Is Hot Desking the Future?
1 Oct 2018
The hot new thing. The whole concept of hot desking is based around the idea of efficiency. How can organisations make their workspaces more productive? How can we make use of an unused, idle desk and pave the way for a more efficient use of space? Are smart offices the future of office life?
Technology has witnessed immense transformations in recent years, all impacting workspaces in numerous ways – from the internet connecting the world like never before, to an age when hot desking is becoming the norm. What is hot desking, you may ask, and why are more and more offices adopting this way of working?
Forget the traditional ‘my desk, your desk’ scenario. Hot desking is a method of office resource management involving multiple people using a desk or work station during different time periods, in order to reduce costs and improve productivity. There are often many desks that are unoccupied within a workspace at a given time – their usual occupant may be ill, on vacation or working away from the desk. Hot desking allows office management to take advantage of each desk and use it to its maximum capacity, cutting overhead costs. It has also been found that, employee-wise, hot desking can increase levels of communication and professional relationships, improving office life, mood and even work productivity.
Traditional hot desking has evolved to incorporate sensing and enabling technology, with embedded Internet of Things (IoT) providing data such as noise levels, stay length, proximity and presence of employees etc. This information can be fed to automated systems that can fully optimise how space, lighting, air conditioning, heating and other resources can be used, with utmost efficiency compared to manual handling.
Sensing solution for hot desking include:
Passive Infa-Red (PIR) Systems
This system relies on wireless motion detectors under the desk, which can detect desk occupancy. Each individual senor links to a number of network receivers, analysing the data and helping to manage desk occupancy.
Image-based smart sensors
These sensors, usually found on ceilings, provide detailed information about an employee’s location and movement. Using edge-analytics processing, no image is actually stored or transmitted (because come on, that would be creepy, right?), but the data allows for tracking of desk occupancy, enabling efficient use of office space.
Not including the use of sensors, docking stations require employees to log in using a personal code, registering the desk as occupied. However, this system is less friendly (and smart!), as it does not recognise movement around the office very well and requires cable installation.
Essentially, such a setup enables people to work better, faster and smarter. Sensors and other devices such as mobile apps can help employees to work in a more efficient manner, finding available office space easily and focusing their energies on productivity and work output. A smart system allows office management to track, monitor and manage office scheduling, equipment, resources and employees, reducing time and costs. The data also provides detailed insights into office space and how it is utilized, allowing an organisation to make relevant decisions regarding their office resources.
We can see smart offices becoming more popular in the future; intelligent IoT sensor-equipped buildings, employees ‘plugged in’ to their surroundings, and interaction with artificial interaction in everyday office life
- you better get used to sensors monitoring your office moves!