Stressing About Hot Desking
Anyone who shares a workspace will know about hot desking. Whether you do it or not, you know about the stress issues hot desking, swapping, hot swapping, desk swapping, desk tossing, and hot swapped desk tossing with no cream is all about.
I’ve done it myself. When I team taught a class of grade 5/6 kids with a colleague, we shared twenty-five kids and a desk. Helen (that was my colleague’s name) was pretty stressed out about the prospect. She had never worked with a male teacher before and expected I would be domineering, pushy, and not pick up after myself. Worry got her thinking I’d be a bludgeoning one-eyed knuckle-dragging ogre. So no wonder she was stressing out.
Happily, I had my eye fixed, arms shortened, and cudgel concealed by the time we met! Despite our many differences, Helen and I just clicked so we had a wonderful two years working together. Which took most of the stress out of our hot desking. We decided on who had which drawer and kept a respectful tidiness to the desktop. It worked because we liked each other and wanted to help each other out.
Unfortunately a lot of people aren’t so lucky.
Stress is certainly a subjective thing. But when an employer states you have to hot desk your workspace, it’s definitely a potential stressor. Then, when they insist you are not allowed to put up a picture of your family, partner or favorite pet, the stress factor starts to escalate. Rules that deny you from putting anything personal in your workspace are inhuman in my belief. You deserve to express your individuality. After all, when do you get to be a grown up and choose to influence your surroundings? Even small children get to do that so why not responsible, thinking adults?
To insist that you may not demonstrate your identity in your workplace shows a complete lack of respect for your identity. Which, not surprisingly, is the prime cause of stress and dispute amongst hot desking colleagues.
Complaints about smelly food, messy desks, missing items, or things broken all come back to concerns about a lack of respect. Being sensitive to the needs of others is paramount when we are compelled to work cheek by jowl in a hot desking situation.
I think of it as something akin to the stress of factory farming. Push all the poor creatures together to maximize cash returns. Then watch the hapless animals bite, scratch, and stress each other out within the cruelty of their stress-inducing confines.
Does hot desking work? It can. Is it good? Not really. Does everyone deserve a place of their own, or at least a space which they can personalize? Yes.
The stress of hot desking says it all. True, you can manage. But hot desking is certainly neither glamorous nor progressive. However it’s painted, hot deskers will tell you: it’s nothing more than a make do compromise.
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