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Submitted by mercuryblue on


My organisation is moving to hot desking. People will not have designated desks, but rather, will find a desk within a designated area each day. I will have to support this with my team (who don't yet know). 

My fear is real!

I can't think of anything worse. I have an intense, stressful role with long hours, and being able to retreat into my space is sometimes the only thing that keeps me in balance. Generally, crowds make me antsy and I hate people being behind me. For me, this is not about status, it's not about losing an office, it goes deeper and feels much more primal. 

I also struggle to maintain focus when things are noisy around me, which can be a challenge given the intense nature of my role (even with an office).

(I must give some credit to my employer: they know my role has different needs and have made accommodations for my role without me having to ask. But still - I twitch.)

Chances of me putting on the grown-up face and waving the flag for this with my team without them seeing straight through to the sense of horror within are very low. To lead effectively, I need to get on board with this in a way that I currently am not. Who knows - it may turn out to not be as awful as I think, but I need to get over it BEFORE it is communicated to staff that this is happening, not six weeks after we've moved in.

So, to do this, I am looking for experiences, resources and advice that will help me see what choices and control I will have, and how I move to working more or less paperless (another challenge - I tend to draw my ideas!). I need a plan. Once I have a plan for how I will make this work, I will be able to lead this more positively with my team (one of whom has hot-desked before - it was a specific question he asked during interview as he hated it). 

I've looked online, but most of what I can find is about pros and cons- nothing really for the person who finds hot desking being thrust upon them and needs to learn how to make it work.... apart from "get headphones"!! 

Any pointers? Is there a cast for this???

SeaGal2015's picture

Hi there -

First of all, I'm sorry for your loss. And I mean that: it's a loss of space, of personal order, of sanctity. That's rough, and especially for things to change so suddenly. Who knows; maybe after a few months of this employees will begin complaining loudly, and things will go back to the norm...but until then, as you well know, you have to accept the things you cannot control. (The old book "Who Moved My Cheese?" comes suddenly to mind!)

So what *can* you do to get behind this? My tech company uses the "open desk" model - where there are no offices or cubes and everyone works in the same area - and that's tough for me as well. However, I go into conference rooms whenever I need quiet time to concentrate, or take a phone call, or just breathe for a few. Heck, I even eat my lunch in conference rooms sometimes just to get some peace!

In terms of the decision, I can kind of relate: my company shoved the engineers, analysts and PMs in my old department all into hybrid sales roles. Everyone suddenly had to meet quotas. I was in a high position in the department and was up for a management promotion in another division, so I absolutely had to tow the company line in front of my peers. Tough, because I thought it was one of the worst decisions possible (put a bunch of mostly HIgh C's into an extremely High I role - what??). But I put on a good front: I went to sales trainings and read Drucker. I promised myself I'd give it two months. My colleagues grew increasingly miserable and negative, which made the situation even tougher. Luckily for me, I already had a potential escape (I was interviewing by this point), but it became clear to me that if this new role didn't pan out, I would continue to search elsewhere. For me, this wasn't a Kool-Aid flavor I was interested in drinking. It was a deal-breaker.

And for you, it might be the same thing. If this is going to cause you undue stress, then maybe "personal workspace" is very high on your list of the things you must have in a job, and what you will look for in your next work environment. I would give it a fair shake, though...go into it with all of the positivity you can muster, towing the company line if you can. Give it a time limit, like two months, but ultimately listen to your gut. If this is a deal-breaker, then it's a deal-breaker. I know it sucks. Like a relationship with a great person who suddenly wants to move across country and you just can't may be the straw that breaks the camel's back. 

Good luck and keep us posted.