The Pros And Cons Of Desk Sharing In The Modern Workplace
In a post-pandemic world, companies have had to relook at how workplaces are set up, and how they operate. This has led to innovative structures and practices implemented in offices across industries to increase productivity and cut down on overhead costs.
One of the big trends that have come out of this is desk sharing, also known as ‘hot-desking’.
While desk sharing has proven to be beneficial to both employees and employers, it does come with some challenges. We explore some of the pros and cons of desk sharing in the modern workplace.
What Is Desk Sharing?
Desk sharing in an office means that employees do not have a permanent, designated desk. Instead, employees that come into the office will reserve a particular desk each day, for that one day only.
Companies may differ slightly in their systems to allow employees to reserve a desk for different periods, like a few hours, or a whole week. But most commonly, the system is used to reserve a desk for one day at a time.
Some companies use a formal booking system, like Joan’s desk reservation system, that allows employees to book a specific desk for a certain day. Others simply allow employees to come in and find an empty desk when they arrive.
However, the latter approach can result in wasted time spent looking for an open desk. In addition, employees may come into the office only to find that there are no desks available.
The Pros Of Desk Sharing
Optimal Use Of Space
Desk sharing allows companies to cut down on desk space and use desks more economically. They can keep the number of desks down to a minimum to cater to what their workforce needs. This cuts down on real estate costs and office furniture expenses.
Taking this approach is especially beneficial for companies working with a hybrid work-from-home model that either allows the employees to choose when they come into the office or that have schedules to rotate employees coming in.
This setup provides flexibility for employees. They can find a desk that suits their working needs for the day.
For example, if there is a group project that needs to be done, members of that group can find desks next to each other for the duration of the project.
When an employee has a permanent designated desk, there can often be a buildup of clutter over time. Whether it’s mugs, old documents, stationery, or food products, a cluttered workspace can be distracting.
With desk sharing, employees have to pack up their belongings every day.
In larger offices, having a permanent desk often means that employees will form closer bonds with those situated at desks around them.
Desk sharing allows workers to interact with different people each day. This helps build social skills and forms a closer workforce overall.
The Cons Of Desk Sharing
No Personal Touches
Having a permanent desk means employees can add their personal effects to the space, such as photographs, posters, calendars, etc.
Desk sharing eliminates this, as employees have to pack up every item by the end of the day. This may make the space feel more unfamiliar.
Arriving at the office and going to a permanent desk is usually effortless. Your employees will already have all their necessities permanently set up there.
With desk sharing, there is a process of finding an available desk, unpacking belongings, and then acclimatizing to the new environment. This can take up some time that could have been used for more productive means.
Lack Of Cleanliness
Sharing desks can be challenging when it comes to hygiene, as the desk will need to be properly sanitized before someone new takes over it.
Cleaning products, such as sanitizers and wipes, should be provided and employees should be instructed to clean the desk when they’re finished using it.
In some instances, desk sharing can lack adaptability. For example, an employee may receive a last-minute assignment that requires brainstorming or group work.
However, if they have reserved a desk that has occupied surrounding desks, they may not be able to congregate with team members in the workspace as they may clash with other employees who need a quiet area.
Desk sharing may have some challenges, but for the most part, it is a modern technique that encourages minimalistic practice in the office and saves money and resources in the long run.
It also allows flexibility for the employees to move around to suit their working needs and encourages more socializing in the workplace to form a closer workforce.
If you’re interested in implementing desk sharing in your workplace, be sure to check out Joan today.
Frequently Asked Questions
Desk sharing, also known as hot desking is a type of office arrangement where employees do not have a dedicated workspace and instead share a pool of available workspaces. This means that instead of having a specific desk that they use every day, employees can choose from a variety of available desks on a first-come, first-served basis.
The idea behind desk sharing is to increase flexibility and collaboration and to make better use of office space by reducing the number of dedicated workspaces that are needed. This can be especially beneficial for companies with a high proportion of employees who work remotely or travel frequently.
Desk sharing can be implemented in a variety of ways, such as:
- Unassigned seating: Employees can choose from any available desk, without any assigned seating.
- Assigned seating: Employees are assigned a specific desk, but it may not be the same desk every day, it can rotate.
- Flexible seating: Employees are assigned to a specific desk, but they are free to move to other available desks when they need to.
- Desk sharing can also be managed with the help of software and apps, that can help employees find and reserve available desks.
Hot desking and desk sharing are often used interchangeably, but they can have slightly different meanings. Hot desking refers to a specific type of office arrangement where employees are assigned to a shared workspace, rather than a dedicated desk. The idea behind hot desking is that by not having a dedicated workstation, employees can move around the office and find the best space for their current task. This can increase flexibility, reduce the need for office space, and foster collaboration.
Desk sharing, on the other hand, refers to a more general concept of sharing workspaces. This can include hot desking, but it can also refer to other types of shared workspaces, such as shared offices, shared workstations, or even shared cubicles. The main idea behind desk sharing is to make better use of office space by reducing the number of dedicated workspaces that are needed.
In summary, hot desking is a specific type of office arrangement where employees share a pool of available workspaces, without having a dedicated desk, while desk sharing is a more general concept of sharing workspaces that can include hot desking and other arrangements.
Setting up a shared desk can be a relatively straightforward process, but it does require some planning and preparation. Here are some steps you can take to set up a shared desk in your office:
- Determine the number of shared desks needed: Based on the size of your office and the number of employees, determine how many shared desks you will need. Make sure to consider factors such as the number of employees who work remotely or travel frequently, and the number of employees who need to be in the office at the same time.
- Choose the location of the shared desks: Select the location of the shared desks based on factors such as natural light, proximity to common areas, and accessibility. It’s important to consider the ergonomics and comfort of the space for the employees.
- Purchase and set up the necessary furniture and equipment: Purchase or rent the necessary furniture and equipment for the shared desks, such as desks, chairs, and filing cabinets. Make sure that the furniture is comfortable, ergonomic, and easily adjustable.
- Choose a desk a reservation system like Joan Desk: Create a system for employees to reserve a shared desk in advance, this can be done through software or apps. This can help to ensure that there are always enough desks available for employees who need them.
- Establish rules and guidelines: Create guidelines for the use of shared desks, such as how to reserve a desk, how to clean and organize a desk, and how to share common spaces.
- Communicate the shared desk system to all employees: Communicate the shared desk system to all employees, including how it works, how to reserve a desk, and the rules and guidelines. Make sure that all employees understand the benefits and how to use the system.
- Monitor and evaluate the shared desk system: Monitor and evaluate the shared desk system to ensure it is working as intended and make any necessary adjustments.
Managing a shared desk system can be challenging, but with the right approach, it can be done effectively. Here are some tips on how to manage a shared desk system:
- Set up a reservation system like Joan Desk booking: Set up a system for employees to reserve a shared desk in advance, this can be done through software or apps. This can help to ensure that there are always enough desks available for employees who need them.
- Create clear rules and guidelines: Establish clear rules and guidelines for the use of shared desks, such as how to reserve a desk, how to clean and organize a desk, and how to share common spaces. Make sure that all employees are aware of the rules and guidelines.
- Monitor and enforce the rules: Regularly monitor the shared desks to ensure that the rules and guidelines are being followed. If necessary, take action to enforce the rules, such as reminding employees of the rules or reassigning desks.
- Encourage responsible use: Encourage employees to take responsibility for the shared desks by reminding them to clean and organize their desks after use.
- Keep track of usage: Keep track of the usage of the shared desks and make adjustments as necessary. For example, if a certain shared desk is in high demand, consider adding another shared desk in that area.
- Provide training and support: Provide training and support to employees to help them understand how to use the shared desk system and how to make the most of the shared workspace.
- Be flexible with the shared desk system and be open to feedback. Continuously monitor and make adjustments to the system as needed.
Workspace sharing refers to the practice of sharing a physical workspace, such as an office or a co-working space, among multiple individuals or organizations. It can take several forms, such as:
- Hot desking: A system where employees can use any available desk or workstation on a first-come, first-served basis.
- Desk sharing: A system where employees are assigned a specific desk or workstation, but it can be shared with others when not in use.
- Co-working spaces: A shared workspace where individuals or organizations from different industries or businesses can work together in a shared environment.
- Shared office space: A facility where multiple businesses or organizations share a physical office space, which may include common areas, conference rooms, and other amenities.
- Workspace sharing can offer a number of benefits, such as cost savings, increased flexibility, and the opportunity to collaborate with other individuals or organizations. However, it can also present challenges, such as the need to manage competing demands for resources and the potential for disruptions to the work environment. Workspace sharing can also be a great way to reduce the environmental footprint by reducing real estate and energy consumption.
It’s important to establish clear guidelines and expectations for the use of shared resources and to implement a system like Joan Desk booking.