As the hazy summer days roll on and holidays begin in earnest, lone desks appear throughout offices across the UK, patiently waiting for their usual inhabitant to return rested and (hopefully) tanned. These spaces provide the perfect chance for those of us not jetting off to exotic locations to take, what we have affectionately deemed here at Lansons, “a desk holiday”.
Our business doesn’t believe in silos but we do believe in the value of specialist skills and expertise, so we have an entirely open-plan office stretching across three floors. As multi-skilled as we are, different people, of course, have differing natural strengths and sitting at a different desk, even for just a few hours, can provide insight into how other areas of the business operate and refresh your own way of thinking.
Moving desks gives you an entirely different perspective and makes you realise how much of your routine you spend on autopilot. A new setting forces you to be more aware of your surroundings and pay greater attention to your daily actions. When I recently “holidayed” at a colleague’s desk, I found myself experiencing my day-to-day routines in an entirely new way, which was in itself a cathartic experience.
Aside from the physical change in office position, there is also the change in the people surrounding you. Each individual has their own skill set and way of working and, until you change your seat, you tend not to take note of your own skill set, personality and work ethic too much. Are you creative or analytic? Strategic or tactical? Reactive or proactive?
Moving between desks has taught me a huge amount about different work styles. Being exposed to a new set of skills provided me with an incredible chance to learn, see different approaches in action, watch other colleagues respond to client requests and achieve incredible results in a way I hadn’t been exposed to before. During my short “desk holiday”, I broadened my own experience, added new strings to my bow and was exposed to a different team culture from what I am used to.
Upon returning to my own desk, I felt I had gained a deeper insight into my own clients by applying the new techniques I learnt whilst sitting with a different set of colleagues. Their enthusiasm for their clients, which are different to my own, was so infectious that I couldn’t help but absorb it all and apply their approaches to my own work. I returned to my own desk refreshed, with new ideas and a wider set of skills to execute my ideas.
A “desk holiday” is simple to implement and can have a wide impact on your business as a whole, injecting fresh passion and encouraging learning amongst colleagues who don’t necessarily engage on a daily basis. Lansons’ recent Britain at Work study found that 25% of workers seem apathetic about their jobs; perhaps one way businesses can foster greater motivation is to offer more “desk holidays”…
But as with all holidays, there’s relief and contentment when the fun is over and you go home!