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July 15th, 2020

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Create A Safer Workplace With Physical Distancing

Hot desking has become a popular workplace strategy in recent years, but not everyone has warmed up to the idea. One of the biggest reasons? A lack of hot desking protocols.

Employees used to complain about never being able to find an available desk. Now, upon returning to work in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, they might be more reluctant to share desks.

Meanwhile, workplace leaders lack visibility into how their office space is being used.

Following these hot desking protocols can help you overcome resistance and common hurdles to this flexible workplace strategy.

What is hot desking?

Hot desking allows employees to choose any available workspace when they arrive at the office each day.

The concept sounds great on the surface. Many workplace leaders have been moving away from assigned seats to give employees more flexibility while reducing wasted office space. And at a time when more employees have been working remotely, leaders are rethinking their approach to real estate. Hot desking is one way to do that, especially at a time when more employees are working remotely and don’t need a dedicated desk each day.

Hot desking also makes desks easier to clean because they aren't cluttered with personal items.

However, there are some drawbacks. One of the biggest complaints about hot desking (until recently) was that it was difficult for employees to find a place to work and get set up each day. If they worked a later shift, they might find their preferred desk (near their team or near a window) was already taken.

Hot desking can also make collaboration more difficult because it’s not always easy for employees to find their colleagues.

More recently, employees might also be reluctant to share desks without some updated hot desking guidelines in place.

What new hot desking protocols should your workplace have?

1. Ask employees to keep personal items to a minimum

No one wants to sit at a desk that’s cluttered with someone’s dusty old awards, piles of unread business journals, or bowls from last week’s breakfast. Make it a policy for employees to leave desks exactly as they found them at the end of each day, with nothing left behind.

To encourage people not to get too attached to one space, consider adding lockers or a designated area where they can keep essential personal belongings.

2. Make hot desking the new norm for everyone

Employees will be more eager to embrace hot desking if it’s a democratic system, rather than a status-based one. Managers should consider leading by example and giving up assigned seats or private offices, turning them into reservable workspaces anyone can use. This might not be possible for every company or role, depending on the work and the confidentiality requirements you might have, but it will set the tone for a more open, collaborative culture.

3. Implement a desk booking system

A desk booking system allows employees to reserve the workspaces they want to use for the day upon arrival. This gives them the freedom of hot desking with the certainty of having a reservation.

It also makes it easier for workplace leaders to understand how their space is being used so they can make adjustments and plan ahead.

This can be helpful if you need the limit the number of people in the office each day to maintain physical distancing.

A desk booking system simplifies contact tracing, too.

If an employee discloses they’ve tested positive for COVID-19, you can easily see who was sitting near them during the period of potential exposure.

4. Ask employees to sanitize shared desks after each use

The coronavirus can stay on surfaces for up to three days. That’s why it’s so important to update your hot desking protocols to include sanitizing shared desks. Instruct employees to wipe down their desk using cleaning products from the EPA’s list of registered disinfectant products, which now includes Lysol disinfectant spray.

If you have a facility management team or a cleaning crew who routinely comes into the office, desk booking software makes it easy to see which spaces have been used so they can clean more thoroughly and efficiently.

How can Teem’s desk booking software make hot desking easier?

Without the right technology, hot desking can become a hot mess. Teem’s desk booking software makes it a breeze.

Employees can reserve desks in advance or on the go, using our mobile desk booking app. The software integrates with Teem Maps — making it easy to find the perfect space — as well as calendar plugins and Teem’s scheduling displays so you can see the status of every desk.

Let’s face it — flexible seating is the future. And as an IT leader, your executive team and your workforce are counting on you to implement the technology to make it work for everyone.

Desk booking software can help your organization create a cleaner, more agile work environment while making the most of your real estate.

See how our desk booking software alleviates hot desking hassles.

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