In the World of Agile Working are you a Roamer or a Resident?
New Ways of Working and What is Needed to Make it Happen
Recently an Evening Standard article by Niki Chesworth asked if you are a ‘roamer or a resident?' There is a lot of talk – and action – regarding new arrangements in offices. The global insurer RSA has decided that 75% of staff in their new office at the ‘Walkie Talkie’ are able to sit at any desk. These people are referred to as ‘hoppers’ or ‘hot deskers’ and they will sit wherever is free but usually in a ‘neighbourhood’ with colleagues that are on the same project or working on similar things.
Then are 15% of the staff who are ‘roamers’ which has nothing to do with wide open spaces but means they come into the office occasionally. The remainder are classed as residents who have a fixed desk so with 90% of staff not having their own desk it is a big culture change.
There is a lot of talk about the Google offices and culture with their slides in the office and interesting break out areas etc. The latest I have noticed is chat about providing free food and even people living in their car in the office car park to save money. I am sure these type of offices have ‘hot deskers’ and ‘roamers’ working at different desks every day.
Then there are some offices that never shut. These could be call centres working shifts or emergency services that need manning 24 hours a day. Some call centres have a high rate of staff turnover to add to the mix.
The theme through all this is that staff will be sitting on different chairs from day to day or even hour to hour. This could be unsettling for us old fogies but could actually be uncomfortable and even unhealthy or those that suffer, or are at risk from suffering, with bad backs. In an office it is not that uncommon to see a chair with a big sign attached to it saying ‘Do not adjust or move’ put there by someone who has back trouble and has become possessive over their chair and how it is set up. Hot desking may seem a frightening prospect for these people. In fact many people have chairs where you can adjust everything and the strange result is that they adjust nothing.
So for this new way of working maybe we need a new way of thinking about office furniture. We need furniture that provides levels of comfort, efficiency and creativity that match the modern approach to offices. Adjustable height desks will work for all staff shapes and sizes for sitting but also allow standing while working. Chairs that are simple and quick to adjust to the user and promote the goals of comfort, efficiency and creativity will work in this environment.
I admit that I supply such furniture but if you are responsible for keeping the bums on seats as happy and productive as possible in the new office scape then give me a call to at least try the Back App chair and adjustable height desks.
Mike Dilke can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org or mobile 07979 248286