How best to support desk sharing

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While as an employee there are certain equates that help be a good co-worker in desk sharing, there are other changes that are best handled by the company. This article explores such best practices in supporting desk sharing.

Approach 1: Pairing individuals with different schedules

The first best practice with facilitating desk sharing is to ensure that the employees that you are pairing together are on different schedules. This may sound obvious, but especially in situations where employees can decide their own schedules, it is easy to overlook the need for coordination. If you already know your employee preferences, then taking this into account when allocating desks can go a long way to offset potential issues down the road.

Approach 2: Enforcing policies and norms that best support desk sharing

Another important way of supporting share-desking is to actively encourage or enforce norms that make for a better working environment. For example, one common complaint with share desks is items being left out overnight. Keeping on top of this, ensuring that employees put away their personal material can help ensure that the environment is productive for everyone sharing the office. 

Approach 3: Providing space to store work and personal material

Another aspect that is important for employers to consider with shared desking is the storage arrangements. The storage needs may scale with the number of people sharing a desk – potentially requiring upgrades from situations where only one person was using the office. Upgrading the shelves and cabinets (with locks to keep personal items safe) is important to keep a clean and clear office.

Approach 4: Different computer log-ins

Another component of a successful share-desking environment is ensuring that employees have separate computer log-ins (or entirely separate machines). Having someone else’s work and programs intermingled with your own can be both distracting (potentially leading to lost work), and also may be an issue for both privacy and confidentiality.

Approach 5: Laptop docks

Alternatively, if employees are using individual laptops, it is important that the shared desk has equipment that can easily be connected. This may involve docks with connected equipment making it easier for employees to connect their laptops to a charger, screen, and computer mice.

Final thought: Monitoring the share-desk environment

A final component of ensuring a successful share-desk environment is to monitor potential issues with the implementation. There may be initial teaching issues associated with the rollout. Identifying and addressing these issues can help keep employees happy with having to share their desk with a colleague.