hot desking practices with coworkers

9 hot desking practices for desk sharing success

The substantial shift in the way we work has been difficult for everyone to manage. While we tend to focus on making the switch easier on businesses, we can’t forget that employees may also struggle to get their heads around it. That’s why it’s important to know some of the best hot desking practices and etiquette to help set you up for success.

Switching from an assigned seating system to hot-desking can be incredibly confusing for some workers. Hot-desking anxiety can lead to long-term mental health and productivity issues. So with that in mind, let’s look at this from their perspective!

After working from home, it’s time to come back to the office for a few days each week. As you arrive, you notice someone sitting at your usual workspace, and you remember the memo you received about the office’s switch to hot-desking. Now, what do you do?

Don’t panic! We’re going to talk you through the best practices and etiquette to help you comfortably settle into hot-desking.

9 of the best hot desking practices for desk sharing success

Keep it clean!

A recent study found that the average desk has 400 times more bacteria than the average toilet seat. Ew! A headline like that is a sure-fire way to get you busting out the antibacterial spray and scrubbing your desk until it shines. So it comes as no surprise that one of the biggest concerns regarding hot-desking is hygiene, especially in a post-COVID world.

The best advice we can give for this is: leave your desk a little bit better than you found it.

If everyone in the office has this mindset, you can ensure that any desk you choose will be sanitized and ready to use.

While it can be tempting at the end of a tough day to just leave the mess for someone else to deal with, it can send the message to coworkers that you feel your time is more valuable than theirs. This can ultimately lead to conflict, especially for offices using a desk booking system. All it takes is a couple of clicks, and everyone can see who left the mess.

Keep it quiet!

If you’ve worked in an office before, you know how annoying it can be trying to work next to the loudest person in the room. With hot-desking, that person is no longer confined to one area.

Now imagine you are that loud person. Would you be happy knowing that you’re negatively affecting your colleagues’ working experience? No, right?

An office is a shared space designed to promote productivity. With that in mind, try to keep noise to a minimum. Casual conversations can be great, but louder collaborative meetings should be held in a conference room to avoid disrupting others.

It’s not your desk. It’s a shared workspace

It can be difficult for some to come into a hot office after using a traditional assigned desk system. It can be extremely tempting to reserve the same desk every day in an attempt to regain a sense of normality. That’s fine! Change isn’t for everyone, but it does defeat the purpose of switching to a hot office.

Staying in the same place every single day can make it feel like you’re trapped in a never-ending cycle of banality. Switching desks could be the spark you need to boost productivity. Try it out some time!

Keep clutter to a minimum

One of the downsides to hot-desking is that you can’t use your workspace as storage. However, maybe this isn’t a bad thing?

As we’ve discussed before, a messy desk gives the illusion of low productivity, poor organizational skills, and high stress levels. While there may be no data to back up that impression — studies seem to prove the opposite — it’s still better to avoid distractions and end the day with a clean desk. To achieve this, simply leave non-essential items in your bag or locker, rather than dumping everything on your desk “just in case” you need them.

Take advantage of private spaces

Sometimes, the hustle and bustle of the office floor can be a little much, especially if you’re trying to hit deadlines. A hot office is built with flexibility in mind, which means there are still plenty of private spaces for workers to use.

Booking a small conference room or phone booth workspaces can give you the breathing space you need. You can also use these private spaces for calls or longer conversations with coworkers to avoid distracting others.

Be aware of your surroundings

One of the biggest reasons for workers choosing to return to the office is the atmosphere that comes with it. A room full of people working has an energy that you cannot experience anywhere else. It helps you get into the right headspace and focus on the task at hand.

But, some days can feel different from others. It’s important to keep that in mind, especially when you may be sitting near people you don’t usually sit with.

Imagine the office is a train. Different areas of the office can represent different carriages. You wouldn’t come into a designated quiet carriage and spend your trip talking on your speakerphone, right? You get a feel for the energy of that carriage, and you match that energy. Translating this kind of awareness into the office can help you settle into the hot-desking system with minimal friction.

Don’t be afraid to call out poor etiquette

Everyone needs to be on the same page for a hot office to work. Understandably, some may struggle to get to grips with the changes, but everyone should be making an effort. This is why you should always speak up if you find someone who chooses not to cooperate.

No one enjoys being a snitch, but allowing individuals to actively ignore best practices can cause chaos down the line. Some may question why they have to comply with hot-desking rules when others do not. Some may call for traditional assigned seating to return. However, as hybrid work models become commonplace, office managers must push new initiatives hot-desking to avoid losing money on wasted office space.

It’s in everyone’s best interest to find ways to practice good hot-desking etiquette. And going to your manager to have a confidential conversation about any issues you’ve seen can help everyone work together as a team through the transition.

Lock and log out

Everyone in the office will have their own credentials to log into the computers and access the local network, but not everyone will have the same permissions. This helps keep sensitive information secure as it can only be accessed by the people who need to see it.

While hot-desking has many benefits, it can create a higher risk regarding data protection and security. It can be difficult to keep everything secure when regularly switching workstations. One of the easiest ways to reduce that risk is to lock and log out of your computer.

Taking a break? Make sure to lock your PC every time you leave it unattended. This prevents looky-loos from seeing potentially sensitive information. Finished work for the day? Logging out of the computer ensures whoever sits at that desk the next day cannot gain access to something they shouldn’t.

Take the guesswork out of finding a workspace with Smartway2

Smartway2 Logo 2021

One of the main causes of hot-desking anxiety is its uncertainty. The best way to eliminate that is with a desk booking system, such as Smartway2.

Smartway2 allows you to book your preferred workspace before reaching the office through an easy-to-use app. It can even give you directions if you’re in an unfamiliar part of the office! Request a demo today!


Hannah Cresswell

Last updated January 28, 2022