What is Hot-desking Etiquette? Why Should You Pay Attention to It?

Hot desking Etiquette

Gone are the days of working at fixed desks, cooped up in a cubicle. In the now-popular flexible work model, workplaces are not tied to location. So, in theory, employees can work from anywhere, and offices can adopt flexible seating plans.

But what of employees that come into the office? 

Offices can adopt flexible-seating technology like hot-desking software to help employees find a workspace easily. And many offices already have plans for them in place. But as more companies offer hot desks, lots of loud eaters, disorganized workers, and varied groups will be sharing desks. So, you can expect employee frustration over noise, territory, clutter, and storage spaces.

The solution? Hot-desking etiquette. But what does it mean?


Hot-desking etiquette refers to the protocols your employees need to focus on when using shared desks. It is an attempt at being considerate towards your workplace and colleagues so that everyone can have a positive work experience.

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Here is how it can help.

Why Do You Need Hot-Desking Etiquette? 

Think about this. You enter the office and whip out your phone to book a desk via the hot-desking app. After a few failed tries, you finally book a desk, only to find it filled with piles of paper and coffee stains. You then call the sanitization staff for help and by the time they finish cleaning up the space for you, half an hour gets passed automatically.

This happens when organizations do not have a centralized hot-desking policy or employees do not know hot-desking etiquette.

While ensuring all your employees know about hot-desking etiquette might sound tedious at first, in practice, your employees need to do only three things-

  • they must respect each other’s personal and professional space
  • they must not leave the desk messy, given desks become a shared commodity
  • they must focus on cleanliness norms so everyone can have a hygienic workplace.

Here are the dos and don’ts you can share with your employees for an efficient hot-desking system.

Hot-Desking Etiquette – Dos and Don’ts

The Dos

Reserve Desks in Advance

To make this a fair and easy system for your employees, introduce desk booking software. A smart system will help them know which desks are available to them in advance. A hot-desking app with an integrated office layout will help employees choose where they sit for the day according to their needs. Moreover, it will minimize workplace conflicts over space.

For instance, if they find that someone else is already working at their reserved desk, they can kindly ask them to move or quickly book a different desk on the hot-desking app.

Keep the Desk Tidy

The post-pandemic era has clearly highlighted the need for hygiene. After all, untidy, cluttered spaces are breeding grounds for bacteria, viruses, and a flurry of infectious agents.

So, encourage your employees to tidy up the mess they may make. Have them clean and wipe their desks – without assuming someone else will do it. 

Moreover, make it easy for them to do so. Set up recycling areas, garbage cans, or sanitization supplies like antibacterial wipes and sanitizers. This will make the shared space ready to use each morning. 

Book a Different Seat Every Time

If your employees book the same desk every day, they probably speak to the same people daily, shutting themselves off from socializing with other teammates. So, encourage them to reserve a different desk regularly. This will help you use the office space better and allow your employees to collaborate more.

Maintain Silence in the Workplace

While some people can tolerate noise while working, it may be a source of distraction to others. So, establish a silent device policy in your workplace and encourage employees to reduce noise. And when they do have to take a call, allow them to use the conference room or a small meeting pod. 

This way, they have the privacy to handle their personal and professional business while still being mindful of their colleagues’ needs.

The Don’ts

Don’t Store Personal Things

For hot-desking to work successfully, employees need to keep the desks clean, tidy, and ready to use for the next person. This means they don’t leave any personal items in shared places. To discourage this, you can introduce a storage space for employees who want to leave their belongings at the office.

Avoid Coming to Work if You’re Feeling Unwell

Hot-desking safety and a healthier workplace start with personal responsibility. So if an employee is feeling unwell, encourage them to stay home. Else they risk infecting the workplace, directly or indirectly. Further, it’s good hot-desking etiquette to ask such employees to cancel their bookings in time. 

Don’t Reserve Off-Limit Desks

Another good rule is to ensure that employees don’t book off-limits desks. You likely have desks in your workplace that are only assigned to specific teams. Or areas that are off-limits for functional reasons. 

Make it easy for employees to identify these areas with the desk booking software. It should clearly indicate which desks are blocked and available to use.

In Conclusion

Establishing best practices and ensuring employees follow hot-desking etiquette can make booking desks and working at booked spaces a more productive and enjoyable experience for everyone.

That said, a good hot-desking tool like WorkInSync can supplement the employee experience by enabling easier bookings and making it easier to implement hot-desking etiquette.

WorkInSync desk booking solution helps you manage your office real estate by allowing your employees to book desks easily. It gives both employees and managers a real-time view of desk occupancy and gives detailed insights into desk usage trends. Additionally, it also enables managers to set up sanitization workflows to boost health security at the workplace.

Are you looking to add hot desks to your existing offices? Are you looking to introduce hybrid work? Then opt for a demo with WorkInSync today.

Read This Also: The Most Common Types of Workplace Discrimination

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