Shared Desks At Work: What, Why, And How To Do It Right

October 21, 2022

By Workspace Resource

There are several moving parts to implementing desk sharing in your workplace. After you've established a solid foundation by considering your company's existing culture and polling your staff, you can go on to establishing concrete policies.

In certain businesses, a more relaxed approach is warranted, and a hot desking or desk-sharing policy is all that has to be implemented in order to create a comfortable, collaborative environment.

Desk sharing may benefit small businesses, but taking extra time and making more rules is integral if you're doing it at a big firm. We have listed essential desk-sharing practices that you may apply as-is or modify to fit your organization's culture.

What Is Desk Sharing?

Desk-sharing proposes that having access to several shared spaces, rather than a dedicated personal workstation, is crucial to ensuring that office workers can focus and get their job done in a work environment that best suits them and promotes productivity. This is a fantastic perk for businesses where workers do most of their work from home and only visit the office once a month or once a week.

Desk-sharing necessitates establishing work zones, such as those for project-based ventures, small-group sessions, casual meetings, uninterrupted work, and phone calls. 


When an employee occupies the same desk for a lengthy period, the practice is known as "hoteling." If your company has a desk reservation system (hence the name), this will come in handy. It promotes collaboration across teams and may be beneficial when projects evolve as members of pods come and go.

With desk booking software, your business and all workers who share office desks will significantly decrease workplace conflict. Any team member may check the app to see who else is in the office at any given time and reserve a desk accordingly.

They may schedule meetings directly using a hybrid workplace management software. In addition, a decent hybrid workplace software should enable you to allocate desks so that they are not accessible for booking by anybody if any workers in your organization want a permanent seating arrangement or private office.

Hot Desking

Hot desking is the practice of giving out desks on a first-come, first-serve basis to employees. This work arrangement works well if you don't have a set policy in place but want to give your workers some leeway. 

Hot desking is the concept of having a number of employees use a single workstation at various points throughout the day. Workers who often work different shifts or who must travel frequently may find this concept beneficial. A hot desking area is a designated office space where workers from various departments or who want to participate in shared desk work for some time may do so without disrupting the normal flow of the office.

Why Implement Desk Sharing

Although remote work is becoming more popular, some jobs or training are still better performed in-office. Communication in person is still vital. 

The workplace can run more efficiently and save money through a shared desk environment. A dedicated location where employees may come in on a rotational basis saves money on rent, utilities, and equipment by avoiding needing a bigger facility.

Recruiting workers who prefer flexible work has several advantages, including less overhead and easier upkeep. Plus, working in person has advantages in terms of culture and management.

Cons Of Desk Sharing

When a shared desk arrangement doesn't go as planned, it might have serious implications. Our desks are significant since that's where we spend most of our time working. The disadvantages of desk sharing at work might include the following:

Tips For Implementing Desk Sharing

Invest In High-Quality Workstations

Consider everyone's needs for safety and privacy in the workplace before instituting a shared desk system. One way to do this is to provide workers' workstations with ergonomic furniture that they can adjust to their individual preferences.

Adjustable computer displays, flexible seating options, and desks that can be adjusted in height are all examples of this kind of office furniture. While natural light is preferable, having a desk lamp that can be adjusted to suit one's needs is also helpful.

Provide Employee Lockers

If you have to share desk space, you can forget about leaving any of your belongings behind. Lockers or any other safe place for individuals to store their possessions is a simple solution to that problem. As a bonus, having a designated spot to keep one's belongings will cut down on the amount of time spent clearing and reorganizing one's work area regularly.

Make Policies Around Cleanliness

Any evidence of the day's use should be cleaned up as the workday ends - desks and chairs must be returned to their original positions, garbage must be taken away, and wipes and sanitizers must be available.

This desk etiquette will allow the next employee to take over the desk and rearrange it to their liking right away.

Make Office Storage A Priority

Sharing documents in one place, whether on a shared drive or in the cloud, helps cut down on paper use and duplication of effort.

For hard copies, choose a single location or install a series of lockers to house all of the team's files. Workers may access files as needed and replace them when they're done.

With the help of safe and reliable cloud storage, the same idea can be used for digital records. Eliminating duplicate files, which might be a source of false information or leaks, is one advantage of centralizing shared work data. This is particularly important if your business relies heavily on remote employees.

Think About IT

People need their own gadgets; thus, desktop PCs are out. Office managers or desk managers should provide workers with docking stations that let them connect their laptops to larger displays or encourage them to bring their own devices to work. Distribute hardware like keyboards and mice so everyone on staff can work comfortably with their own set. Employees' morning preparations will be streamlined the more you can make the office wireless. 

Evolve The Policy

Employee feedback may help you learn what's working, what isn't, and how to boost morale and productivity if you aren't hitting the mark on the first go. You may find out, for instance, that they want to switch desks every so often to see the view, that they want to be able to hotel in a conference room, or that they are bothered by noise.

Create Other Functional Spaces

The most significant advantages of working in person are the partnerships you build and the teamwork you can participate in.

Less desk space means more room for quiet areas, areas to spark new ideas and conference rooms. Designating socialization or collaboration spaces may improve the office's communal feel while accommodating employees' desire for personal space and privacy. 

Reminder For Desk Sharing Etiquette

Clean The Space When Done

This is for the safety of everyone on the job and respect for your colleagues. Reducing the spread of sickness in the workplace is another benefit of keeping workstations clean. Last but not least, work products or documents left out in the open can be a compliance risk. 

If You Need To Be Loud, Go Somewhere Else

Keeping the noise level down is a desk sharing etiquette that benefits everyone's mood. Use meeting and conference rooms for work-related calls and gatherings, only engage in casual chat in the appropriate areas and put all electronic gadgets into quiet mode, particularly computers and cell phones.

Secure Items And Devices

All areas and resources in the workplace are open and accessible to an employee. However, they must guarantee the safety of all equipment. When employees finish working at a desk, they should leave their desks and take all their possessions.

Need help furnishing your office?

Furnishing an office space can be a daunting task. Our Office Furniture Buying Guide breaks the process down into 5 phases with clear actionable steps that will help you design a space you love.

Get The Ultimate Office Furniture Buying Guide

Love The Space You Work In

Design Your Office