Is this the Demise of the Hot Desk & Activity-Based Workstations (ABW)?

Is this the Demise of the Hot Desk & Activity-Based Workstations (ABW)?

28 May 2020

Having enjoyed two decades of burgeoning popularity with employers, it seems the dreaded hot desk and/or ABW’s will become one of the workplace casualties of COVID-19. Large runs of workstations are unlikely to experience the popularity it once had.

Despite eight weeks of learning germ control practice, no amount of sanitisation is likely to make it palatable for staff to comfortably share surfaces, chairs, workstation tops or even bathroom doors. Individuals will demand dedicated work spaces and automatic opening bathroom doors will become the norm.

CRCPG sees the new office set up with far more spacious meeting rooms and in larger numbers, with additional pods of cleverly designed 4-person workstations. The space ratio of 1 person per 10sqm may well expand to allow for more social distancing.

But how is this going to look?

Not too long ago, having your own desk was typical, but as the square metre cost of maintaining space grew, new ways were developed to minimise the physical footprint. Basically, it was first in best dressed for a seat, and if you needed a little privacy for a phone call, bookable booths allowed one person after another to seclude themselves in a quiet space – inheriting all the surface debris of those that came before. And all this after 20-odd bodies crammed into the lift to get there, and each individual waded through the communal kitchen to find a cleanish water glass and make a brew in the freshest looking mug.

Personal electronic equipment solves some of the problem: laptops and mobile phones and headsets are individual tools, and with a reliable supply of approved cleaning products can be kept pretty hygienic.

But how is this going to look?

Circles imprinted on the floor may dictate how close someone can come to look at your screen or read over your shoulder. Expect improved ventilation, circulation, and physical distance between seats. Anyone who can work elsewhere will be encouraged to and despite a growing impatience with on-screen meetings, expect them to replace a lot of our face-to-face contact well into the future. Professional cleaning services are likely to circulate through larger shared spaces often and far more regularly during the day.

And one intriguing prediction?

The return of the tea person. In order to prevent the daily 11am procession to the barista, the barista will come to you. Prepare your trolleys, people, this could be the next big gig opportunity.

Click here to for the Governments Safe Work Guidelines

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