Hot desk, cold comfort

THE HERO of “The Prisoner”, a cult British TV show, wakes up one day in a mysterious village. His possessions have vanished and he is not referred to by his real name but as “number six”. His every attempt at escape is frustrated and each episode ends with a set of iron bars superimposed on his face.

The experience of the Prisoner will be wearily familiar to one class of office worker: those who undergo the daily trial of “hot-desking”. Every day, they may wind up in a new location, with only the possessions they can carry to sustain them. At the end of each day, all trace of their personality is erased, in the way that the Soviet Union removed pictures of Leon Trotsky from the historical record. It is hard to think of a clearer indication that the individual worker is being treated as an anonymous drone.

At one leading financial institution, any employee who accidentally leaves a possession on their desk overnight must try to retrieve it from Lost Property in the morning. That makes the end of each working day feel like the last frenetic minutes before you leave the house for a holiday, frantically checking that you haven’t left anything behind.

The start of the day can be stressful, too. A survey of British workers, published in June, found that those in a hot-desking office took an average of 18...

via Business Feeds

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