So, a few weeks into my hot-desking life, and it turns out that there are two reasons why I’m might put my back out.
The first reason is obvious: arriving at a new work space each morning, the rigmarole of adjusting chairs, laptop stands, screens and all to allow for a comfortable working position becomes an investment too great set against needing to get working. Bad posture, and hence back problems beckon.
(As an aside, am I the only person who sees a ticking health and safety time bomb in the increasing adoption of tablet devices in the workplace?)
The second is less obvious, and something that struck me in reflection on a talk by Elizabeth Greetham at last week’s Research Now event. Elizabeth talked about the different ways in which people learn and consume information, drawing on work from Kolb, Honey and Mumford, and also concepts of sensory preferences.
This latter subject – that we each have different preferences for the way in which we receive and process information – is something that I’ve been aware of for some time. Most people are apparently visual, although others prefer auditory (sound) or kinaesthetic (the rest of the senses) stimulus to be able to make sense of the world around them. And then Elizabeth dropped the bombshell: for kinaesthetic people (of which I am one) hot-desking becomes a challenge because the way in which we use the space around us is part and parcel of the ways in which we are dealing with our work. To others (often, particularly, visual people) it might look like a bombsite, but we know where things are and we also mentally recall things based on their real-world positions.
But why would a clean, hot-desk lead to back problems? Well, it came up in conversation yesterday with another kinaesthetic hot-desker, and we realised that (as some sort of coping mechanism no doubt) we both tend to lug heavy bags around with us: if we can’t have a desk, then the contents of the desk travels with us…