If people don’t feel like it’s their space they’ll move on

We can all be creatures of habit. From nabbing the same sun-lounger by the pool everyday on holiday to the 3pm chocolate biscuit pick-me-up. But how does our fickleness for routine sit with agile working? It certainly doesn’t fit well with hot-desking.


Watch some highlights of our recent ‘Belong at Work’ panel discussing a sense of a belonging in an agile workplace. 

One of the main themes from our recent ‘Belong at Work’ event was that if people feel welcomed and familiar in agile working spaces, then a sense of belonging is likely to follow. But how do you get that sense of ownership without having a regular place to sit and personalising your desk with mementos?

Jyde Omotajo, Project Manager at Harrow Council in London shared his approach to office space that is short in supply. “These days, employees rent accommodation for the day. Desks are work zones, not individual spaces and personal items live in lockers, not on desks. Your lease expires when you leave for the day”. This mantra is working for the Council; they are seeing much more movement around the building and teams are physically working much closer together when required, enhancing collaboration.

But there are pockets of resistance. Working this way can be uncomfortable, especially to those it is new to. So what helps? Nomadic workers need to feel as if they are on an equal footing with those who have a permanent desk, they need places to put their ‘stuff’ and they need well serviced spaces. And if that means the non-flexible workers have to commit to having a clear desk as well, then so be it.

Matthew Partovi has experienced businesses struggling to accommodate fixed-desk and agile workers together and questions whether they should even work in the same space. What are you experiences in this area? Do you love, or just tolerate, your neighbours that work differently to you?