You can't help but notice that the office has changed. We're all going Agile, co-working, Activity Based Working or even Dynamic Working. Whatever the name this new way of working describes a range of work arrangements that allow people and organisations to make choices about when, where and how they work.
When we came up with the concept for Hotbox way back in 2002 things were a little different. It was called Hot Desking and was largely driven by the 24-hour nature of call centres when staff arriving on a new shift would Hot desk i.e. jump into the "hot" chair of a colleague who had finished their shift and was leaving. The traditional desk drawers or pedestal were useless as staff couldn't share them and each day you could be in a different location. You needed something to store your personal things and work tools in that you could move easily and safely to any location. There was nothing on the market that satisfied this need, so we invented a solution. Hotbox HB1 was born and was launched in 2003.
Jump forwards around 5 years and we're entering a global recession that is really making organisations focus on the amount of real estate space they occupy and how much they actually need. The truth is even well occupied offices only have an occupancy rate of around 63% - in many cases it was less than 50%. This means a lot of expensive unused office space. The answer was simple, increase the use of Hot Desking to make better use of space. The furniture industry and interior designers embraced this but typically thought the answer was just to install some lockers and bench desking and let staff get on with it. They didn't consider how staff would move their things from the locker to wherever they needed or wanted to work. In addition, they also didn't consider how frustrating and distracting it is not having all the tools you need to work close at hand. Staff needed to feel at home, comfortable with everything they need to work close at hand.
One of our first large clients was American Express. They experienced exactly the above and found that after 2 weeks their staff were disorientated and frustrated by the time they were wasting with multiple trips to and from the locker and trying to find work tools. They estimated each staff member was wasting on average 20 minutes per day, which was coming out of work time. Expensive.
By embracing Hotbox each member of staff got their own secure space back that allowed them to store and move their work tools in one simple action from the locker to wherever they wanted to work. It also meant that they could re-pack and move anywhere else in a snap, encouraging collaboration and movement - a vital element to agile success.
The adoption and popularity of Hot Desking grew quickly and with it the success of Hotbox. Hotbox became an international brand and was adopted by many organisations in both the private and public sectors all over the world.
Move forwards another 4 years and there was light at the end of the tunnel as far as the global recession was concerned. The interesting thing we began to notice was that organisations were starting to recruit again but they were looking for new talent, the best talent to help drive them forwards, create growth and collaboration. Hot Desking was out, Agile Working, Co-Working and Activity based working were in. Our customers still loved HB1, but a new breed wanted more personality, more flexibility and they didn't need to carry so much around with them - the paperless office was actually beginning to happen.
With such a great global customer base we could consult with our users and use this feedback to develop HB2 which emerged in 2014. The feedback asked for a smaller, more curvy and softer product that could be personalised, used on the desk as an organiser and moved easily. Facilities Managers also didn't want HB2 to lock as they felt having a locking Hotbox encouraged staff to reserve the workspace all day - they would lock the box and leave it on the desk. This had a negative effect on the flow of the Agile workspace, they wanted staff to take the Hotbox with them if they left the desk for a period of more than 1 hour, either taking it with them to another location or placing it back in their locker. This way desk space is freed up for other users.
Agile working is now widespread and commonly used by organisations to define their culture and to attract and retain the best talent. However, as workers and users of these Agile spaces we are all human and need to feel a sense of belonging - to feel at home, to make our space our own.
Many recent surveys have shown that while Agile working is seen as a positive work environment to work in there are underlying frustrations. One of the biggest frustrations is work colleagues encroaching on our workspace - we still want our own space. We want storage that is close to hand, and we don't like working with a messy desk, we like to be organised and we hanker back to the days when we had our own permanent desk set up "just so" with personal pictures of the family in site, pens in pots and notes on screens.
But Agile work spaces promote a clear desk policy, they have to for desk sharing to work. So how do you accommodate both conflicting needs?
Simple, you use Hotbox.
Hotbox lets you personalise and define your space wherever you choose to work. It makes Agile working easy as you move freely around the office. From locker to hot-desk to co-working space - just gather your tools and go. Be more organised so you feel engaged and productive with all your things close to hand.