Hot desking or free address working has been around for many years with an early implementation for Accenture Consulting in Paris in 1989. However, these pioneering attempts required the use of manual management processes facilitated by an on-floor concierge. Since then the technology to support free address working has come of age.
The proliferation of mobile computing devices including laptops, tablets and smart-phones creates the possibility of mobility but these need high-density Wi-Fi to support significant numbers of workers. Until recently, Wi-Fi has promised more than it could actually deliver. It worked well in hospital wards with one or two doctors or consultants carrying a tablet but was not really good enough on an open-plan office floor with tens or hundreds of workstations. The new Wi-Fi standards of IEEE 802.11n and more recently 802.11ac have been implemented as high-density schemes at sports stadiums offering simultaneous connection to tens of thousands of fans. Applied to the workplace this technology is now powerful enough to replace a wired network.
The other significant enabler of mobility is the introduction of Microsoft Lync and similar systems that effectively replace the hard wired telephone. Everyone at work now has a mobile phone and use Lync, the combination of a soft phone on a laptop and simultaneous ring on a mobile enables staff to move around the building without missing incoming calls.
Together advanced, high-density Wi-Fi and Lync create the conditions for effective flexible working where staff are no longer tied to a particular desk for most of the day.
Please click on the link below to read the full article written by John Lane, IT and audio visual Partner.