In the UK a third of all office workers us hot desks, a recent survey of 400 multinational corporations found that two-thirds plan to implement shared-desk workplaces by 2020. These figures are unsurprising when you consider that office space is typically being the second-biggest overhead for office-based organisations. But is hot desking always the best solution for organisations or could it be detrimental to employee morale and even increase levels of absenteeism?
According to a study by Vodaphone in 2013, the UK could save up to £34 billion by freeing up desk space and introducing remote working. After all, hot desking can be great way to maximise space, reduce costs and facilitate flexible working. So why is it that another study of 1000 employees found that hot-desk environments had a number of problems including cynicism, distractions and negative relationships? Even the creative agency that helped pioneer hot desking in the 90s abandoned it a decade later, bringing back set desks after staff rebelled.
Why hot desking could be bad for business
Love them or hate them, hot desking may not be saving you as much money as you think. This is due to a potential rise in absenteeism and the costs associated with employees being off sick.
Every 60 seconds, a working adult touches as many as 30 objects making hot desking the perfect environment for the cross contamination of harmful bacteria such as ecoli, salmonella and even MRSA. Everywhere you touch could be harboring its own little ecosystem for a wealth of germs. Astonishingly 32% of workers admitted to not washing hands after visiting the toilet and over 10% wipe wet hands on their trousers rather than using a hand drier.
Over half of office-workers eat lunch at their desks yet only 20% of office workers clean their desk before eating, meaning co-workers are leaving the next occupant with dirty remnants of crumbs, litter and microbes. Even phones suddenly become less appealing when shared with 100 coughing co-workers. A 2011 study by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine showed that 92% of phones have bacteria on them.
Moreover, hot-desking could be a risk to health and safety as it makes it considerably harder to set up a workstation to suit an employee’s particular needs. If not properly accommodated for, these issues will waste time (adjusting a chair/changing keyboard everyday) and be a source of stress or injury. Bad personal health and hygiene is not the only pollutant in a hot desk environment, extra noise can also have a dramatic impact on productivity, some studies finding up to a 66% reduction in productivity. It has also been shown that sudden unexpected noises can give rise to higher levels of stress hormones in the body.
So what is the solution?
1) Make sure your cleaning regime covers your workstations! Most cleaning contracts do not include a thorough clean of mice, computers and keyboards. You may need to revisit your cleaning contract as this may incur an additional cost.
2) Place spray sanitisers or wipes on the desk. It should become part of a workers regime to clean down the station before and after every use. And if you think all those wipes will rack up a bill, think about the bill when people are off sick.
3) Get your workstations deep cleaned at least every quarter, this should include dedusting, and wiping or spraying with a sanitisation solution.
Not only is it vital that workstations are kept clean and tidy they must also be thoroughly cleansed and regularly sanitized to prevent the spread of harmful micororganisms, prevent sickness and reduce absences within the workplace. However, this can be a time consuming and labourious job, so it is sometimes best to get the professionals in.
At Crystal Clean Service we provide a range of computer, telephone and keyboard cleaning services. We provide tailored sanitisation packages to suit your specific requirements and work flexibly to suit your time specific schedules. For us, no job is too big or too small; regardless of the size of your commercial premises, number of computers you have or how regularly you require us to clean, we are more than happy to help.
Why not give us a call today for a free assessment please call 0114 4010 550, or email email@example.com and we will be happy to advise you.