Time spent finding things, places and colleagues in the office

January 15th, 2017

While hot-desking is not a brand new idea, it is still a much discussed topic among facility managers globally. Our recent Workplace Survey uncovered some interesting observations on how different seating policies can impact the employees’ day-to-day.

Although there are many insights to draw from the study – you can find the full report here – I’d like to highlight a specific finding; the amount of employees who report spending significant time locating things, places and colleagues in their offices. And how pains of locating these things relate to seating policies in the workplace.


On the horizontal axis we see three categories of workplace policies:

  • Permanent desk
    Workplaces where everyone has a permanent desk
  • Both
    Workplaces who employ a mix of permanent seating and hot-desking
  • Hot-desking
    Workplaces where there are no permanent desks – only hot-desking

The lines represent three common destinations in day-to-day office work; colleagues, desks and meeting rooms.

Finding colleagues

When it comes to locating colleagues, it’s perhaps no surprise that finding their co-workers is a larger problem in a hot-desking workplace. When everyone is free to work where they please, there’s just no way of knowing where to find Dave from Marketing at any given day. What’s more surprising is that this problem isn’t unique to hot-desking offices – almost 60% of employees with permanent seating reported spending time to locate colleagues as well.

Finding desks

Finding a desk is a pain that’s almost exclusive to hot-desking workplaces – and the data shows a clear trend here as well. From the static, permanent seating, to the mixed approach, to compulsory hot-desking, the trouble of just finding a place to work grows as more and more agility is introduced.

When asked what methods are used for assigning or finding desks a staggering 60 percent of employees in hot-desking workplaces reported that they have to find places to work themselves. Another 10 percent reported getting help from office staff in locating desks or places to work.

Finding meeting rooms

Whereas the pains of finding colleagues or desks grows the more agile the workplace is, locating meeting rooms appears to be less of a problem in hot-desking workplaces. While there is no easy answer to this, a reason could be that hot-desking workplaces are able to reduce the desk-to-employee ratio, freeing up space that can in turn be repurposed for more meeting rooms.

Interested in learning more? You find this and much more in our Workplace Survey report