Companies wishing to reduce their costs are asking employees to book a desk, according to a psychologist speaking at the 9th Industrial and Organisational Psychology Conference in Brisbane tomorrow.
As increasing numbers of employees work part-time or in jobs that don’t require their presence in the office, employers are looking at ways to reduce under-used office space.
Many employees will be familiar with hot-desking, a concept involving shared desks in open-plan offices first introduced in the 1980s. But now not even senior executives will escape: cost-conscious designers are recommending a fully ‘non-territorial office’, in which all staff must ‘check in’ in advance to secure a desk, meeting room or private office.
But George Mylonas, a member of the Australian Psychological Society who works with companies to ensure their offices are efficient and productive, says that some companies are finding their employees resistant to the concept, which is also known as ‘hoteling’.
He says: “Humans are creatures of habit who do miss the chance to socialise with regular neighbours, store their things and personalise their desk. Some employees try to find ways to book out the same space next to the same people permanently.”
Mr Mylonas, who has reviewed research into human reactions to non-territorial and open-plan offices, says that companies have found that they can accommodate 20 to 40 per cent more staff by requiring their employees to book a space according to actual time needed and task planned, such as a meeting or quiet research.
He says: “Employees benefit from getting to know members of other teams within the organisation. Properly introduced, this nomadic approach can also promote flexible and dynamic working, which can benefit the right kind of business.”
To arrange an interview, contact Judith Heywood on 03 8662 3301
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About IOP: The ninth biennial Industrial and Organisational Psychology Conference, hosted by the Australian Psychological Society College of Organisational Psychologists, will be held in Brisbane from 23 to 26 June. It will explore current workplace issues such as leadership, stigma, workplace bullying, work/life balance, safety and mental health in the workplace. For a full program, go to www.iopconference.com.au.