Hot Desk Etiquette: What You Need to Know
Hot Desking Do’s & Don’ts
Hot desking might be the trendiest way to work, but as with every other workplace, there’s an etiquette that needs to be observed. When you know you’re not returning to the desk you’re only working from for a day, there’s less of an imperative to abide by the office rules we associate with a traditional workplace.
The basic rules which ensure you’re not distracting your fellow coworkers are universal. Just because hot desking operates on a first come, first served basis, doesn’t mean your desk - and those sitting around you - deserve any less respect. Irrespective of whether you always work from the same spot in the office, prefer a coworking space, a pay-as-you-go desk, or even from the coffee table at your favourite local café, there are do’s and don’ts which need to be followed to avoid making a nuisance of yourself.
The rules of hot desking are fairly basic, really. No encroaching on someone else’s space, long personal calls, or constant message alerts. If someone feels compelled to ask you to take your phone elsewhere, tidy up your leftover lunch, or turn down the volume of your music - you’ve crossed some fundamental hot desking lines. Although hot desking constitutes a remarkably modern way to work, this doesn’t preclude workers from tried-and-tested office etiquette. Manners first, always.
The Benefits of Coworking
Coworking spaces can be liberating places to work, especially if you’re in a creative industry. When freelancers, remote or flexible workers, and other independent professionals share a communal work space, the opportunities to network and form new connections are huge.
Harvard Business Review (HBR) conducted a study into the people who use coworking spaces and found that typically what connects them is a desire to find meaning within their work. Outside the type of the work - like freelancers taking on projects they personally care about - the people surveyed reported a satisfaction with being able to control their job more than their job controls them. Which is to say, the flexibility coworking spaces allow modern workers directly contributes to their sense of job satisfaction. With the option to come and go as they please, 24/7, workers are able to decide whether they’d prefer to knuckle down for the long haul, or rearrange their day to accommodate healthcare appointments, a gym session, or simply running errands they wouldn’t otherwise be able to.
Coworkers are able to choose a quiet space in which to focus, or a collaborative space where ideas can flow uninterrupted, depending on their needs and preferences on any given day. It’s a sense of autonomy which underpins the modern workers’ needs and expectations from professional environments - no one wants to feel constantly observed, or monitored, or ‘on the clock.’ Both coworking and hot desking spaces allow for a sense of independence sorely lacking from strict, corporate offices - which for many people vastly improves the working day.
Having said that, structure remains vital to worker wellbeing - with HBR’s participants confirming that a lack of structure actually cripples their productivity. (Of course, if you know a routine suits your working style - create a routine for yourself. You needn’t be sitting next to your line manager to set and meet goals for yourself.)
An integral part of the success of coworking and hot desking spaces is the productive, communal atmosphere fostered in them, where coworkers can create their own daily structure, and practise self-discipline and self-motivation to get the job done. HBR’s research found that even if some coworkers don’t typically interact much with others, they still benefit from that sense of community identity, whether or not they actually choose to chat to their deskmates.
But how do we participate in the coworking community without compromising on coworking etiquette? It’s a fine balance. You should talk freely - at a reasonable volume - in common spaces, but book a meeting room if you need to discuss a topic within a group setting. Strive to keep talk work-appropriate, whether it relates to your job or not. (Imagine the horror of your boss overhearing someone you don’t work with tell an inappropriate joke.)
Avoiding Typical Office Annoyances
Since hot desking means you’re not sitting alongside the same people day in, day out, it keeps things fresh during your working week. Hot desking or coworking might be the solution for you if you prefer to be surrounded by new faces, forging new professional relationships as you go. Explore our workspaces today to find the best match for you.