Organizing desk sharing in your company is a multi-step process. Once you’ve laid the foundation by surveying your employees and taking your work culture into account, it’s time to set specific rules.

Depending on your company, you may want to keep things loose and only introduce a simple desk sharing/hot desking policy.

However, if you’re implementing desk sharing at a larger company, it’s a good idea to spend a bit more time on the issue and create additional guidelines. To help you get started, we’ve compiled 10 key desk-sharing best practices that you can use directly or slightly alter to suit your company’s needs.

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Our Top 10 Desk Sharing Best Practices

1. Ask team members to perform a full reset every day

Whether one or several co-workers use a certain desk over the course of a workday, by the end of work hours, any signs of usage should be removed. This means removing all personal items from the desk and wiping it down (so you’ll need to provide sanitizers and antibacterial wipes), throwing out the trash, and putting desks and chairs back in a neutral position.

That way, whoever comes in next can immediately start using the desk and setting it up the way they prefer.

2. Designate spaces for different purposes

Community and collaboration are the biggest benefits of in-person work.

To enhance the community aspect of the office while still respecting people’s privacy and need for space, you can designate different areas for socializing or collaborating. Of course, providing the opportunity for people to withdraw is equally important. A few examples of areas you may want to designate in your space:

  • Breakout zones serve as social hubs where people can spontaneously socialize and chat, have lunch breaks, or hold informal meetings.
  • Collaborative spaces or conference rooms for holding meetings, brainstorming, giving presentations, or other similar activities.
  • Kitchen area and cafe that is entirely dedicated to preparing food and socializing.
  • Silent areas or touchdown zones where employees can focus more intensely or take a short break in silence.

3. Create office neighborhoods

While we’re on the topic of organizing your office space, office neighborhoods are another handy concept to consider. An office neighborhood is an arrangement that ensures people who share something about the workplace are grouped together.

Neighborhoods can be organized around teams or departments, shared work on projects, shared needs or daily activities (like seclusion or collaboration space), and shared requirements for amenities and equipment. Depending on the number of desks and the number of employees and their needs, there are tons of variations you could come up with.

When done correctly, office neighborhoods can help you create a work environment that encourages flexible work, efficient space utilization, occupancy, collaboration, and productivity.

4. Control the noise

Since office spaces are frequently open and there are plenty of distractions, introducing some sort of noise control is important. Moreover, if your desk sharing policy groups together people with different needs, reducing noise levels will help keep everyone happy.

Here are a few basic noise control rules to help get you started:

  • Keep all devices, especially smartphones and laptops, silent.
  • Have informal conversations in only designated spaces.
  • Take phone calls and meetings in conference/meeting rooms.

In terms of office design, you can also reduce the amount of sound bouncing around by using carpets and other noise-absorbing surfaces and furniture.

5. Consider instituting a BYOD policy

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is the approach of allowing employees to use their own devices, rather than company-provided ones. (Of course, depending on the nature of your company’s work, and security needs, that may not be possible.)

If you can afford to have people use their own devices, you can eliminate part of the difficulty associated with desk sharing — namely, having dedicated devices (like laptops and headphones) on every desk. What’s more, letting employees use their own devices is much more convenient for them.

6. Use technology to make reserving desks easy

Using desk booking software (i.e., going from hot desking to desk hoteling) can hugely reduce the friction for your company and all employees that share their workstations. Team members can simply open the app (or use Google Calendar, Slack, or Teams), see who else is in the office, and book a desk, depending on their flexible schedules.

A complete hybrid workplace management system will also enable them to book meeting rooms, without going through an intermediary. And if certain employees in your company need permanent seats or private offices, a good hybrid workplace software should allow you to institute assigned desks, so they’re not available for booking by anyone else.

7. Provide personal storage space

One of the downsides of desk sharing is the inability to leave personal items at one’s desk. That can easily be resolved by providing lockers or other types of secure personal storage where people can leave their belongings. Having personal storage space will also reduce the overall amount of clutter, and a lot of the daily activities related to resetting one’s workplace.

8. Centralize shared documentation

Whether in physical form or in the cloud, centralizing shared documentation is another way to reduce clutter as well as avoid duplication and paper waste.

When it comes to physical copies, you can set up a centralized space or banks of lockers where shared documentation is stored. When in need, employees will be able to retrieve information from the storage and return it after they are done using it.

The same principle can also be applied to digital documentation via the use of centralized and secure cloud storage. One of the benefits of centralizing shared data is the reduction of duplicate files — a possible source of leaks or inaccurate information. This is crucial, especially if your company is heavy on remote work.

9. Offer adjustable equipment

When implementing desk sharing, you need to make sure that everyone’s basic need for comfort at the workplace can be met. This can be achieved by providing ergonomic furniture that employees can adjust to suit their needs, in order to feel at home at their desks for the day.

Such furniture and equipment can include adjustable-height desks, a variety of chairs and seating options, and adjustable monitors. And even though natural light is best, the ability to individually adjust one’s lighting via a desk lamp is another good option to have.

10. Remove unused cables and hide used ones

While wireless technology has largely taken over, companies still maintain cables for ethernet access, and in some cases even for landline telephones – just in case.

Simple as it might be, removing as many cables as possible declutters the office further, and also grants employees some freedom to move desks around (if allowed by your desk sharing policy). Also, whether cables you do need should be tucked away so that people don’t trip over them.

Speaking of cables, don’t forget to include plenty of outlets on all desks for all those devices!

Getting Started with Desk Sharing

Desk sharingThe above practices for sharing desk spaces are intended to help you get into the mindset of organizing your workplace as you embark on the hybrid work journey.

As you get started, you may also want to get some expert help with managing your desks, booking rooms, and managing your hybrid workplace. OfficeRnD Hybrid can help you address the challenges of hybrid work by helping employees embrace the new way of working while relieving you of many tedious administrative tasks.

You can book a live demo straight away to learn how OfficeRnD Hybrid can help you enable hybrid work and elevate workplace collaboration.

OfficeRnD Team
We are team OfficeRnD! We build software to run hybrid workplaces, coworking spaces, and all kinds of flex spaces. We power flexible working! We love writing about everything that relates to the future of work, flexible work, and working from anywhere.