The trouble with hot desking

Hot desking makes sense for modern organisations that need the flexibility and cost benefits that the rationing of desks and space can undoubtedly bring. And for some people desk hopping works well. Yet the majority of people I have spoken to about their experiences seem to find it hugely discomforting. They complain bitterly about the inconvenience of moving from one workstation to another and the unsettling lack of a designated desk. They describe not only being dislocated but also feeling less sure about their role and even disoriented when they carry out familiar tasks. Often there is a profound sense of ambivalence: progress is good, something they believe in, yet they experience anxiety and dread about desk hopping.

Is it possible that some of these feelings about hot desking are rooted in our psychological need for the ownership of things? The excesses of material consumerism notwithstanding, ownership seems to be really important for our sense of identity. We form all sorts of attachments to objects throughout our lives. From the transitional blankets and teddies of early childhood to the sentimental attachments to ephemeral belongings that have no great monetary value, but are rendered special by association- a certain mug; a picture post card; a favourite purse. Possessions contribute greatly to our sense of self. They are sources of comfort and vehicles for expressing ourselves.

For untold numbers of us our desk is our base in the world of work. It anchors our sense of self and helps us to organise our daily routines. It gives us a sense of safety: a place we return to to touch base. For many it becomes a miniature home decorated and personalised with plants and pictures and other artefacts. It is endowed and invested by us and it becomes an extension of ourselves.

Without a desk to call our own we may not only lose a sense of territory and terrain in the workplace, but also a sense of identity, the sense of who we are in the world of work.


What people say

Tammy brings a wealth of experience and a deep understanding of people and their interactions to her consultancy work. She is creative and responsive and able to build rapport with a wide range of people, building teams and developing shared understanding of objectives and goals. Phillip Berechree, FCIPD Head of Commissioning, Workforce and Provider Development, Westminster City Council
I had largely given up hope that I would find a coach who truly offered what I have hoped for, and who represented value for money for the organisation I serve. I'm pleased to report this is no longer the case! Tammy has revived my faith in coaching and is warm, creative and challenging. She helps me bring something new and fresh to my work, I work differently because I am coached by Tammy and that for me is what it’s all about.Alison Simpson, Assoc. Director, BSMH Foundation Trust
The 1:1 coaching has been hugely helpful to me – just to have a safe space to discuss the issues I have been struggling with. I felt able to trust completely. The work with the team has also been beneficial and I was again aware that individually and together there was trust in your facilitation. I think your excellent listening skills and groundedness were hugely helpful. Jane Pettingell, CEO, Generate UK
Thank you very much for your positive contributions to my self-development. You have contributed immensely to my professional life. I only knew you for six months and you gave me an entry key to my inner-self and my leadership skills. Semi Adekunle, Barnet Enfield and Haringey Mental Health Trust