To own a Desk or not to own a Desk? What you need to consider when adopting desk sharing with Dr. Jenna Mikus
With more of us embracing the opportunity to work from home, it’s leaving our workplaces underutilised as occupancy levels in the workplace drop.
The impacts of this vary from workplace to workplace depending on the design style and approach ranging from limited variety in the spaces available for employees to perform their work through to a lack of energy and “buzz’ that comes from bringing people together in the space.
As someone who engages with organisations daily in this delicate dance of who gets to own their desk and who doesn’t, weighing up the commercial realities of leasing costs vs underutilised floor area and the opportunity to provide variety and choice to employees in where and how they work within the workplace, this is a topic of conversation that I am keen to explore.
So, when today’s guest Dr Jenna Mikus shared an article written by BBC on LinkedIn, questioning if the hybrid office will ever feel like home, with her view of the impact of this approach I was keen to engage her in a friendly debate on the pros and cons of the “to own a desk or not to own a desk”.
While this sounds ideal in theory, this Choose Your Adventure approach to daily working could backfire, as it introduces the risk of proving exhausting and therefore off-putting to workers often already overwhelmed with work obligations. Not everyone embraces change, let alone adventure...especially on a daily basis.
As an advocate of creating workplaces that respond to the unique and individual needs of organisations, their teams and their people, my view is that by relinquishing individual ownership of our workpoints, we can inturn optimise our work environments to cater to a greater variety of work styles and activities, further enhancing our experience of work.
Dr Jenna Mikus is the Founder and Managing Partner of the Eudae Group, which advises clients on organizational and spatial (both physical and digital) transformational change relating to built environments curated for health and wellbeing. Her clients have included commercial office owners, operators, and tenants as well as military, government, healthcare, higher education, aged care, and more on a global scale, with particular emphasis on the US, Canada, the UK, and Australia.
As an advocate for bridging industry practice with academic theory/research, Jenna is also a Visiting Fellow with QUT's Centre for Decent Work & Industry, an Honorary Fellow with the Centre for Conscious Design, a former Health Equity and current Research Advisor for the International WELL Building Institute, and a contributor to Harvard University's Human Flourishing Program's Flourishing at Work Interest Group.
Jenna leverages her education across engineering, architecture, and design with her depth and breadth of work experience relating to strategy, change management, and design thinking to encourage multidisciplinary cross-pollination in theory and practice and to guide the creation/curation of intelligent, sustainable, and flourishing environments for all.
Jenna is well versed in supporting organisations to create environments that support us all in flourishing at work, having worked in organsiational change and recently completing her PhD focused on flourishing health and wellbeing, so I was pleased when she agreed to engage in this conversation, so that we could explore it from a few angles and see where we land.
This is an interesting conversation exploring the role of workplace design on the individuals that occupy them.
This podcast was made possible with support from the Alastair Swayn Foundation. Find out more at alastairswaynfoundation.org