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7 Tips for Hoteling and Hotdesking Etiquette

Your essential guide to making flexible desking work for your team and office

You wouldn’t leave the office coffee pot empty, steal another teammate’s lunch, or distract someone when they’re on the phone to a client. That’s just bad etiquette. There are plenty of office rules – both spoken and unspoken. If you’re in the process of adopting hotdesking or hoteling in the workplace, it’s important to provide clear guidelines. Leaving it to your team’s personal preferences to navigate the way won’t result in the workplace they deserve.

Office hoteling etiquette is crucial if you’re going to have employees hotdesk or desk hotel successfully — and it starts from the top down. To properly use the shared desk spaces, here are 7 tips for hotdesking and hoteling etiquette.

1. Clean up & sanitize any mess

With a hoteling system, knick-knack hoggers, coffee spillers, cup hoarders and greasy pizza eaters will share desks. Make it office hoteling etiquette to have employees clean their desks at the end of the day. It’s unfair for somebody else to come in and clean up empty bottles, plates or notes. Don’t allow your employees to lock in an endless cycle of mess (or unusable desks).

Employees should give others the courtesy of a clean desk. Every employee should clean off personal items, remove the mess and wipe everything down with a sanitary wipe, including any shared equipment.

Make this task as easy as possible for your employees. Set up easily accessible garbage cans, recycling areas, and stations with desk sanitizing supplies like wipes. Post visible reminders to ensure everybody cleans up their desk.

2. Book a different seat regularly

Booking the same desk all the time can get repetitive and boring. It also means employees only speak to the same people repeatedly and shut themselves off from the wider team. In your hoteling workspace, make it good etiquette to encourage booking a different workstation regularly. 

Highlight the benefits of doing so, such as boosting collaboration. With software like Worksphere, you can set up recurring schedules that help move individuals around the office.

3. Don’t book off-limit desks

One of your hoteling rules should be to ensure employees don’t book workstations that are off-limits to them. You likely have desks or areas that you’ve assigned to specific teams like HR, Accounting or receptionists. They may require the same spot in the office to do their job, or may need to store confidential paperwork at their desks. .

You may also have certain areas off-limits for safety or functional reasons like social distancing or a broken desks. 

The software you use for hoteling or hotdesking should make this as easy as possible for your employees. From your software, it should be easy to see which desks you’ve assigned or blocked from use. Most importantly, it should clearly show which seats are available to reserve. 

4. Store your stuff

You need to cater to your employees. By providing them with storage areas — such as lockers — they aren’t forced to dump all of their personal belongings at a desk. Without a storage solution people may just leave their belongings at a desk and revert to sitting in the same seat.

Company storage will ensure there isn’t any clutter, without forcing employees to bring preferred items like laptops, keyboards, or headsets to and from home every day. Plus, for those that enjoyed a space they could call their own, storage space can fill that void and gives staff a sense of control and security of their personal belongings and where they store them.

5. Be respectful of colleagues

Treat others how you want to be treated. This is an unwritten rule of life, not just good etiquette. In your hoteling workspace, a hoteling rule should be to encourage employees to respect their teammates by considering the area of the office they’re booking themselves into.

For example, if there’s a designated quiet area in the office, employees should avoid playing loud music or taking phone calls and head to a meeting room instead. This is a good hoteling rule to deploy — highlight which office areas are quiet and loud zones so employees know what to expect in the area they book a workstation.

The last thing you want is one team member causing chaos in a quiet area while others are urgently trying to get through work. In general, keep the noise down around the main office seating area.

6. Feeling unwell? Cancel the booking and stay home

Safety is the most critical aspect in the workplace, especially in the light of COVID-19. Employees want to feel safe and promoting working at a physical distance is essential when desk hoteling. But successful hotdesking begins with the employee’s personal responsibility.

An important office rule to introduce is if a staff member feels unwell, they should stay at home rather than risk infecting others in the office. It isn’t just what they can pass on by sneezing or coughing on somebody directly, but also any particles they leave behind on shared equipment or a desk without sanitizing it properly.

Along with staying home, it’s good hotdesking etiquette to have unwell employees cancel any booking they made via the office hoteling system or software. This means an empty space isn’t booked and offers another spot for a different team member to use.

7. Reserve a workspace in advance

You don’t want chaos in the office when it’s time to find a desk. If you’re going to hotdesk successfully, create a hoteling system where employees can reserve a desk in advance. 

First off, train your employees to use it. If they continue to sit where they please without booking because they can’t use the hoteling system, offer training until they can use it efficiently. You don’t want to see two employees fighting for a space because one had booked a spot and the other — who didn’t reserve a seat — arrived earlier and is now working there. There needs to be an onboarding process and everything should be outlined in your policy.

This is good hotel desk etiquette as it prevents people from booking desks that are too close to each other, keeping your office COVID-safe. With an office hoteling system like Worksphere, you can support your re-entry plans with capacity limits, where the software will enforce limits to avoid overcrowding. 

With these hotdesking etiquette tips — combined with hotel desk software — you and your team can have a safe and enjoyable return to office life. Find out more on how Worksphere can help you get back to a hybrid office.

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