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    Backstage

    Shared desk – Back to the office of the future

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    12. October 2022
    4:55 min.

    Do you prefer working in the office or from home? My answer to this question is: I like both! And I am happy to say that I myself am free to decide which one it will be on any chosen day.

    Just a short two and a half years ago, it was perfectly normal to be in the office from Monday to Friday. True, remote work was possible even then. But I only chose that option when I wanted to concentrate on a certain task without being disturbed, for example. Working life took place in the office. That was just the way it was. And anyone working on a mobile basis was out of the loop.

    The pandemic has forced us to shift many of our activities into the virtual realm – not least our daily work routine. Many employees have meanwhile got used to that and would not want to be without the advantages it offers, like being able to concentrate more intensely on their work or saving time since they no longer have to commute.

    Just like many other companies, Krones has also adjusted to these new circumstances. Firstly, the benchmark for mobile work was increased to 50 per cent of total working time in the existing plant agreement. Secondly, we have now chosen a shared-desk model for our new office design.

    “Shared desk” means there is no longer a permanently assigned desk for each employee. Instead, the team shares the available workplaces, so far fewer workplaces are needed. That, in turn, enabled us to give the office space a complete makeover.

    But what does that look like in actual reality?

    My department is a pilot area for testing the shared-desk model. I use a seat-booking system to reserve my workplace for the days I intend to work in the office. The system also shows me who else will be in the office on that day and where my colleagues will be seated. Furthermore, I can see which IT equipment is available at that particular workplace. As a personal assistant, on my office days I would like to have a seat close to where my boss works, for example. That is why I use the “favourite seat” function in the booking software, which enables me to book my preferred workplace in next to no time.

    Each employee needs a mobile terminal in order to participate in the shared-desk model. A selection of compatible units has been compiled for this purpose and distributed to employees before the pilot phase started.

    My personal items like keyboard, mouse and a headset are kept in a lockable caddy labelled with my name. I wheel this caddy to the desk I’ve booked and once I’ve finished work in the office, I put it back in its parking slot. There will also be lockers in future, for those who don’t want to have a caddy.

    Once I’m at my workplace, I connect my notebook to the screen with the USB-C cable provided and can start working immediately. Thanks to standardised mobile terminals and the docking station that has been integrated in the monitor, additional cables or adapters are no longer necessary. Simply plug and work! That means desktop PCs at a fixed workplace are a thing of the past, as are desktop phones since we now make phone calls exclusively via Microsoft Teams. The height-adjustable desk, likewise a standard feature of the shared-desk model, is something I particularly appreciate. I am extremely pleased to have this option of changing between sitting and standing at my desk throughout the day. That is something I cannot do at the touch of a button at home.

    Image 30501
    The standard workplace features include height-adjustable desks, enabling their occupants to change between sitting and standing at them throughout the day.

    Office-space makeover

    But it is not just human-engineered workplaces that are part of the shared-desk model. Some other pieces of furniture have also made their way onto our floor. And that brings me neatly to the biggest change of all, which is closely linked to the structural transformation of the office. Today, the focus is first and foremost on collaboration. The office is the meeting point for teamwork, creativity, brainstorming, discussions and socialising.

    My favourite piece of furniture in our new office is a business couch. Its high backrest made of soundproofing elements serves as a partition and makes it a highly comfy sofa while also offering some privacy. So it is ideally suited for brief meetings with up to four people when no IT equipment is needed. And there is always room for your cup on the coffee table.

    There are also two silent boxes surrounded by man-high walls, each consisting of two benches and a table with charging equipment. They offer space for four people and serve to reduce noise levels in the shared-desk area since small face-to-face meetings or lengthy Teams meetings can be held there. Anyone wishing for more privacy can also go into a phone booth. There you can talk for hours on end or attend a virtual meeting without headsets, without disturbing those around you. Another highlight: An area with long tables and bar stools was created in front of the kitchens, inviting people to spend their breaks together.

    Thanks to the office-space makeover, there are now attractive workplaces and a variety of retreat options, so that work and communication can be combined to optimum effect. In most cases, your workplace at home does not offer these possibilities. That is why I appreciate the flexibility to choose where I’d like to work, depending on the specific tasks I’ll be tackling. For it is an undisputable fact that hybrid working is here to stay.

    12. October 2022
    4:55 min.

    You can easily send a request for a non-binding quotation in our Krones.shop. 

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