Gone are the days of the assigned, personalized workstation; no framed pictures of the family, obligatory potted plant, or personalized coffee mug. Modern offices are moving towards a cleaner, simpler workspace, and for good reason; clear, calm, and organized workstations can help improve employee productivity and satisfaction.
The main reason for a decline in the assigned workstation is the improvement of workplace technology, which has created a more flexible approach to working. Flexible working can mean either working from home or working outside the standard 9-5 weekday hours (or a mixture of both) and allows employees to manage their work/life balance more effectively, meaning a happier workforce.
With flexible working, desks can be used by anyone, although desk booking software is highly recommended in order to manage this scenario most effectively. Flexible working also highlights the fact that assigned desks cost businesses more money in the long term, since businesses need more desks when assigned traditionally, and that bumps up office costs per square-meter. Being able to have less workstations within one space, and encouraging employees to share resources where possible, can significantly help to reduce costs.
Today’s workforce not only have a more flexible approach, but are also increasingly on the move. Mobile workers will often be away from the office, so assigning them permanent workstations seems a waste of space – space that could be used to include other office features such as extra meeting rooms or informal breakout spaces. Both examples could help to solve issues within the current office space, with the latter also offering the potential of a more relaxed environment, and therefore more relaxed employees.
When it comes to eschewing an assigned desk setup and embracing flexibility in the workplace, managing office aesthetics and practicalities becomes important. A clear desk policy is a positive addition to a flexible workspace; not only to ensure that the office looks calm and tidy, but also to ensure that sharing desks is easier for employees – nobody wants to sit down at a desk, only to have to clear away another employees’ tools, or even mess. There is an important caveat to the clear desk policy – if you’re going to go down this route, then do make sure that you provide other personal spaces for employees, such as lockers.
Overall, while assigned workstations may be traditional, they do not offer many benefits to our modern workspaces, or indeed the modern workforce. Moving towards a flexible, clear, and managed space can only be a positive for your business.