If there is one office trend that’s set to get hotter in the post-Covid-19 era, its hotdesking or flexi workspaces as companies rethink the office of the future. With companies now configuring a higher work from home (WFH) component in their future business plans, hotdesking is now emerging as a serious workplace trend.
“Companies are planning flexi workspaces as all employees don’t need to come into office daily and can do so certain days in a week. Whenever, an employee needs to come to office, he or she can be assigned a particular floor and desk for that day. We too are looking at a higher work from home (WFH) of about 30% in the long run and plan to have flexi workspaces,” says BVR Mohan Reddy, chairman, Cyient Ltd and former chairman of Nasscom. “It’s a big trend that’s catching on and will only get accelerated with Covid-19,” feels KS Vishwanathan, vice president-industry initiatives, Nasscom.
“We saw the TCS announcement that not more than 25% of the workforce will come to work from office by turns. Several MNCs that have global capability centres (GCCs) in the country too are looking at splitting teams, rotating employees and hotseating,” he points out. Pointing out that hotdesking is quite popular in countries that have expensive real estate like Hong Kong, Singapore and US, Sanjay Shetty, head-strategic account management, Randstad India feels it will catch on in India too as mindsets are changing and companies are looking at optimal utilisation of space as they cut down on real estate costs.
“Traditionally, technology, consulting and services companies have been at the forefront of hotdesking. But today, most companies are facing a cash flow crunch and real estate too is one big aspect. Hotdesking will become slowly common here too,” Shetty says. Agreeing, Joel Paul, general manager, Randstad RiseSmart India, says: “We see a crazy acceleration for hotdesking over the next six months. Companies coming up with solutions to hotdesk will do very well because the traditional lease model will not hold much longer.” He points out that in future, companies will shrink their office footprint with only a few employees permanently working in offices and more people rolling in for work once in a a while. “For instance, certain functions like sales & marketing don’t need to come in every day, so they can utilise hotdesking,” he adds.
However, Reddy points out that hotdesking for companies like theirs is not so much about costs but more about prioritising health and safety of employees in a Covid-19 world and adapting to evolving office models.
And hotdesking is not without drawbacks. Some fear it could mark the end to the emotional connect one has with one’s workplace.
“There is also an emotional angle to the workplace. As human beings, we like to put up pictures of our kids, parents and pets on our desks. With hotdesking, all that will change as it will no longer be your desk. Usually people don’t realise this, but sensitivity training and orientation will be needed so that people can align to the new way working,” says Shetty.
Another major aspect that companies will have to take care of with hotdesking in the light of the pandemic is hygiene and safety as multiple employees will be using the same desk, he adds.
June 18, 2020