It’s a question many companies and their employees are still grappling with in a post-pandemic world:
Return-to-office or work-from-home?
While the debate continues over which work option is best for morale and productivity, some offices have turned to the compromise of hybrid work, utilizing both in-office and remote work.
How does that fit with your organization’s space requirements?
With some employees splitting their time between home and the office, should you maintain their individual workspaces, such as cubicles? Depending on your setup, the answer might be: No. Especially if you’re planning to hire more staff and your office space is at a premium.
You’re not alone in this conundrum. That’s why some companies have embraced one particular collaborative workspace design: hot-desking. If you’re considering this shared office space solution, keep ergonomics in mind for the safety and comfort of your staff.
What is Hot-Desking?
Hot-desking, AKA co-working, is a collaborative workspace practice where employees don’t have assigned desks or workstations. Instead, they choose any available desk or workspace when they arrive at the office.
It’s an excellent solution for organizations with flexible working policies, where not all employees are in the office simultaneously.
Hot-Desking & Collaborative Workspace Benefits
Hot-desking for organizations with flexible working policies offers many benefits such as:
- Maximize use of space – By allowing employees to choose their workspace on a first-come, first-served basis, hot-desking helps reduce your office space requirements and associated costs.
- Encourage collaboration – Hot-desking promotes interaction and communication between staff, fostering a more dynamic and collaborative work environment. In fact, the desire for in-person connection is one of the main reasons to come back to the office for many employees.
- Bend silos – A lot of departments have an unfortunate tendency to be isolated into “silos.” Hot-desking builds a space that opens up staff to “creative collisions” helping nurture relationships outside individual departments.
- Provide staff autonomy – Have your employees gotten a little too comfortable working remotely? It’s difficult for some staff to return to the office. They’ve enjoyed the freedom of working from home in comfortable clothing at workstations they’ve tailored to their specific needs. Luring them back may take giving some leeway and choice in where they work in the office.
Shared Workspace Drawbacks
Collaborative office design requires some forethought, however, since it may also present challenges as employees must adapt to using shared workspaces and resources related to:
- Personal space – Staff want to socialize from a respectful and safe distance, not sit elbow-to-elbow. Make sure you provide them room to work.
- Hygiene – Did you know shared keyboards can harbor more bacteria than a toilet seat? That’s because they’re cleaned less often (or almost never). Keeping shared spaces clean is a challenge.
- Organization – It’s especially important to keep hot-desks clutter-free since clutter detracts from hygiene and may also harm employee’s ability to focus.
- Schedules – Hot-desking really only works if your hybrid schedules are somewhat structured, preferably staggered. If all of your remote employees come to the office on the same days together, you won’t achieve any efficiency in your use of space.
- Comfort – Every human body is built differently. When you’re creating your new hot-desking space, you need to account for adjustability and ease of use for everyone.
By incorporating ergonomic solutions in your collaborative workspace designs, you can address many of these challenges.
Ergonomics: Improving Collaborative Workspace Design
Just in case you forgot: Ergonomics is an interdisciplinary field of science that focuses on improving working conditions and products to optimize user comfort, safety, efficiency, and productivity.
Essentially, ergonomics addresses the physical abilities and limitations of the human body in relation to our tasks, tools, and environments.
Why Is Ergonomics Important?
The purpose of ergonomics in the workplace is mainly to prevent soft tissue injuries caused by exposure to repetitive force, motion, and vibration, and poor body positioning -- mainly musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). Common MSDs include:
Ergonomics significantly enhances a collaborative workspace design by promoting:
🗸 Comfort: Ergonomically designed furniture ensures proper support and alignment for the body, reducing strain and discomfort. When employees feel comfortable in their work environment, they are more likely to be productive.
🗸 Productivity: Along with comfort, ergonomic equipment helps reduce the risk of injuries caused by repetitive motions, awkward postures, or excessive force. By minimizing these hazards, you’ll see less lost time due to injuries.
🗸 Adaptability: Since it often incorporates adjustable features, ergonomic equipment caters to different body types, work styles, and preferences. This flexibility allows employees to configure their workspaces according to their needs.
🗸 Technology: Ergonomic equipment often includes features that facilitate the seamless integration of technology, such as cable management systems, monitor arms, and modular power solutions. These features help create an organized and clutter-free workspace, allowing employees to focus.
🗸 Inclusivity: Ergonomic workspace design takes into consideration the diverse needs of all employees, including those with disabilities or specific requirements. By creating an inclusive and accessible environment, you foster a collaborative culture that values the contributions of all team members.
Weber Knapp’s History of Ergonomic Innovation
Our journey into ergonomics began four decades ago in the early 1980s. At that time we manufactured one of the first office furniture adjustable keyboard arms. That one keyboard arm was just the beginning for us and has opened up an entirely new world of innovative opportunities for our engineering team throughout the past 40 years.
See our ergonomic solutions in motion:
Ergonomic Essentials | Hot Desking Accessories
A comfortable and productive workspace for employees is essential in collaborative spaces like hot-desking. Ergonomics can help make that possible by providing adaptable furniture, technology integration, and inclusive design features with:
- Keyboard & mouse trays
- Monitor arms
- Computer carts
- Book lifts
- Multi-monitor setups
- Height-adjustable desks
- Chairs with armrests
- Rolling filing cabinets
Incorporating ergonomic design in your shared workspaces ultimately creates a more conducive environment for effective work.
Optimizing Shared Workspaces with Ergonomics
If you’re considering hybrid work solutions, especially hot-desking, optimize your collaborative workspace design with ergonomics.
Incorporating ergonomic solutions into your workplace increases your staff’s comfort and productivity, and thus your return on investment.
With careful consideration given to both hot-desking principles and ergonomic equipment, you can create an effective hybrid working model where your staff are able to thrive both remotely and onsite at the office.
Need More Ergonomics Guidance?
Making informed decisions on ergonomics isn’t always easy. Download our free Manager’s Equipment Guide to get started: