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Core Etiquette Rules of Hot Desking

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Today’s work environment has embraced a system named Hot Desking. This practice is part of the workspace renovation where an employee no longer has a fixed desk but works from different desks. This means that one workspace can be used by various people each day. It creates an environment where employees have the freedom to choose their workspace based on their needs and preferences. It also enables a more flexible and collaborative environment where communication in the office is made simple. With this new system comes the question regarding etiquettes. What are the rules? Which guidelines are needed to ensure a safe and healthy work environment. Within this article, we will explore this subject and provide you with core etiquette rules of Hot Desking.

Benefits of Hot Desking

Cost efficiency

Hot Desking is an effective means for organisations to utilise less office space. At any given time, employees can choose to work off site, therefore employers can invest in fewer desks and amenities they would normally require. These all account for lower costs in rent and furniture, because smaller spaces are utilised

Flexibility and Collaboration

A standout benefit of Hot Desking is the flexibility and collaboration it encourages. Since employees are no longer bound to a fixed desk, they can choose a desk that best suits their needs. This creates a more adaptive work culture where workers can switch desks based on their requirements.

Talent Attraction and Employee Retention

Being a workplace that allows for Hot Desking can attract a talent pool that has hybrid working high on their list. Aside from that, this phenomenon also aids in employee retention. Providing staff with the opportunity to work how and where they want helps them to have a healthy work-life balance.

Potential Challenges of Hot Desking

Limited Personalisation

One of the challenges employees may face with Hot Desking is limited personalisation. Due to the lack of assigned places, personalising ones desk with a plant or personal photographs is no longer possible. This can alter company culture and employees’ sense of belonging to the company, because they do not have their “own” space.

Security Concerns

Even though Hot Desking is beneficial for collaboration, it can pose a data-security risk. The frequent sharing of desks can compromise the confidentiality of sensitive information. Due to employees frequently moving around, the risk of unauthorised access to documents, messages, etc. is heightened. In industries where data security is important, the right measures and precautions should be taken to prevent data leaks or other breaches.

Cleanliness and Etiquette Issues

The issue that comes with frequent desk sharing is that of cleanliness. With multiple people sharing the same desk at different times, the workspace can get dirty. Special consideration must be given to the hygienic needs of the workspace to ensure a safe and healthy environment for workers. To ensure that this is upheld, Hot Desking guidelines with clear rules must be set up. These rules must describe the condition that the shared desk/space should be left in the moment a worker leaves the workspace. This Hot Desking etiquette must be simple and widely-communicated within the office.

Core Etiquette Rules for Hot Desking

1.    Desk reservations

Whenever an organisation makes Hot Desking available, we advise to invest in a booking system like GoBright’s Desk Booking Solution. Our Solution helps employees gain oversight of the workspaces they can book. This way, they will not remain without somewhere to work at the office. On the other hand, a good booking solution will prevent miscommunication about who can sit where. Whenever there is need to collaborate, they can also choose to book a space. Our Room Booking Solution is the right answer for that!

2.    Cleanliness

Everybody needs to clean up after themselves, making sure that whenever they leave the space the next person can work in a clean environment. Additionally, everybody must be mindful of food and drinks at the desk. With GoBright’s Desk Booking Solution, you can indicate when a desk needs cleaning. Our Hygienic Desk feature ensures that whenever a desk needs cleaning, both our Connect, Glow and Interact turns purple. This way, Facility Management sees which desks are dirty so they can take action.

GoBright - Interact - Hygienic Desk - Needs Cleaning

3.    Noise level

When working, employees must be mindful of their surroundings if they have conversations. There must be room for everybody to be able to fully concentrate on their tasks. Therefore, using headphones when listening to music or having a meeting is a must.

4.    Personalisation

Seeing as the desks are shared, it is advised not to personalise one’s desk. Whenever this is done, employees must clear the items from the used space. However, lockers are a great solution to store personal items. GoBright’s Locker Integration with brands like VECOS and Lehmann offers you the opportunity to book your locker at the same time, using one and the same app as you do to book your desk. This also ensures the neatness of the office and the freedom of solely needing your laptop bag.

5.    Reporting Issues

If the office has the option of a booking system, there should be an option to report various issues whenever that is the case. Whenever you face any issues with your desks, you should be able to report this so the person after you does not face the same. GoBright offers an Issue Reporting feature. So whether the docking station isn’t working, you’re missing a keyboard, or there is a coffee stain in the carpet, you are able to use this feature. Making sure the right department gets the opportunity to fix this as soon as possible and the person using this desk after you doesn’t experience the same burden.

6.    Privacy & Boundaries

Everyone’s space and privacy must be respected regardless of the communal environment. it’s important for colleagues to consider one another in the workspace and an open dialogue about this is always advised.

7.    Availability of Different Workspaces

Employers should provide employees with different types of workspaces (silent, height adjustable, collaborative) so they can choose the space that suits them best. Everyone works differently and therefore has different needs. Having access to different types of workspaces can, in turn, enhance productivity.

8.    Equipment & Supplies

It’s essential for office equipment and supplies to be available in the office. Equipment like printers, staplers and shredders aid in making the workday easier. Additionally, whenever there is a need when it comes to these equipments and supplies, our Issue Reporting feature can also be consulted. The communal office supplies must be used with care and returned after use.

9.    Findability of Colleagues

Hot Desking can pose a problem in terms of findability of colleagues, especially in big buildings with multiple departments. If everybody works according to the flexible an hot desking principle, it becomes harder to know who is at the office and where they are. A tool like GoBright’s Week Planner can solve that issue because it promotes collaboration and insight. Our Week Planner encourages an open culture where everyone is aware of another’s whereabouts. You can plan your week ahead and at the same time book the workspace or room that you need. Find out where your colleague is on the day you want to collaborate and book a desk next to them. you can also check when members of your team will be at the office, so you don’t have to work alone.

GoBright - Week Planner - Collaboration

The Role of the Organisation

The organisation is responsible for ensuring a smooth experience with Hot Desking. Clear Hot Desking etiquette is needed to communicate the expectations regarding etiquette in the office. There are many ways in which this can be effectively done. The organisation can provide signage about the rules within the office, underlining the importance of each rule and how it should be followed. Regarding cleanliness, the organisation should provide the necessary cleaning supplies that employees can use. Lastly, to avoid conflict and misunderstandings, organisations should consider a fitting desk booking system.


The phenomenon of Hot Desking knows it benefits as well as its challenges. Organisations may differ from one another in the way they implement this system, however one thing remains the same: the importance of proper etiquette. This, paired with a focus on mutual respect and understanding ensures the success of a Hot Desking system.


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