Saturday, April 30, 2011

Why hot desking is not so hot

Hot desking is the latest inane office management technique that economic rationalists have brought to the corporate world. It is a system where no-one in an office has their own desk; when they show up for work (if they are not travelling or tele-commuting) they are assigned a desk which they have to clear/empty at the end of the day. The touted advantage is that it saves office space and the associated costs, promotes "culture change", and leads to employees interacting with a wider pool of other employees and thus creating new synergies.
There is a short article Cold shoulder for hot desk layouts in the Weekend Professional section of todays Weekend Australian. [I can't find the article online]. The article points out how unpopular hot desking, making it harder for companies to hire new staff and retain current staff. Business is not just about space and infrastructure. Hot desking depersonalises the office space, makes it more stressful, and makes employees not feel being part of a team.

What is the underlying problem here? What does this have to do with theology? Well, it depends on your anthropology and your view of humanity. If you believe that at heart people are relational (as the Tri-une God is) and that is their primary need, mode of operation, and motivation, then any workplace should be structured accordingly.

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