Hot desking seems to be forever a hot issue in the world of social work. Often maligned and regularly quoted as the evidence that ‘they’ are out to get Social Work.
Is it really that bad though. Does it really destroy the heart of practice or make us all unable to reflect together ever again. I wasn’t convinced so I thought I would go about asking a few people and see if we could allay those fears.
Have a read and consider whether or not hot desking is the destructive force it is often painted to be.
10) When you mess up the desk and forget to take the dirty coffee cup back you can always blame that colleague who had used the desk earlier.
9) It’s good to meet new people. On the rare occasion that you can’t sit in the exact same spot you do everyday (despite it being a hot desk), think about the new conversations and friendships you could make by sitting next to someone new. Maybe even get a few new ideas.
8) Hot desks encourage reflection and practice discussion, due to their diversity of usage, more than your own desk in the same room as two others. We forget that the approach from Rm5 was, well that’s how Rm5 do it.
7) Sharing bugs and germs across multiple used desks can only but build up your tolerance.
6) The office desk hierarchy can be ditched if you do it properly. The longest serving and the last in have equality in deskage.
5) I was horrified when 3 years ago I lost my desk, what was I going to do. How could I make confidential calls. Where am I going to store all the tut I have no use for anymore but will never throw away. Then I was reminded that the social workers and nurses had been hot desking for many many years and, well they are still brilliant professionals and maybe a bit more of No6 is needed.
4) The social worker of the very near future will see Hot desking as the norm in fact they may even think it a tad old-fashioned. I was explaining to my 21-year-old about a Twitter debate on hot desking. He couldn’t understand the issue. “My world is so different to yours dad. I manage most of my relationships online. I work wherever I am and when I need face to face then I organise face to face. You lot need to step up or none of the new kids will want to work for you. Let’s face it your all still reliant on e-mail!”
3) Social work doesn’t happen behind a desk. It happens on the streets and in the living rooms of people. Better to work in the cafe or library that people you serve use rather than behind a desk miles away from citizens realities.
2) Human nature is more powerful than any desk plan or office initiative. Therefore, you really don’t need to fear it. People are creatures of habit and human need. They will always ensure that this need and habit is met in a way that still works with the hot desk.
Even the robots show us the power of individual nature and need
“Why is it that when some robots are left in darkness, they will seek out the light? Why is it that when robots are stored in an empty space, they will group together, rather than stand alone? How do we explain this behavior? Random segments of code? Or is it something more? When does a perceptual schematic become consciousness? When does a difference engine become the search for truth? When does a personality simulation become the bitter mote… of a soul?” Issac Asimov………….. Sounds familiar.
1) Watch your hot desk for a week and see if the same people sit in the same places everyday or the same groups share the same corner. See if the sharing of ideas and questions between SWs still happen. See if everyone is still chatting about Britain’s got Talent or having a debate about what Sweep really sounded lIke (that was my last hot desk debate with @ermate and @sandra_teal……. and my impression was pretty close). These things still happen and I suspect forever will regardless of whether your stuff is on your desk.