The lack of ownership of space in the agile working or hot desking workplace is both a strength and a flaw. On one side of the coin, it opened up businesses to greater collaboration by ensuring the workers did not become geographically isolated in teams or departments and offered flexible working spaces, yet on the other side, some workers have been known to feel displaced without a solid ground to call their own.
One solution to offer a bridge of the gap between fixed and hot desking offices has been the agile working box – a caddy which allows for storage of work essentials that’s easily portable and can be stored in on site lockers when not in use.
Designs of agile working boxes vary – from basic, company-provided (and often branded) cardboard caddies to sleek ergonomic designs that could even be ported home with little difficulty if the need arose.
Not only do they mean that employees wouldn’t need to limit their working environment to whatever they could carry to work that day, but it also reinstated the charm of being able to personalise your working environment – a relic of private, individual space in a new way of working.
In terms of the ‘new normal’ – a post-COVID-19 workplace that wants to retain its openplan nature but adapted to social distancing and heightened hygiene measures – the agile working box may have a role to play.
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Image: The Lockerbox Company offers the LOCKERBOX One, made from robust recycled cardboard which can be fully printed with company branding.
Action from the industry suggests that hot-desking and agile working will prevail during and after the pandemic, but the way in which workers will interact with their environment will change. Agile working may be less flexible, with one worker per desk per day. Couple that with less use of communal areas such as kitchens and canteens and the changes will be offering a semi-permanence to using a workplace.
While desks and surfaces can be subject to extensive, deep cleaning at the end of every day, it’s not necessarily a logistic solution for equipment, such as keyboards, which would be normally be shared. For those that want or need to use these devices, they have become a personal object that will need to be taken from workspace to workspace.
With increased levels of working from home also expected, you can anticipate that employee’s homes will become better equipped to handle extra time spent out of the office – meaning less requirement to bring home equipment from the office. This also creates a physical divide between equipment used in a public space and that used at home, which may help to assuage the fears of those venturing back out into the workplace for the first time.