Hot desk with harmony

The concept of using a ‘hot desk’ office system is popular in Europe and is catching on across the US. Hot desking is the sharing of office desk space between two or more employees. Most commonly when a full time position is shared by part time employees, but it could also be because of shift work, to save money or to save space. Some companies even adopt a hot desk workspace to encourage new interactions between staff, sort of a ready made networking solution to build new contacts without sending the team away on a team building exercise. If the manager is also in on the moving around, they get to see staff in a different way and can gauge the team interactions and changing dynamics. It can be stressful so we’re looking at ways to compromise and work together in hot desking harmony.


  1. track changes copyTrack changes if you are co-authoring the same document. When you are contributing to the same document, take advantage of the ‘track changes’ feature when word processing so that you effectively give a ‘handover’ of your progress which can be quickly reviewed as your colleague takes over. Even more important than the text that has been added, if text has been changed (deleted) it can be seen and either accepted or challenged.

It’s easy to access and to explore the options – click on review -> track changes or click in the editing box on a google doc and track changes.

  1. It takes compromise, learning to understand that you no longer take ownership of the desk as maybe you have been used to. That means cutting down on the personal photos, books for lunchtime reading and no longer leaving your snacks in the desk. It’s easy to see that the office takes on a more business like (generic) appearance which can be an attractive proposal especially if customers visit the office.
  1. hotdesk with wireless keyboard and mouseA wireless keyboard and mouse for each person minimizes setup time.
  1. Have a daily routine of cleaning down and sanitizing the desk area ready for the next person.
  1. Set up a clear hierarchy of files for those which are shared by everyone and those which are personal. (For instance on the server set up a folder structure where it is obvious who should be accessing the data held there and protect the content with passwords if applicable)
  1. The desk doesn’t necessarily give the privacy you need sometimes to deal with a personal (or personnel) matter, sometimes you need silence to focus or brainstorm, for these occasions the office should have a quiet meeting room that you are able to borrow.
  1. This works best when mobile phones are used for inter-office communication as it can be difficult to pin down employees to a particular extension if they are moving around. If part time workers are sharing a desk for the same role, the traditional extensions may still work out. When email is the preferred communication, hot-desking has few pitfalls.
  1. Little gestures go a long way – a bowl of mints or candy to share will literally sweeten the desk area :-)
  1. Passing through the area and knowing someone else will also use it automatically de-clutters the space and discourages papers being left around. Keep a clear tray of ‘work to do’ and write ‘handover’ notes where required.
  1. Security – beware the temptation of scribbling passwords on notes inside drawers or under the keyboard.


For more ideas on smart ways to manage your online presence, contact us today

Spring Clean your work space

It’s that time of year and as good a time as any to tackle your desk and desktop. Here are some easy spring cleaning tips to make your work space and desktop a more productive area.


The inevitable first step is to clear out the obvious papers, receipts, notes, broken pens and other debris that has built up. It will be easier to work, less stressful and easier to keep clean.

Business cards

If you ran out of cards a few months ago, or worse, if you have scribbled your new phone number over the ones you have left, get some new ones ordered. Put them in a prominent place on your desk so you remember to give them out to new contacts and they think to ask for them when they’re introduced.

For business cards you have collected and need revisiting,  reach out online, make sure you plug in the names to your social media networks (like LinkedIn, Google+)

Eliminate duplicates

Shortcuts in more than one place will lead to confusion down the line when they need updating.

Ancient links

If you are new to the job or haven’t clicked into shortcuts for months, don’t assume they can be deleted now. They could be only relevant at tax time or when you’re contacting the vendors for the annual office party. Create an ‘archive’ folder and move the links there. When you’re sure they are no longer required (when you never have need to go into that folder), you’ll have more confidence to clear them up.


collageAlways attaching the same group of pictures? Put them into a collage. It looks more professional and you’ll never miss one by accident. Along the same lines, if you’re sending out attachments with random names (like DCS00876.jpg), rename them now to organize your files and present a better first impression for your contacts.

Process and Procedures

For hard copies of documents, check you have the latest version. If you can’t find a print date or latest update, go to the master of the document and add version number or edited date fields then reprint so you know you are working from the correct source. Similarly, if you have scribbled over your notes to update a process or procedure, get the master updated so your colleagues (or your successor) will also benefit.


spring clean your desk1Look around at what makes you smile … would you like a more up to date photograph or a motivational quote? Do you want to brighten things up with some colored paper / highlighters / cool stationery? Making sure you have what you need can also be fun, a place for everything and everything in its place but maybe you have unique paperclips or a stamp to mark when you have processed an invoice.


Other ideas which might work for you:

  • color code
  • add a tray or basket for ‘pending’ or ‘in progress’
  • have a designated area for outerwear / bags, make that your ‘personal space’ so your desk appears professional
  • use a cutlery drawer or simple dividers to manage your stationery or tools
  • before you leave your office, make sure it looks the way you want to find it the next day. Once routine, this will be your path to leaving the office on time and not falling into the trap of ‘just cramming in one last thing’ when your mind is already on dinner.

If you’re ready for a bigger change, contact us today