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Did you work from home?Preparing more hot desks

Sarah Vanunu started a new job three weeks ago at MyHeritage, an online genealogy platform based in Or Yehuda, Israel. Rapid vaccine deployment in Israel, She is qualified for face-to-face work from the beginning. However, she only enters the room on Mondays and Wednesdays, and on other days various people work there, so she leaves nothing on her assigned desk.

“It’s very interesting to start a new job and not meet everyone in advance,” she says. “I still don’t know half of my colleagues.”

MyHeritage, which employs about 400 people in Israel, is still declining due to Covid restrictions. Vanunu, who directs the company’s public relations, will only work with a laptop and mouse. There is a perfectly clean desk there, only a monitor. If she wants to come another day, she needs to book online and be assigned to a random desk elsewhere.

When millions of workers return to the office this summer, many will return without their desks. Some people appreciate the flexibility of deploying these hot desks. These are not completely new, Post-pandemic planning for hybrid work..

However, a hot desk also means spending extra time managing reservations, coordinating with teams, and helping employees feel attribution even if they don’t have a dedicated place in the office. Professionals and workers assign desks to groups rather than individuals, plan schedules, specify areas for socializing, pay special attention to workers with special needs or disabilities, and more. Says there is a way to optimize.

The main reason desk reservations are a big part of many companies returning to work is that schedules continue to fluctuate as most workers have not yet been ordered to come five days a week. And many offices are reopening with less than maximum capacity. JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon Annual Shareholder Letter In April, after a pandemic, banks could only need 60 seats for every 100 employees.

With OfficeTogether software, you can book your desk up to 30 days in advance.


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Office Together

“To justify assigning a desk, most employees need to come almost every day,” said Amy Yin, founder of San Francisco-based office booking and scheduling software company Office Together. ..

Some companies want to avoid desk allocation so that they can clean their desks more often as part of their enhancements. Pandemic era hygiene protocol..

An important concept that emerges around the desk booking system is “neighborhood,” which allows specific teams to meet several days a week, rather than individual workers booking their desks and coming nasty. ..

Opened for face-to-face work in April, MyHeritage has designated one or two specific weekdays for each team, including R & D and products, said Katerina Breitman, the company’s facility manager.

The most popular face-to-face work day at the moment is Thursday, according to data collected in May by workplace management platform Robin from about 10,000 offices around the world. (The least popular is Friday.)

Flexible work arrangements are likely to stay here: CBRE Research’s 2020 survey of 77 companies around the world predicted 56% of the survey. More use of flexible office space..

Social interaction can be one of the most difficult parts of these arrangements in the long run, as workers are no longer able to stop at their colleagues’ permanent desks due to unplanned chats. In a 2018 survey by coworking space company Workthere, Only 46% of workers surveyed I felt more productive in a hot desk environment than having my own desk.

One workaround is to specify the area just for socializing. Bain & Co, a consulting firm that reopened at WeWork in May. Our office in Austin, Texas, has a “bullpen” area, an open space with a large table that can accommodate about 25 people, to facilitate the moment of the water cooler. Says his partner, Peter Bowen.

According to Zack Dunn, co-founder of Boston-based Robin, live feeds also help workers track each other. “At the beginning of this year [our software] It basically showed desk and seat assignments, but now it’s a map that updates in real time as people move from office to office. ”

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Over time, companies have improved with the additional layers of planning needed to work in offices that accommodate fewer people in more locales. In Austin, Bain asks employees to use their mobile app to indicate when they’ll be coming next week. If many people are planning to come on a particular day, they may assign the morning to one team and the afternoon to another team.

Office Together allows you to book up to 30 days in advance, but according to Yin, most businesses tend to book about two weeks in advance.

Workers with disabilities, and those who are accustomed to having specific accommodation on their workstations, may find it difficult to adapt to a hot desk.

Deborah Foster, a professor at Cardiff Business School in Wales, who studies workplace diversity, says it is important to design such an office so that it can be accessed from the beginning. “Making sure the layout is wheelchair accessible and placing sensory markers on the floor to guide visually impaired people are two considerations,” she says. It is also important to ensure proper lighting and quiet space for workers who need to use assistive technologies such as voice recognition software.

For workers who are unable to respond in the short term, employers need more flexibility to allow them to continue working from home, Dr. Foster says.

One last thing workers can miss at a hot desk is the opportunity to prepare their workspace with personal souvenirs.

Bain Bowen had all sorts of chalk on his old desk in Chicago. Photos, 20 years of company presentation binders, company golf tournament trophies. He eventually goes back there to pick up souvenirs, but feels he no longer needs to put them on his desk for his colleagues to see. Instead, he just keeps them in his new home in Texas.

Rise of home office It’s like creating a second place for all that, “he says.

Write to Krithika Varagur at krithika.varagur@wsj.com

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Did you work from home?Preparing more hot desks

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