It’s only for 2 days a week! hot-desking and buildings: lunchtime conference

*Update 13.03.2023 here is the presentation on hotdesking from our 10.03.2023 event.**update 22.02.2022: colleagues are changing DG in order to avoid open space/hot-desking. Is this you? Get in touch, we’d like to hear from you!* How much does the move to hot-desking (‘dynamic’) and open-plan offices matter with the move to hybrid working? It will only be 40% presence in any given week, you can tolerate 2 days, right? And we’re not going back to the office just yet, so it’s not a worry for the moment! Regardless, the move to hot-desking and open-plan offices for thousands of staff continues apace during a pandemic that is showing no sign of slowing. Have you considered what that entails?

How will basic, long-standing hot-desking and open-plan issues be addressed, where is the forum for all of our questions to be answered, however big or small?

There are two age-old issues that might be at play here with the new environment, before we even add the complication of the lack of familiarity for many of us with such set-up and the ongoing global pandemic.

  1.  When something belongs to everyone, it belongs to no one. If no one is looking after it, why should you bother?
    • Why bother reporting the broken monitor ? You won’t be there when they phone back, just quietly choose another desk !
    • Why hassle yourself with the broken chair, just switch it, someone else can report it : you’ve got things to do !
    • The docking station is makes noise? Swap it for the one on the desk furthest away from you! [1]
  2. When you make changes in one part of the system you have to adapt the other parts accordingly.
    • how will helpdesk tickets be organised e.g.  can they be linked to an item and no longer a person? (both are mobile)
    • how to keep track of where kit is located if anyone can switch things over?
    • If equipment is missing have you to work without it or can you go home?
    • What stock of spare kit will be maintained to replace broken/missing kit?
    • how will physical mail or library books ordered reach us?
    • will Eurostat wall calendars be useful?
    • will a foot rest fit in a locker? ‘A locker is 115 cm high, 40 cm wide and 50 cm deep.’ (FAQ, 24.09.2021)
    • how can you ensure that each building still has enough first-aiders and fire wardens?

There’s always someone in the office who takes the time and energy to report the issues in the communal areas: the dead lightbulbs, the leaking sink, the lifted carpet, what are those colleagues likely to do now? Will they rise to the challenge of extending their unofficial remit or give up altogether?

If you are that colleague, imagine ending up at the one remaining free workstation to find all of the broken equipment has piled up there. If you can’t even start your work because you have to report all of the broken equipment (a task everyone else should do, but often no one does) how quickly do you think your patience would disappear?

It looks like the Commission is planning to mix:

  • an environment which is unfamiliar for many, with
  • known issues of open-plan environments, with
  • layers of constantly changing Covid rules (which can and do vary from site to site),
  • with the new working time and hybrid working rules,

and we may well be storing up problems and frustrations for the future.

Nevertheless the move continues, with The One, the future workplace of some 1700 Commission staff from 2022, following in the wake of DG BUDG, DG TRADE and DG ENV which will, in turn, be followed by the new Publications Office (OP) (POST-Mercier) and the Jean Monnet 2 (JMO2).

We are living in crucial times, when we see our working conditions radically changing without the proper involvement of staff and their representatives.

Generation 2004 strongly believes that staff should be properly consulted on all of these issues and their concerns addressed. While the administration is not doing this, we believe your voice still counts. We will present Generation 2004 proposals on the Commission housing conditions and listen to your ideas and input.

Join us on 3 February and share with us your experiences and make your voice heard!


[1] Yes, keyboards would be the typical example here of not wanting to share, but this is, to a certain extent, no more a problem in the future than it is now. Keyboards and mice are considered personal so will be stored in your locker and brought out each day. So, perhaps a chance to avoid unsavoury debris or having to sanitise them, but potentially an irritation the day you forget your locker key and have no headphones for your conference call.

2 thoughts on “It’s only for 2 days a week! hot-desking and buildings: lunchtime conference

  1. I can tell you that hot desking is a nightmare. All the questions on point 1 are all real (broken things, not functioning of IT stuff). Even how to turn on or off the lights is impossible to understand. I am critical staff and for the time being there is no a problem with space (no people coming) but the ‘team days’ it is awful. This is the worst thing that the EU has done ever. On top, doing that during the pandemic has been the last hit to our resilience. Awful. Please fight against this!!!

    1. Thanks for getting in touch with Generation 2004!
      The examples given are from the experience of several open-space environments: hot-desking must exacerbate the issues outlined above significantly.
      Please come along to our lunchtime conference and share your experience!

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