely need to set foot in the office at all. Some hotel chains have seen their own business opportunity and have created ‘drop in’ business facilities up and down the country to provide the perfect solution for business people on the move. With just the click of a mouse or a brief phone call it is perfectly possible look at booking anything from one of the meeting rooms Kings Cross has to offer, to‘hot desking’ it in Manchester.
Businesses have learned that trimming budgets is vital to ensure continuing success in these challenging times and have been quick to see the savings that can be made. A flexible workforce which can operate seamlessly from a range of locations has the advantage over a static business based at one site with all of the associated costs this model entails. The traditional office set up is beginning to look like a dinosaur.