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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

Data Analyst & Life Coach

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Last Updated on April 6, 2020

How to Make a Career Change at 50 for Great Opportunities

How to Make a Career Change at 50 for Great Opportunities

Turning 50 is a milestone in anyone’s life, after all you are half way to 100! But seriously, turning 50 is often a time in life when people can sit back and take a look at where they’ve been and contemplate what the future holds.

Can you change careers at 50? It’s not uncommon for people in their 50’s to consider a career change, after all if you’ve spent 20 to 30 years in a career, chances are that some of the bloom is off the rose.

Often, when we are starting out in our 20’s, we choose a career path based on factors that are no longer relevant to us in our 50’s. Things like our parents’ expectations, a fast paced exciting lifestyle or the lure of making a lot of money can all be motivating factors in our 20’s.

But in our 50’s, those have given way to other priorities. Things like the desire to spend more time with family and friends, a slower paced less stressful lifestyle, the need to care for a sick spouse or elderly parents can all contribute to wanting a career change in your 50’s.

Just like any big life changing event, changing careers is scary. The good news is that just like most things we are scared of, the fear is mostly in our own head.

Understanding how to go about a career change at 50 and what you can expect should help reduce the anxiety and fear of the unknown.

What are Your Goals for a Career Change?

As in any endeavor, having properly defined goals will help you to determine the best path to take.

What are you looking for in a new career? Choosing a slower less stressful position that gives you more time with family and friends may sound ideal, but you’ll often find that you’re giving up some income and job satisfaction in the process.

Conversely, if your goal is to quit a job that is sucking the life from your soul to pursue a lifelong passion. You might be trading quality time with family and friends for job satisfaction.

Neither decision is wrong or bad, you just need to be aware of the potential pitfalls of any decision you make.

Types of Career Changes at 50+

There are four main types of career changes that people make in their 50’s. Each type has it’s unique set of challenges and will very in the degree of preparation required to make the change.

Industry Career Change

In this career change, a person remains in the same field but switches industries.

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With an industry change, a person takes their set of skills and applies them to an industry that they have no previous experience in.

An example would be a salesperson in the oil and gas industry becoming a salesperson for a media (advertising) company. They are taking their skill set (selling) and applying it to a different industry (media).

This type of career change is best accomplished by doing a lot of homework on the industry you want to get into as well as networking within the industry.

Functional Career Change

A functional career change would be a change of careers within the same industry.

For example, an accountant at a pharmaceutical company who changes careers to become a human resources manager. It may or may not be with the same company, but they remain within the pharmaceutical industry. In this case, they are leaving one set of skills behind (accounting) to develop a new set (human resource) within the same industry.

In a functional career change, new or additional training as well as certifications may be required in order to make the switch. If you are considering a functional career change, you can start by getting any training or certifications needed either online, through trade associations or at your local community college.

Double Career Change

This is the most challenging career change of all. A person doing a double career change is switching both a career and an industry.

An example of a double change would be an airline pilot quitting to pursue their dream of producing rock music. In that case, they are leaving both the aviation industry and a specific skill set (piloting) for a completely unrelated industry and career.

When considering a double career change, start preparing by getting any needed training or certifications first. Then you can get your foot in the door by taking an apprenticeship or part time job.

With a double change, it’s not uncommon to have to start out at the bottom as you are asking an employer to take a chance on someone without any experience or work history in the industry.

Entrepreneurial Career Change

Probably one of the most common career changes made by people in their 50’s is the entrepreneurial career change.

After 20 to 30 years of working for “Corporate America”, a lot of people become disillusioned with the monotony, politics and inefficiency of the corporate world. Many of us dream of having our own business and being our own boss.

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By this time in our life, we have saved some money and the financial pressures we had with young children have passed; so it’s a perfect time to spread our entrepreneurial wings.

Entrepreneurial career changes can be within the same industry and using your existing knowledge and contacts to start a similar business competing within the same industry. Or it can be completely unrelated to your former industry and based on personal interests, passions or hobbies.

A good example would be someone who played golf as a hobby starting an affiliate marketing website selling golf clubs. If you are considering an entrepreneurial career change, there are a lot of very good free resources available on the internet. Just be sure to do your homework.

Practical Tips on Making a Career Change at 50+

So you’ve decided to take the plunge and make a career switch in your 50’s. No matter what your reasons or what type of a career change you are embarking on, here are some helpful hints to make the transition easier:

1. Deal with the Fear

As stated earlier, any big life change comes with both fear and anxiety. Things never seem to go as smoothly as planned, you will always have bumps and roadblocks along the way. By recognizing this and even planning for it, you are less likely to let these issues derail your progress.

If you find yourself becoming discouraged by all of the stumbling blocks, there are always resources to help. Contacting a career coach is a good place to start, they can help you with an overall strategy for your career change as well as the interview and hiring process, resume writing / updating and more. Just Google “Career Coach” for your options.

I also recommend using the services of a professional counselor or therapist to help deal with the stress and anxiety of this major life event.

It’s always good to have an unbiased third party to help you work through the problems that inevitably arise.

2. Know Your “Why”

It’s important that you have a clear understanding of the “why” you are making this career change. Is it to have more free time, reduce stress, follow a passion or be your own boss?

Having a clear understanding of you personal “why” will influence every decision in this process. Knowing your “why” and keeping it in mind also serves as a motivator to help you reach your goals.

3. Be Realistic

Take an inventory of both your strengths and weaknesses. Are your organizational skills less than stellar? Then, becoming a wedding planner is probably not a good idea.

This is an area where having honest outside input can be really helpful. Most of us are not very good at accurately assessing our abilities. It’s a universal human trait to exaggerate our abilities while diminishing our weaknesses.

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Requesting honest feedback from friends and co-workers is a good place to start, but this is another area where a career coach can come in handy.

4. Consider an Ad-Vocation

Sometimes, making a career change all at once is just too big of a change. Issues like a severely reduced income, geography and lack of benefits can all be impediments to your career change. In those cases, you may want to start your new career as an ad-vocation.

An ad-vocation is a second or ad-on vocation in addition to your primary vocation. Things like a part-time job, consulting or even a side business can all be ad-vocations.

The benefit of having an ad-vocation is being able to build experience a reputation and contacts in the new field while maintaining all the benefits of your current job.

5. Update Your Skills

Whether it means acquiring new certifications or going back to school to get your cosmetology licence, having the right training is the foundation for a successful career change.

The great thing about changing careers now is that almost any training or certifications needed can be free or at very little cost online. Check with trade associations, industry websites and discussion groups for any requirements you may need.

Learn How to Cultivate Continuous Learning to Stay Competitive.

6. Start Re-Branding Yourself Now

Use the internet and social media to change the way you present yourself online.

Changing your LinkedIn profile is a good way to show prospective employers that you are serious about a career change.

Joining Facebook groups, trade associations and discussion boards as well as attending conventions is a great way to start building a network while you learn.

Here’re some Personal Branding Basics You Need to Know for Career Success.

7. Overhaul Your Resume

Most of us have heard the advice to update our resume every six months, and most of us promptly ignore that advice and only update our resume when we need it.

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When making a career change, updating is not enough; this calls for a complete overhaul of your resume. Chances are that your current resume was designed around your old career which may or may not apply to your new goals.

Crafting a new resume emphasizing your strengths for the new position your looking for is key. There are many places that will help you craft a resume online and it is a service included with most career coaching services.

8. Know Your Timeline

There are a lot of factors when it comes to how long it will take to make the career change.

Industry and Functional career changes tend to be the easiest to do and therefore can be accomplished in the shortest period of time. While the Double Career Change and the Entrepreneurial Career Change both require more effort and thus time.

There are also personal factors involved in the time it will take to switch careers.

Generally speaking the more you are willing to be flexible with both compensation and geography, the shorter time it will take to make the switch.

Final Thoughts

Changing careers at anytime can be stressful, but for those of us who are 50 or above, it can seem to be an overwhelming task fraught with pitfalls and self doubt.

Prospective employers know the benefits that come with more mature employees. Things like a wealth of experience, a proven work history and deeper understanding of corporate culture are all things that older workers bring to the table.

And while the younger generation may possess better computer or technical skills than us, if you’re willing to learn, there are a ton of free or nearly free resources available to you.

Deciding on a career change at 50 is a great way to experience life on your own terms.

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Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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