Have you “hot desked” Today?

By Susan Stone, Sysco
2015-2016 SAPinsight Leader Board Member

Did you think you would have asked that question 10 years ago? No? So let’s ask the question… What will jobs “be”, or evolve in to, in the next 5, 10, 20 Years?

Hot Desking: Where employees float between different desks and/or locations, instead of working at their own assigned desk or cubicle each day.

  1. The Floating Desk

In fact, you may have heard, today many employees can even telecommute; allowing them to reinvest time spent commuting and getting ready for the day
Hotdesk into more productive work or family time (also allowing them to not shower and work in their pajamas… GUILTY).

This type of floating or transient work station has also spawned the evolution of the English language, such as the term “WFH” (see above statement about pajamas and showering). Not to be confused with, “WTF” (word to the wise, make sure you read IMs to coworkers closely). Personally, I can type an OoO reply as, “WFH”, which explains to everyone where I am and how they can get hold of me today (not video conference… see above). While all of this change is liberating and fabulous, did you know this is essentially ORGANIZATIONAL renovation, i.e., reorg-ing?

  1. ReOrg-ing (Re)evolution

Organizational (re)evolution is one of the most intriguing discussions right now. In fact, it is so universally known and accepted as the norm that the term “reorg” is used in every industry! Indeed, there is another type of (re)evolution happening right now… most likely right inside your organization. Your employees and peers are being exposed to cross functional learning, being nominated to be the expert in their area, and are asked to participate in projects such as defining, developing, and deploying new software. No longer are they constrained by the desk they sit in, the area they sit in, or the functional area they report to. They are being asked to be a fully vested participant in the organization… they are creating microcosms within the organizations. They are evolving and therefore reorg-ing the structure of how we do business internally. Gone are the days that the role and team you report to is strictly based on the function you perform. Today, “team” is a distributed concept! Your micro business teams aren’t just the people you pay, but all who contribute value to your organization.

So, what does the term “reorg” have do with “hot desking” and evolution of our organizational structure? It has everything to do with the elimination of “middle men”.

  1. No More Middle Men!

How do you save money? You must evolve… So what does money and evolution have to do with middle men? You have middle men in your organization you can eliminate through the use of maximizing your best assets, your employees. The employees you want to optimize are the ones we call “super users”, often known by other names, i.e., power users, SME, etc. These super users can help reduce and or eliminate redundant and unnecessary middle men, such as a bloated support center/help desk. Your highly skilled “super user” is able to easily support, educate, and train their peers.  How could they help reduce the need for resources in a support center? Simple, asking a question to someone who is right next to me is faster and cheaper than picking up the phone or logging a ticket AND cheaper than employing someone to sit at a desk and wait for calls to come in (and ultimately escalate my problem to someone else anyway… sigh). Also, it is cheaper to train these super users ahead of system changes, deployments, etc. so that they can be your “boots on the ground” to manage the change and train their fellow co-workers on said change. This is far more advantageous, cheaper, and requiring of fewer resources, aka, middle men, than hiring trainers which you will then need to pay for their T&E to various locations. Or, in a best case scenario with trainers that take your employees away from their jobs for hours or days to train them in a classroom. Personally, I’d rather learn what I need, start to work, have a trusted resource next to me I can lean on when needed, and not sit in a… let’s face it… boring classroom for hours or days learning at someone else’s speed. By utilizing your best and brightest and redefining your employees roles so as to streamline your resource cost, you can eliminate unnecessary middle men and save money (lots of money)!

So, evolved super users and “hot desking” (re)evolution… what does this all mean? Similar to when developers (evolved coders) and business analysts (evolved employees with techy prowess) came on the scene… we again have a new paradigm in the roles our employees perform within our organizations. Today’s super employee is looking to do more than just be a [insert job title here], they are looking to make a difference in their organization and to be meaningful to those around them. This means, we must evolve from the confinements of the previously standard hierarchical organizational structure… and instead float!