March 4, 2020 Last updated March 6th, 2020 1,158 Reads share

Designing an Office Space When Many Employees Work Remotely

Image Credit: DepositPhotos

You may have encountered the horror known as ‘hot-desking’ early in your career. If you didn’t, you dodged an administrative bullet that you’d certainly still remember for a while. While hot-desking had some positive ideas behind it, such as minimizing waste and reducing your carbon footprint, it is not recognized in many circles as wonderfully conducive for productivity (completely the opposite in some instances!).

But with more and more people working remotely and flexibly, there are certain principles of the ‘hot-desking’ model that could be beneficial – here are some design tips to cater to the modern workforce.


An Open Plan Isn’t the Only Option

It would appear to make sense that having an airy, open-space environment in which to work would be the best solution to an occasionally present, sometimes absent workforce. But open-plan offices are actually another well-intentioned design – like hot-desking – that hasn’t been met entirely positively by workers. 

The results of a survey published on The Drum found that 85% of 10,000 open-plan office workers were, in fact, unhappy with their open-plan environment. It turns out that open-plan offices can work against the idea of collaborative and, ironically, ‘open’ workplaces.

Hot Desking 2.0

The ‘certain principles’ of hot-desking, mentioned above, that could work for an office of coming-and-going remote workers are worth retaining. Thus, workstations, where anybody can easily set themselves up, are essential. Whether this means a desktop needs to be there is optional, and depends on whether your remote workers use their own laptops at all times. 

Whatever the physical infrastructure you choose though, what certainly needs to be in place is a robust, easily-accessible cloud-based system that workers can link to from the moment they walk in. So yes, excellent WiFi, online storage, project management tools, and archives aplenty.


The Comfort of Home Makes for Happy Employees

If your employees are used to working from home, on the go, or shacked up at a coffee shop, they’ll relish the chance to sit comfortably when they reach the office. So, alongside practical desks, be sure to consider cozy breakout spaces, couches and coffee tables, and dining areas where someone could easily work while perched on a stool and chewing their brunch. 

When hot-desking first hit the scene, the idea that it could evolve into a comfortable, contemporary environment probably wasn’t anticipated – but home comforts should certainly be considered in any modern office interior design from here on.


Make Your Meeting Room a Focal Point

Yes, you could conduct all your meetings via video links, but if you’ve ever tried this you’ll know the problems that video conferencing can bring. Those awkward pauses when you think someone has said something important and repeated interruptions as participants apologize for interrupting one another, before the thread of the conversation gets lost. 

To ensure that your new office is a place that employees will – and want to – visit, create a meeting room that leaves no other option than presenting oneself in the flesh. Whether you’re a boardroom kind of business, or a creative, modern hub, this is where, together, you’ll flesh out your ideas before working on them remotely. If your remote workers then have a comfortable, collaborative environment to work in, beyond the walls of your meeting room, you’ll hopefully make excellent use of your redesigned office – together!

work studio collaboration – DepositPhotos

Satyajit Routray

Satyajit Routray

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