Hot desking affects wellbeing for eight in 10 office workers

Eight in 10 office workers claim workplace seating arrangements – including hot desking – have a negative effect on their mental wellbeing.

The prospect of not knowing where to sit every day was identified as the biggest stressor when it came to hot desking, a survey of 1,001 office workers found.

Twenty-two per cent said it made bonding with colleagues difficult. Women were most affected by the social aspect of hot desking, with a quarter claiming it created problems in forming relationships with their team.

Forty-four per cent of those who worked in an environment where they were not assigned a seat said that having to set up their computer every day was a waste of time, while 31% believed they wasted time trying to find an available desk. The ability to pre-book a seat in advance would ease concerns for 61% of staff.

More than half (52%) of employers said they were open to hot desking, despite 92% of office workers reporting issues with it.

Christopher Burke, CEO of consultancy Brickendon, which commissioned the research, said: “There are growing issues in the way businesses are currently managing and looking after their workforce causing an alarming need for companies to rectify this situation and enhance employee wellbeing.

“Managing this can be a minefield, and in its current state hot desking is very much flawed, and worryingly affecting employees’ mental wellbeing. It’s an important issue requiring urgent attention”.

Previous research has also highlighted the effect that working in an office environment can have on mental and physical health.

Last year, 64% of office workers polled by equipment supplier Fellowes claimed the office environment negatively affected their health, while another study found almost half of office workers believed noisy environments significantly affected their productivity and stress levels.

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