If you work in an open-plan, hot-desking environment, you have probably at some point found yourself trudging through the office, clutching your belongings, in search of a free desk. This feeling of homelessness is an increasing issue in society more broadly — and in the workplace, employees' well-being is traded in for the company's bottom line. These were some of my conclusions after spending three years studying an organisation that moved to a hot-desk environment. Like many companies, it had switched to hot-desking to reduce property costs and enable precious office space to be used flexibly. In the language of facilities management, an office building can be "crunched" by increasing the staff to desks ratio, and it can be "restacked" as teams and departments are moved around like boxes. But in this bid for cost-cutting, a number of employees are made to feel under-appreciated at best and unwanted at worst.
Did you hear the one about the employee who noticed an ant on a raisin on the floor and instead of picking it up and throwing it away, left a note for the facility manager, who happened to be out of the office for three days? Guess how many ants he found when he got back? Or how about the one where it took an IAQ study to mollify the lawyer who insisted he could smell cigarette smoke? Knowing how to handle occupant complaints is a key skill for facility managers. Maybe funnier.
You sail toward your destination, maintaining the ship to the best of your ability. Suddenly, the ship leans to a side, and you almost lose your footing. You look to the helm to see the captain yanking the wheel, announcing a new direction for no apparent reason. If big decisions that affect your work are made without warning, you might throw up your hands and believe that this is just how it is at every company. Upper management sucks when they lack three of the basic traits for good leadership:.
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