These days hotdesking is not necessarily about moving desks within an office, it could be working between several offices, hotels or at home. It is unlikely businesses will move away from hotdesking or mobile working so it is important to make it work for your advantage. I’ve previously given tips on successful hotdesking, but thought it was worth expanding those ideas.
My first comment is to develop your own method; what works for other people may not be the most effective for you. Secondly work out what you need and thirdly assess how you can use what is provided by the company most effectively (these last two will be covered in a later post).
What do you really need?
I believe you need your hotdesk kit to be lightweight and simple. When you’ve had a fixed desk it is easy to accumulate things that you believe are essential. Even if you are already hotdesking you may have collected items, for instance looking at my desk I can see I’m currently carrying a project file to my desk each day even though the project was completed several months ago, plus my pencil case should contain just ten items, but over time it has increased to about twenty.
It can be hard to assess what you use regularly so here are two methods I’ve used in the past
- as you use an item mark it e.g. sticker and after a week or two you’ll easily tell what is used regularly. Using this method I learnt I don’t use scissors or calculator very often so I no longer carry them with me, but as I need to know I can access them they are stored in my cupboard with my project files
- put everything away and only get things out as you use them, again after a few weeks you’ll have learnt which items are used everyday. I tend to do this with paperwork every now and again so I only carry the bits I need; obviously I’m due to do this again.
What to do with the items you need?
If you are used to having a pen pot or a drawer with a wide choice of stationary it can be hard to change to just the pieces that you can carry. However, once you’ve really thought about what you use regularly you’ll realise you don’t really need too much. For example, I carry a couple of biros and highlighters, a few post it notes, a pencil, ruler and rubber. Everything else is used so infrequently I don’t think it is worth the effort of carrying it or the space it takes up. Besides post it notes, the only stationary I use often is my notebook so I don’t need to carry other paper or envelopes.
Information / notes
It can be hard to decide what to do with information kept on noticeboards or all the bits of information collected on post it notes. The first thing is to assess
- how much of the information do you need to have to hand and how much is easily accessible elsewhere e.g. intranet (however it is important to ensure it is quick to access otherwise you’ll become frustrated).
- Can you store the information electronically e.g. Word document or in searchable software like Evernote. Can you store it in hard copy format within the relevant folder, for instance having processes stored within the relevant project file.
- how about setting up a small folder with plastic pockets to carry it. I used to have one I called my portable wall and it contained information on how to use the phone system and finance systems. I don’t refer to either of them very often now so one I access through the intranet and the other is in my cupboard so I refer to a copy annotated with my notes.
Having personal items is more tricky and maybe dictated by company policy (in the office at least). My thought is if it motivates you or makes you smile and does not delay you in the morning or evening go for it. I currently have two items; picture of my daughter as my laptop desktop and a drawing she did that is stored in my laptop.
Identifying items that may help you
How do you discover what would benefit you that you don’t currently have? Firstly don’t assume you need anything specific, but equally don’t close your mind to new ideas.
- watch other people; what do they use, is it relevant to your work. What are the benefits and the disadvantages?
- notice when you get frustrated. What causes it? Can you reduce it by changing the way you work or introducing new equipment. What are the advantages and disadvantages? Are there alternatives that may not be quite as quick but reduce the frustration without increasing your hot desking stuff e.g. bookmark pages on intranet. My frustration was access to a hole punch so I found filing annoying and tended not to do it. I went through my stationary from when I was at university and I now carry a flat two hole punch in my pencil case.
- look at the stationary supplies and think if there is anything that would help. Several people have found it useful to use large box files where they can store the things they want on their desk each day, but only have one thing to carry to their desk each day.
How have you made hot desking work for you? What are the essential items for your desk? What items have you discovered you keep despite not using them?