Desk Sharing: Pros and Cons

Desk sharing pros and cons

We all like to have our own space when it comes to working, so the idea of desk sharing with others is not always accepted with an open mind. However, since many businesses have shifted to hybrid work, overall workspace occupancy hardly reaches total capacity in offices with the traditional assigned desk system. Companies face serious underutilization and high maintenance costs due to a higher number of employees working remotely. Thus desk-sharing was born as a way of using unused space better.

To share or not to share? That is the question many companies worldwide are asking themselves before implementing a desk sharing system. If you’re one of them, maybe these main pros and cons will help you decide:

Pros of Desk Sharing Policy

Saves office space and lowers utilization costs

Desk sharing at work is an effective way for businesses to use less office space and invest in fewer desks, which can reduce business expenses by up to 30%, depending on various factors. This not only translates to substantial savings on real estate expenses but also minimizes overhead costs associated with maintenance, utilities, and furnishings. Moreover, by consolidating desk usage, organizations can streamline resources and allocate funds toward other critical areas of development, ultimately enhancing overall financial efficiency and competitiveness.

Helps to attract and retain talent

You are more likely to attract talent if your workplace is current with workplace trends and expectations. And giving your employees the flexibility to work where and when they want helps you retain your current staff. In today’s competitive job market, prospective employees are increasingly drawn to organizations that prioritize modern workplace trends and offer flexible work arrangements. By adopting desk sharing initiatives, businesses demonstrate their commitment to adaptability and employee-centric policies, which can significantly enhance their appeal to potential candidates. Moreover, providing employees with the freedom to choose their work environment fosters a sense of autonomy and empowerment, leading to higher job satisfaction and increased retention rates.

Enables flexibility for employees

The hybrid work model and desk sharing are well-known for giving employees more freedom, flexibility, and the opportunity to manage their own work-life balance more effectively. The hybrid work model, coupled with desk sharing, empowers employees with the freedom to choose where they work, enhancing productivity and job satisfaction. 

Creates collaboration among coworkers

Sharing desks encourages social office culture, new connections, and collaborations. When employees have assigned desks, they work with the same people, but desk sharing creates new cooperation opportunities and expands knowledge. By mingling with different colleagues in varied work environments, employees are exposed to diverse perspectives and skill sets, sparking new ideas and initiatives. This cross-pollination of talents enhances problem-solving capabilities and cultivates a sense of camaraderie and mutual support within the organization. Furthermore, desk sharing facilitates knowledge exchange and best practices, as employees share insights and expertise across teams and departments.

Creates equality between employees

Desk sharing at work promotes greater networking and more close relationships both horizontally and vertically. It reduces workplace hierarchy and promotes networking at all levels. Furthermore, individuals in decision-making positions benefit from a better understanding of their employees. Desk sharing fosters a culture of equality among employees, breaking down traditional barriers and promoting inclusivity within the workplace. By adopting desk sharing practices, organizations create a level playing field where all employees have equal access to working space resources, regardless of their hierarchical position within the company.

Cons of Desk Sharing

Loss of privacy and personal space for employees

Because there are no assigned desks, employees may perceive their workplace as less personalized. When an office loses its personality, it can become alien, affecting company culture and people’s sense of belonging to the company. Moreover, the loss of privacy may hinder concentration and productivity, as employees may feel exposed or distracted in shared work areas.

Creates challenges for support and IT infrastructure

The company may need to invest in additional IT resources to support the technology required for seamless desk sharing, such as hot desking systems or cloud-based storage solutions. Moreover, managing the logistics of desk reservations and ensuring employees have access to necessary equipment and software can strain support resources. IT infrastructure must be robust enough to handle the increased network connectivity and security demand in a shared workspace environment.

Takes employees longer to get settled and work

When people are not guaranteed their own desk, they may waste time looking for an available desk and then arranging their belongings to their liking. This initial delay in settling into their work environment can lead to inefficiencies and productivity losses, particularly during peak hours when workspace availability may be limited.

Can increase distractions at work

Increased distraction can occur for a variety of reasons, ranging from teams having to collaborate while sitting in different parts of the office to people introducing themselves to colleagues they have never sat with before. The fluid nature of desk sharing may result in frequent interruptions to workflow as employees navigate new seating arrangements and interact with different coworkers.

May trigger an inner germaphobe

Desk sharing means more people and germs, which may make your employees uncomfortable. With more individuals utilizing shared working spaces, there is an increased likelihood of exposure to germs and bacteria, which can be unsettling for some employees. Make sure your company has ample antibacterial cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer!

Desk sharing

Now you know the pros and cons of desk sharing at work, and if it’s still challenging to decide whether to implement this practice in your company, these 6 tips will help you make informed decisions and ensure a successful transition.

  1. Evaluate office space
    Assessing the available office space is an essential first step in determining whether workspace sharing is viable for a company. If space is limited, providing every employee with a dedicated desk may not be possible. Desk sharing can optimize the available working space, reduce clutter, and create a more efficient work environment. It is essential to consider the number of employees and the office space size to determine the best strategy.

  2. Analyze work patterns

    Analyzing employees’ work patterns is crucial to determine if they need a dedicated desk. It is essential to consider the frequency of employees’ office attendance and their work requirements to determine the most effective strategy. If many employees work remotely or come in only a few days a week, sharing desks may be a good fit.

  3. Consider cost savings
    Implementing desk sharing can be a cost-effective solution for companies that want to optimize their use of office space. Providing every employee with a dedicated desk can be expensive, especially if office space is limited. It is essential to weigh the potential cost savings of implementing hot-desking against providing every employee with a dedicated desk. Desk sharing can help reduce costs, and companies can use the saved resources to invest in other business areas.

  4. Solicit employee feedback
    Asking employees for feedback on their workspace needs and preferences is essential in determining if desk sharing is a good fit. Employee feedback can help companies understand their needs and preferences and tailor the strategy accordingly. Some employees may prefer having a dedicated desk, while others may be open to the idea of desk sharing.

  5. Explore hybrid work arrangements
    Desk sharing can be a good fit for companies implementing hybrid work arrangements, where employees split their time between working in the office and remotely. In such arrangements, not all employees need a dedicated desk, and sharing desks can help optimize the use of office space. It is essential to consider the company’s work culture, the nature of employees’ work, and their preferences to determine the best desk sharing strategy.


  6. Plan for implementation
    Before implementing desk sharing, creating a clear plan for how it will work is crucial. The plan should include scheduling, cleaning protocols, expectations for employees, and the management of shared resources. One of the solutions for managing desk sharing is to use a desk booking system. Employees can reserve the desk in advance and ensure that desks are available when needed. Planning for implementation with a desk booking solution will ensure a smooth transition and help avoid potential issues that may arise during the process.

The rise of hybrid work arrangements has led many businesses to adopt desk sharing. This practice does have some significant benefits, such as the ability to save space and money. But it also has drawbacks, like a tendency to create more disruption. But every company should identify the best desk sharing practice for itself and its employees according to the company culture, values, and strategy.

If your company decides to adopt the desk sharing policy, we will gladly help you make it happen.

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