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Hot-Desking: Should You Dodge this New Trend?

Hot-Desking: Should You Dodge this New Trend?

The saying ‘everything old is new again’ is one that keeps cropping up, and the recent trend towards the return of hot-desking is a prime example. First introduced in the 80s, hot-desking involves employees no longer having their own office space, or even their own personal desk, the company creates a revolving desk roster that employees can sign up to on an as-needed basis.

Ideally, this prevents space being taken up by employees who might not use their desk regularly and increases flexibility in the workspace. But there are some issues with hot-desking, and before moving toward using this practice, there are some important things to consider.

Why Hot-Desk?

As mentioned, hot-desking is intended to increase employee flexibility and make good use of space and is also thought to improve collaboration among employees. Employees can have the opportunity to meet people from other departments that they might not meet otherwise, which might create a more social office culture and a personal connection that might benefit cross-department work.

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Hot-desking is tailored for a flexible and mobile office, and flexible and mobile employees, and depends on technology to make it run as smoothly as possible.

However, the practice requires careful management. While it might be an appropriate way forward for staff members who aren’t in the office very often, there are some health and safety issues that arise from multiple people using a single workspace over the course of a day.

For example, office workstations should be set up for the employee’s needs, and the appropriate equipment for each employee also needs to be provided. It’s also worth noting that there are hygiene and cleanliness issues that occur if employees are using the same piece of equipment, as well as psychological issues with being isolated from supervisors or colleagues.

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There is also an increased risk of repetitive strain injury and related muscular disorders if the workspace is not set up just right, or if ergonomic office chairs are not used correctly.

Hot-Desking Ain’t So Hot

Unfortunately, no matter how well it’s managed, the simple fact is that most employees very much dislike hot-desking. Surveys have found lower levels of staff satisfaction in hot-desking environments, including irritation that there is no room for personal possessions, frustration over workstations that are thought to be in better positions, and annoyance about having to pack up and carry papers around, as well as over noise from colleagues in open-plan offices.

The perceived lack of privacy and the inability for employees to set up a ‘nest’ from which they can perform focused work are also significant issues. Taken together, these problems mean that hot-desking can actually decrease productivity. Significant time is wasted each day, for example, just in getting the workstation ready to use for each individual before they can be comfortable and perform a focused task.

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And being able to really focus does seem to be the most important element in terms of increasing productivity – much more so than collaboration or socialisation. In ominous signs for the hot-desking trend, co-worker interruptions, visual and auditory distractions all combine to reduce the ability to perform focused tasks..

How to Deal with the Heat

If your company is determined to push the hot-desking trend, here are some questions you can answer for your employees to help them manage the change. After all, satisfied employees mean a better office environment, and more productivity for the company!

  • Are all desks free to use? Do you need to book them? Are there restrictions?
  • How does the telephone system work? Do land lines still exist? Is it transferred to a different desk each day? Or is everyone mobile now?
  • Does everyone have a laptop, and if so can they be connected to all desks? Do your employees have roaming profiles?

They will also benefit from the following tips, which should be considered during any kind of workplace switch:

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  • Get organised by using a task list or tickler file
  • Take the opportunity to reduce the amount of files
  • Figure out how to store your reference material
  • Make sure you learn which tools you use each day
  • Ask what you need to do if you need some time alone
  • Learn to focus and learn to deal with interruptions

Finally, these daily tasks will help them keep to a routine, which is crucial in this kind of flexible environment:

  • Clean the desk to ensure a clean and tidy space, especially when there is illness going around in the office
  • Change the desk setup, especially your chair and monitor height, so that you have an optimal work environment
  • Enjoy being social by making contacts and learn about possible areas for future development

Featured photo credit: Morgan Lovell via morganlovell.co.uk

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Adnan Manzoor

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Last Updated on November 5, 2019

How to Use Visual Learning to Work More Effectively

How to Use Visual Learning to Work More Effectively

Knowledge is essential to become successful in life, your career and your business. Without learning new concepts and becoming proficient in our craft, we cannot excel in our chosen careers or archive knowledge to pass down to the next generation.

But content comes in various forms, and because how we learn influences how much we know, we need to talk about learning styles. This article will focus on how to utilize visual learning to boost your career or business.

The Importance of Knowing Your Learning Style

Knowing your learning style enables you to process new information to the best of your ability. Not only does it reduce your learning curve, you’re able to communicate these same concepts to others effectively.

But it all starts when you’re able to first identify the best way you learn.

As a college student, I soon figured out that taking online courses without visual aids or having an instructor in front of me led to poor retention of concepts.

Sure, I got good grades and performed excellently in my online exams. However. I discovered that I couldn’t maintain this performance level because I forgot 80 percent of the course content by the end of the semester.

There are several types of learning styles known to mankind. To give an idea of how visual learning stacks up against other learning styles, here’s a brief mention of some of the different types of learning styles we have.

The four most popular types of learning styles are:

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  • Visual learning style (what this article talks about).
  • Aural or auditory learning style (learning by listening to information presented).
  • Verbal or linguistic learning style (learning that involves speech and writing).
  • Tactile learning style (learning by touching and doing)

But for the purposes of this article, we will be focusing on using visual learning to boost your career or business.

How to Know If You’re a Visual Learner?

When it comes to boosting your career, business (or education), a visual learner is one who would most definitely choose shapes, images, symbols, or reading over auditory messages.

I’m talking about preferring to read an actual map when navigating to a new place over listening to verbal directions. I’m talking about discovering that you actually have trouble remembering what your manager said at the meeting because there were no graphs or illustrations to support the points raised.

Most people who struggle with learning probably aren’t leveraging their best learning styles. The earlier you identify how your learning style can boost your success, the less struggle you will encounter with processing new information throughout your career.

However, visual learning in particular CAN 10x your career or business whether it is your preferred learning style or not. And here’s why:

Several studies have arrived at the conclusion that the brain retains more information with the help of visual aids. In other words, images are directly processed by our long-term memory which helps us store information for longer periods of time.[1]

While some lessons can be performed orally, several concepts can only make sense if you have an image with an explanation of sequences (i.e learning about the human DNA).

Visual learning does use a different part of the brain and visual cues are processed by the part of the brain known as the occipital lobe.

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By engaging more parts of the brain during learning, you’re able to have a fuller understanding of concepts and facilitate better interaction with your immediate environment.

How to Use Visual Learning for Success

Here’re 4 ways to use visual learning to boost your career or business:

1. Bring back the to-do list. Then add shapes and colors to boost productivity.

We live in an age where computers have taken over virtually every aspect of productivity and most human functions. But written lists are making a comeback, and with an endless number of important tasks to complete, having a to-do list of tasks in order of importance can improve your productivity.

While coming up with a list is initially challenging, adding colors and shapes to written lists that you personally write and manage gives you an extra layer of assurance and boosts aids recall so that you actually get stuff done.

I have tried this technique in my work as a registered nurse and discovered that adding shapes and colors to to-do lists helps me delegate tasks, recognize where more work is needed, and makes it easy to cross off completed tasks at the end of the day.

2. Add graphs, charts and symbols to your reports.

Yes, it seems like more work cut out for you. However, graphs enable you monitor the heartbeat of your business.

Graphs and charts help you trend your finances, budget, and pretty much any data overtime. With the help of free and premium software available on the market, it has become easier to take plain data and in a matter of seconds, have relevant information displayed in different shapes and images.

As an entrepreneur, you can make predictions and allocate funds wisely when you’re able to see whether your efforts are rewarded. You can use colors and charts to delegate actions to members of your team and track performance at the same time.

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And when broken down into monthly, quarterly, bi-annual or annual goals, graphs and charts communicate what ordinary text cannot.

3. Effectively brainstorm with mind-mapping.

Mind-mapping is not new but I don’t think it’s been talked about as often as we do to-do lists.

With mind mapping, you’re organizing information accurately and drawing relationships between concepts and pieces from a whole.

Think of a mind map as a tree with several branches. For example, the tree can symbolize healthcare while each branch stands for nursing, medicine, laboratory science, and so on. When you look at nursing, you can further branch out into types of nursing; pediatric, women’s health, critical care, and so on.

It’s an interesting relationship; the more ideas you’re able to come up with for your chosen subject, the deeper you get and the stronger the association.

Mind maps really show you relationships between subjects and topics, and simplifies processes that might seem complicated at first glance. In a way, it is like a graphical representation of facts presented in a simple, visual format.

Mind mapping isn’t only limited to career professionals; business owners can benefit from mind mapping by organizing their online learning activities and breaking down complex tasks into simple actions so that you can accurately measure productivity.

4. Add video streaming to meetings.

What if you could double the productivity of your team members by video streaming your meetings or adding flash animation to your presentation at the same time?

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When you offer video as an alternative method of processing information to colleagues, there is a greater chance of retaining information because we recreate these stories into images in our minds.

For organizations that hold virtual meetings, it can also be an effective way to enhance performance during if people can see their colleagues in addition to flash animation or whatever form of video is provided during the meeting.

Is Visual Learning Better Than Other Learning Styles?

No, that is not the point. The goal here is to supplement your existing dominant learning style with visual learning so that you can experience a significant boost in how you process and use everyday information.

You might discover that understanding scientific concepts are much easier after incorporating visual learning or that you’re able to understand your organization’s value when projected on a visual screen with charts and graphs.

The overall goal is to always be learning and to continue to leverage visual learning style in your career and business.

More About Learning Styles

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

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