Hot Desking Trend – Is it Really so Hot?

Hot Desking Trend – Is it Really so Hot?


So, what is hot desking? It’s a trend currently being adopted whereby no one seat is assigned to a single person in an office building. This trend is becoming so popular the likes of Deloitte, BBC, Proctor Gambal, Microsoft and others are adopting it as their modus operandi for their employees.

It works like this: you arrive at work and you check into a ‘hot desk’ which you can book for an hour or the day. The desks are usually supplied with laptop and cell phone chargers, maybe a phone and maybe video conferencing system. All you need to bring is your laptop and cell phone, you find your spot and make yourself comfortable for the time frame you need that desk. If you work at one company all day this may mean that you sit in a different spot every day.

Advocates of hot desking say it’s great because it allows more collaborative space within the office environment, i.e. meeting rooms, coffee stations and chill out areas. They say it gets people moving, and call it activity based working (ABW). Employees working in organizations that adopt ABW predominantly use mobile devices and are seated based on the activity or project they are working on at the time. And let’s not forget that hot desking is a cost saver. Less money is spent on creating individual offices and the focus is more on the collaborative spaces. They even say that there is an increase in inventive thinking when people meet in short term co-working spaces. And, Standford University says that hot desking is more productive than working from home.

So that all sounds great, but what implications does hot desking have on ergonomics and work station set-up? I guess this all depends on what equipment you are offered at your hot desk.

Is the chair an ergonomically designed chair and is it adjustable for each user? Does the desk height allow for the range of different heights of people sitting at the desk? Is there a footrest for the shorter people? Does the phone have a headset attachment and most importantly what sort of docking station is offered for the laptop? In short, would you be able to set yourself up ergonomically at any hot desk you may be forced to work at?

From the research I’ve done I have noticed that most hot desking offices are designed by designers and not ergonomists’. So they look amazing, slick and offer state of the art IT systems, but are not human body friendly. So, if you are thinking of changing your business to the hot desking concept keep these few ergonomic guidelines in mind:

  • Always provide the best seating – height, arm rest and back rest adjustable seating. It is imperative to make sure each user is comfortable.
  • All desks should have foot stools to accommodate the shorter people.
  • Ideally laptops should be provided with either a separate screen or keyboard or a laptop stand to allow the best anatomically correct position for the neck and shoulders.
  • Phone headsets are also advisable.

Basically – good ergonomic principles should be used when hot desks are designed. Education on ergonomics is also imperative so that each user has the knowledge to set themselves up correctly.

So, hot desking is the trend – but maybe that is all that it will be, and trends, as we know, have a way of dying away. If you find yourself hot desking make it work for you, apply the best ergonomic principles and tools and your hot desking experience may just be more comfortable than you imagined.

Why You Should Be Working Standing Up

Around the world, the nature of the way we work is changing. Digital disruption offers limitless opportunities for businesses, but what is it doing for their employees?

Collectively, we are spending more hours sitting hunched over a computer screen for longer periods than ever before – and our bodies are suffering for it.

Studies continue to show that too much sitting can have far more serious adverse effects on our health than we realise. From chronic pain to obesity, hypertension, heart disease, and even certain cancers, spending more than three hours a day in a seated position leads to serious and often completely preventable health issues over time.

But what if we told you there was a simple way to alleviate all this and lead a healthier life both in and out of the workplace? If sitting is the problem, it’s only natural that standing would be the solution, and the easy way to bring more standing into your work day ergonomically is with a sit-to-stand workspace solution like Varidesk.

Rather than tiring the body out, working standing up caters to the way our bodies work best, producing a host of benefits in terms of both health and productivity from the very first day of use. These are just a few of them.

Relief from pain

The hunching and slouching positions we tend to assume for most of the workday places unnecessary strain on the shoulders, neck and spine, particularly in the lower back. Standing while working encourages good posture and allows the spine to return to its most natural form, helping to relieve work-related pain.

Weight loss

The workplace is a leading contributor to unhealthy and sedentary lifestyles. And with rates of obesity rising throughout the developed world, simply standing up at work is an easy way to boost the metabolism and lose those extra kilogrammes.

Heart Health

In the US, heart disease accounts for a quarter of all deaths, but spending less time sitting has been proven to positively affect heart health and lower cholesterol levels.

Productivity and alertness

The increased blood flow encouraged by periodically standing throughout the workday helps to prevent fatigue and increases productivity.

It’s time to make a stand for your health. Most of us spend at least 8 hours of every day at work – doesn’t it make sense to ensure that time is as comfortable and productive as it can be? Varidesk is the simple, affordable and ergonomic way to make it happen.

Pregnancy – It’s All About Standing

Every pregnant woman I know has that one symptom that she reluctantly discovers will simply not leave her alone. For some, it’s constant back pain. For others, it’s heartburn. Or absolutely endless trips to the bathroom. The list goes on. For me it’s god awful, wake-up-screaming, limp-waddle inducing leg cramps.

I consider myself a decently in shape runner, and I am perfectly average on every spectrum (maybe a bit short). I am healthy and comfortably in my mid-twenties, and while I don’t exactly have time to do daily pre-natal yoga and eat everything organic and homemade, I was hitting my stride with this whole pregnancy thing. So when I woke up for the first time with legs spasming so badly my husband jumped out of the bed and almost called the police, it knocked the wind out of me.

That was three weeks ago, and the feeling that my right leg might just burst hasn’t left me since. I have looked for every solution under the sun, chugging water like a fish, massaging them before bed, eating dried bananas. I despaired that as a busy young professional in an office setting, elevating my legs on a nearby chair was simply not going to cut it. Nothing was working.  

Finally, I left Dr. google behind, and confronted my own doctor. Rather than give me a miracle cure-all that would ease my now full-blown fear of sleep, he nodded sympathetically and said it was “perfectly normal.” This is basically the last thing that a suffering, frustrated, exhausted pregnant lady wants to hear. To make things worse, he added “ try not to stand too much, but also don’t sit too much.”

Well that just sent me over the edge. I am a professional. My job involved sitting for hours in front of a computer screen, getting up only to make the occasional forbidden cup of coffee. Laps around the office every few hours were not going to happen.  I headed home, fuming, ready to eat an entire can of pickles and cry or else pour over my betrayal by pinterest, whose adorable maternity outfits and cute baby pics, which had lied to me about how pregnancy was going to be trendy beautiful.

That’s when a lightbulb went off in my head. Of course. A friend at the office when I worked had just recently invested in a Varidesk, a sleek contraption which is essentially a desktop, right on top of any work surface, which can be easily moved from sitting to standing. Pulling my pregnant lady card, I began to use his desk regularly.

The sun began shining again. Simply from getting up for ten minutes an hour or so, continuing the vast list things I had to get done without interruption, I was unconsciously stretching my legs, switching my position, and preventing the worst of the dreaded cramps. After the first few days of trying it, I realized I had actually slept through the night. My work, which had admittedly been suffering, picked up again, and I felt the rush of production rather than the fear of being incompetent.

Now, I am working on changing my approach. While my legs are still sore, I have developed a taste for dried bananas, and I am trying to get more walks in at night (and even the occasional yoga class). I am using the Varidesk in the office, and slowly regaining my confidence that having a baby in my belly makes be no less good at my job. Hallelujah.