Love it or loathe it, hot desks are coming to an office near you. On average only 50% of employees today spend their working day at a desk, encouraging more employers to adopt a flexible working environment. With staff able to sit with and work with a variety of disciplines and skill sets, recent studies have shown that 88% of people are more able to learn and 57% are more able to collaborate in this environment. Simple to implement, but hugely effective, it also enables your staff to sit with people that they get on with and avoid awkward encounters (especially after the Christmas party…).
With a variety of people of all shapes and sizes swapping and choosing their desks and equipment, as an employer it is vital that you create a completely flexible workspace. One size does not fit all, so here is our guide for creating a fantastic workspace for hot desking.
A good office chair is essential and, like your employees, no two are the same. It is essential that you invest in a fully adjustable chair, and that’s not just about meeting health and safety regulations. Your office has a variety of people with all shapes and sizes. As well as helping to combat the effects of a sedentary office job, you may also need to cater for existing health issues.
For a good entry-level task chair we would recommend a Nomique Reach chair. This is a cost-effective solution, especially if you are looking to refit a large office space. But importantly it has two sizes, and it might be worth thinking about purchasing a small percentage of the larger size which could cater for taller or larger member of staff (without looking dramatically different).
Another chair that we would highly recommend is the Orangebox Do chair. User-centred design and a weight balancing mechanism mean there’s no multitude of knobs & levers to get your head around. A commonly overlooked feature of this chair is the fact that instead of diagrams, the chairs levers have user friendly text. Without being open to interpretation, the user can easily adjust the chair to give them the best possible posture. See Do chair users guide here.
A top level option for a flexible workspace is the RH400 from RH. This chair is extremely supportive, adjustable and has proven productivity benefits. Although this is possibly the best option for a flexible workspace, chair training will be needed to get the most out of this chair as it is fully adjustable.
When choosing a desk, you need to consider the height of the user. For a truly flexible hot desking environment we would only recommend a height adjustable desk, preferably electrical for ease of adjustment. A height adjustable desk enables the user is able to find the correct height every time, regardless of the employee’s height.
The ideal seating posture focuses on keeping forearms parallel to the desk, arms relaxed by side and feet flat on the floor. This then keeps the knees level with the pelvis and helps you to sit upright with your lower back supported. An electric height adjustable desk also has the added benefit of being able to facilitate standing as well sitting, allowing your staff to alternate positions instead of keeping sedentary for hours.
If you are choosing to use fixed height desks (73cm) bear in mind that you will need to provide footrests for some members of staff, so their feet aren’t dangling, meaning you will also need to create storage space for the footrests.
DSE (display screen equipment user) regulations state that the user’s eyes should be level with the top of the screen. This can be achieved with a cost effective Le Bloc flat screen riser. These are stackable which allows the user to adjust the screen correctly each time. However in many offices, space is an issue and creating storage for screen rises to be stored is no easy feat. With storage space a common issue, one product that we would recommend is a Flo monitor arm. This means the screen is fully height adjustable and can be fixed to any angle.
Other things to put on your list:
- Hand Sanitizer – It’s easy enough to try and avoid the infected, but you must make sure that the office is using plenty of hand sanitizer. Sitting in different workstations allows for germs to be spread easily and hand sanitizer is a much cheaper alternative to dealing with a plagued workforce.
- Cable tidy solutions – A variety of devices that have been brought in from home all need to be charged throughout the day. This can mean that your office has more trip wires than Mission Impossible. Make sure that you provide enough safe power outlets and cable tidies.
- Storage – With users usually packing up the contents of their desks at the end of the day, secure storage is vital. There is nothing more annoying than someone mercilessly stealing your stationery, so having somewhere to pack it away at the end of the day is essential.
- Noise – You may love working in a social environment but studies have shown increased noise levels and distractions as a direct result when hot desking. Acoustic panelling is an option for those who need a little more privacy and to maintain an acceptable noise level.
- Ergonomic essentials – keyboards, mice and mouse mats should be provided for all staff, even if they have chosen to bring in a laptop from home. Wrists need to stay in a relaxed position, and a cushioned palm rest can protect against inflammation and repetitive stress injuries.
- Workplace assessment – As well as being a legal requirement for habitual display screen equipment users, an assessment will also allow your staff to be comfortable and safe at work. It is amazing what a well adjusted chair can do for your workplace wellbeing.
- Every employee is an individual – Some people may not fit a standard solution regardless of how adjustable their workspace is. When considering a new hot desking environment, keep these individuals in mind.
If you want to know more about how to create a productive hot desk environment talk to us here at Posture People HQ. We love to chat, comment below or give us a ring on 0845 313 1503.