How to Hot-Desk Effectively

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How important is it to you to have your own desk or work space?

There’s an interesting slide show on Entrepreneur about “hot desking” – the concept of employees working in multiple workspaces, moving locations instead of “owning” one desk. The journalist experimented with the concept for a five day period and reported her findings.

Many professionals are getting used to working in various work spots, whether at company headquarters, coffee shops, airport lounges or on airplanes (one of my clients loves her “in-flight” productivity.) For years, when I worked in traditional offices, I either had a cubicle, a desk of my own, or (most ideal) my own office. I’ve found that I like having space I call “my own.”

Now that I run my own business, I no longer have a “workspace” elsewhere to commute to. However, my home office acts as my main location, and several times a month, I also work at local coffee shops. As a board member for a non-profit organization whose lovely office happens to be in town, I’ve been told I’m welcome to come “set up shop” anytime I temporarily want to be in the presence of people (and the office dog.)

Overall, I find that my home office is the best space for productivity. But getting out of there is valuable too, so here are four tools or mindsets I’m finding helpful to take along when I plan to work away from a permanent office space:

Creature comforts.  In my computer bag, I keep an inspiring pouch, a coaster, and a small imitation candle. I often set these up on the table to personalize the space for the time I’m there. (I also keep a large scarf to use as a lap blanket in shops that keep AC high.)

Earphones. This is probably the single most important tool (other than my Chromebook.). I like to be in the presence of people and energy from time to time, but am easily distracted by conversations around me. Earphones allow me to listen to my own playlists and drown out specific conversations.

Playlists. I currently use Spotify as my main source of music. I’m learning to enjoy music more–I tend to not think about turning it on. I have two primary playlists–one for quiet productivity and relaxation, and one for upbeat productivity and working out.  Depending on the types of tasks I am doing, I can play the appropriate playlist.

Associations. I’ve gotten to know which type of work I can do best in “third space” locations vs my home office. So I generally save some of that type of work to do in batches when I am mobile. Right now, creating images, editing/refreshing content, and screening Gmail seem to be good work for third spaces. Processing administrative tasks like scheduling appointments, implementing social media updates or coordinating projects seems to be better handled at my home office.

With these four tools and mindsets with me, I can adapt any space to be a productive one. For long periods, I do prefer my own office, but versatility and flexibility are good traits for professionals to develop. So why not give “hot desking” a try this week?

[reminder]Does hot-desking interest you? [/reminder]

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