The Daily DeX 07/09/2019: Tomorrow’s Office Today

+“Will Hot-Desking Kill Your Company?” | Slashdot

Hot-desking is a working arrangement where employees have no assigned desk. Each morning you get a workstation based on that old standby, first-come-first-served. If you show up at 5:30 a.m. then you’ll likely have your pick. Later than 9 a.m., then probably you’ll get what’s left even if that means working apart from your colleagues. The theory behind this idea is that it provides companies with increased flexibility in managing office space. With some exceptions, the drawbacks vastly outweigh any benefits. 

I know this having witnessed decades in corporate jobs, including a role at one employer that implemented such idiocy. It sends the message that employees don’t matter. Employers frequently say their employees are their biggest asset. But when the company can’t even be bothered to let you have a permanent desk, then the opposite message is sent.

1) From cubicles to the open office to hot-desking, modern office plans have tried to recreate aspects of the factory. No matter how post-industrial we become, the mystery of the factory will endure. It makes us ever aware that it’s a product/production/machine of which we are vital but replaceable parts.

2) Years from now we should not be surprised by what will be a culture-wide realization that connectivity becomes its own form of alienation.

3) The Good Fight on CBS depicts a law firm that utilizes hot-desking. The majority of lawyers moving from desk to desk in the background are black, while the primarily white main characters in the foreground have their own private spaces. The show feels like a plantation sometimes.

4) A quote from philosopher Gilles Deleuze from this video on the society of control: “You see how control is not discipline. You do not confine people, for example, with a highway. But by making highways, you multiply the means of control. I am not saying this is the only aim of highways, but people can travel infinitely and freely without being confined while being perfectly controlled. That is our future.

Read more:

+“The World’s Smartest Office Building Knows How You Like Your Coffee” | Bloomberg | Tom Randall

+“The Research on Hot-Desking and Activity-Based Work Isn’t so Positive” | The Conversation | Libby Sander 

+“The Software That Shapes Workers’ Lives” | The New Yorker | Miriam Posner

+“Rethinking the Decision Factory” | Harvard Business Review | Roger L. Martin

@ProjectDeX

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