Switching from fixed desks to flexible working spaces is challenging on many levels:
Not only do you require an enterprise-level desk booking solution, that’s scalable and flexible enough to reflect your workspace booking needs, you also need to pay attention to the ‘people challenges’ of implementing a new regime for managing how your workspace is used.
When Notting Hill Genesis Housing Association decided to adopt a flexi-working environment as part of a relocation to its new flagship office in Camden, the people issues were much bigger than they’d anticipated.
If only a desk booking solution was as simple as a cube-shaped light
According to Jenny Quigley, Project Manager at Notting Hill Genesis,
“In retrospect, the cultural change aspect of the project would have benefited from some external mediation. Staff were taken aback when we told them they wouldn’t have fixed desks anymore, even though we were trying to provide more flexible facilities. Some even had to speak with management before they got on board with our proposals.”
Assuming you’ve addressed the people-issues of change in culture, loss of territory, concerns over hygiene (especially with Covid-19), secure storage and so on, and you’ve cracked the IT infrastructure side of things such as providing laptops or virtual desktops and call-routing, the next challenges are around how you provision workspaces on a practical level.
- Can staff book desks easily, both on the day and in advance?
- How will you physically signpost desks? Can they be located easily?
- Is it possible to find a desk near a work-colleague or another resource you need to use, like the photo-copier?
- Can desks be automatically put back ‘into the pool’ in the event of a no-show or early check-out?
- Can desk bookings be linked with your calendar and ID card system?
These are all critical factors in ensuring flexible working spaces get used – not abused.
Unfortunately, a desk booking solution can’t fix what to do with the desk plant, the kids’ hand paintings, or where to put the team’s secret biscuit stash, and all the other political wrangling that you might encounter along the way, but our project team is on hand with guidance and best practices to help smooth over the ‘soft but hard’ issues.