Hot desking and desk hoteling are essential in today’s hybrid work environment. But despite the renewed focus on employee well-being, Deloitte’s 2023 Well-being at Work survey found that most employees say their health stayed the same or worsened over the past year.

Smart pre-planning and ergonomics are the keys to making hot desking work for your hybrid workplace.

This article will explore how hot desking ergonomics and thoughtful workplace design can provide a more comfortable and enjoyable environment for your hybrid employees.

Quick Summary

  • Key components of hot desking ergonomics include physical safety, comfort, productivity, and mental well-being.
  • Hot desking comes with various ergonomic challenges, such as desk space issues, poorly fitting workspaces, office clutter, and a lack of accessories to protect your hybrid office workers’ health and keep them comfortable.
  • Hybrid offices can improve their hot desking ergonomics by including illustrated seat adjustment guides in shared workspaces, implementing ergonomic accessories like document holders and keyboard trays, and having designated break areas and storage units.

The 4 Essentials of Workspace Ergonomics

Let’s start with the four essentials of workspace ergonomics:

1. Physical Health and Safety

According to The State of Employee Safety in 2023 report from Alert Media, 80% of employees believe that physical safety is important in the workplace. However, 75% also believe that efforts from employers to keep them safe haven’t been effective.

An ergonomic workspace prioritizes the physical safety of its hybrid employees so they can stay healthy while working.

2. Comfort

Working while sitting for hours at a time can be uncomfortable and strain your hybrid employees’ bodies. It can also hurt their posture, leading to back problems in the long run.

Ergonomic offices must optimize hybrid employees’ workstations for comfort. They allow these individuals to work for long hours without experiencing any strain on their bodies.

3. Productivity

Nothing is less productive than a hybrid employee who’s unable to work — either at home or in-office — due to a sprained wrist or hip problems from sitting too long on uncomfortable furniture.

When it comes to workspace ergonomics, companies that rely on hybrid offices should consider how their design and furniture choices can both mitigate the harmful effects of bad ergonomics and, at the same time, choose implements that boost productivity.

man working on a pc

This can be as simple as installing blue light blocker apps on computer workstations to reduce computer vision syndrome or using furniture like supports for the feet and desks stationed at the right height. This keeps the whole body, including the back, neck, and feet, in the ideal position to remain relaxed but alert.

4. Mental Well-being

Can you really support mental well-being with smart ergonomics? Yes — and it all comes down to safe working conditions.

Kevin Lombardo, President and CEO of wellness-based pain management company DORN, found that “companies that continued to invest in total worker wellness initiatives saw a corresponding reduction in ergonomic injuries.”

In other words, companies that prioritize mental health are more likely to have workers who experience fewer ergonomic-related injuries. Furthermore, Lombardo’s company found that the use of targeted ergonomic solutions in the workplace can reduce pain and stress and improve employee morale by 85%.

employee stretching

And that’s important because, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), companies lose 12 billion working days per year to employee depression and anxiety and $1 trillion per year in lost productivity.

For your hot desking strategy to work, you’ll need to create an ergonomic workspace where hybrid employees can balance work and relaxation in well-integrated spaces.

two workers sitting on a table

Common Ergonomics Challenges in Hybrid Workspaces

While flexible working provides employees with more control over their schedules, this work model comes with a set of challenges. These include the following:

  • Uncomfortable or poorly fitting desks: In a hot desking arrangement, an employee who decides to work in the office may find themself at a workstation that’s customized for someone who’s significantly larger or smaller than they are. This can lead to them scrambling to find a more comfortable space or wasting time trying to find a phone book to use as a booster seat.
  • Lack of ergonomic office equipment: Many workplaces lack the proper ergonomics accessories to keep employees healthy while eliminating back pain and bad posture. Footrests, keyboard trays, glare screens, headsets, and ergonomic mice can help avoid long-term damage to your team’s health. Check out some must-have hot desking accessories here.
  • Lack of break areas and storage space: Employees need areas to unwind, stretch, and catch up with their colleagues. Designated break rooms and lounge areas can help them recharge and be more productive when they go back to their desks. Since employees in a hot desking workplace don’t have their own desks, they often have nowhere to store their personal items. This can lead to clutter since they may have to place their belongings on the floor instead.

7 Best Practices for Improving Hot Desking Ergonomics

What are challenges if not opportunities to innovate?

With a solution like hot desking, there are several ways in which you can overcome ergonomics hurdles and create an environment in which your employees can do their best work:

employees working in an office one of them is on a standing desk

1. Illustrated Seat Adjustment Guides

If 6-foot-something Alex used a workstation yesterday that barely-5-foot Mia reserved for today, some adjustments would likely be in order for Mia to be able to work comfortably.

Having illustrated guides in shared workspaces can help employees correctly adjust their chairs. Ergonomic chair adjustment guides should address the following:

  • Seat: how to adjust the height, depth, and angle of the seat
  • Backrest: how to adjust the height and angle of the backrest
  • Armrest: how to adjust the height and width/pivot of the armrests

2. Designated Break Areas

To help hybrid employees feel more at home when they enter the office, designate spaces where they can relax, socialize with other workers, and recharge.

Offering a quiet meditation area or including relaxing, reclining furniture in communal break rooms can help take the strain off their bodies when they go on a break.

These ideas promote positive mental health and give your employees the relaxing spaces they need during each workday.

3. Standing Desks

While they might not be for everyone, having a few standing workspaces in the office can be a great option for employees who are more comfortable working from a standing position.

However, rather than going all-in on standing desks, start with a few and see how popular they are among employees. If they aren’t being utilized, you can always transition back to traditional seated workspaces.

standing desks

4. Implement Storage Units for Personal Items

A cluttered workspace makes it harder to focus and be productive. Hot desking employees need places to store their personal belongings when they decide to work in the office.

Make sure to have locker rooms and storage units in your shared office spaces so your hybrid employees can drop off their belongings when they arrive at the office.

5. Keyboard Trays and Laptop Stands

Chairs aren’t the only part of a shared workstation that employees might need to adjust for a better fit. Keyboard trays allow employees to adjust the angle and height of their keyboard so they can type and use their mouse more comfortably.

Along those same lines, a laptop stand can help employees adjust their laptops to eye level and improve their posture.

6. Document Holders

Data entry can be a slow-going and uncomfortable process when an employee is constantly looking back and forth between their computer screen and the source document they’re working on.

Document holders make things a lot easier by holding documents closer to the monitor. Making documents easier to read and transpose can keep employees from spending their workday in uncomfortable or twisted working postures.

7. Keyboard Shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts allow employees to use a few quick keyboard strokes instead of going back and forth between their keyboard and mouse to perform actions on their computer.

Mastering keyboard shortcuts in commonly used applications can help employees work more comfortably and be more productive. Here are the latest Windows 11 keyboard shortcuts that save a lot of work.

Consider offering training for employees so they can learn keyboard shortcuts that can make their job easier. For instance, you can offer specialized training for keyboard shortcuts for:

  • General keyboard shortcuts
  • Microsoft Excel shortcuts
  • Microsoft Word shortcuts
  • Internet browser shortcuts
  • Application or program-specific shortcuts.

worker working

Improve Your Hybrid Office With the Right Hot Desking Software

Hot desking comes with some unique challenges. Thankfully, you can overcome these challenges to create the best possible work environment for your hybrid employees. The result will be improved employee satisfaction and better company performance.

OfficeRnD Hybrid’s hot desking software can help streamline both your hybrid office management and the way your employees work within the office. With just one click, employees can see which desks are available within the app and instantly book a space.

Get started for free with OfficeRnD Hybrid and see for yourself.


What Is the Hot Desking Strategy?

Hot desking, unlike desk hoteling, is a working model in which employees have no assigned seats. Instead, they can decide when they want to work in the office.

What Are the Issues With Hot Desking?

Common issues that come with hot desking include space availability, lack of proper ergonomic tools, risk of illness due to multiple people using the same space, and lack of privacy. That’s why, a strategic hot desking policy is required, as well as having the best desk booking tool.

How Can You Work Ergonomically When Hot Desking?

The best way to work ergonomically when hot desking is to integrate ergonomics design accessories in the office, establish personal spaces where employees can relax, and implement a hot desk hygiene policy that everyone must follow.

How Does Working at a Desk Affect Your Health?

Working for too many hours at a desk can negatively impact your health. A sedentary lifestyle, in general, can lead to health issues such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and back problems.

What Is Hot Desking Ergonomics?

Hot desking ergonomics involves creating an office environment that’s convenient for the hybrid employee, keeps them healthy, and provides maximum comfort through the right office equipment.

Miro Miroslavov
CEO and Co-founder of OfficeRnD
Miro Miroslavov is a software engineer turned into a tech entrepreneur. In 2015 he co-founded OfficeRnD - a leading flex space and hybrid work management platform. As a CEO at OfficeRnD, he grew the company from inception to a leading software vendor that serves thousands of customers worldwide. He is a big fan of flexible working and is on a mission to "Making Flexible Working the Way of Working".