How to set up desks for a hybrid workplace

Sabrina Dorronsoro
Sabrina Dorronsoro

We all know the stress of walking in on your first day at a new job, you’re unsure of where to sit, so you stand in the lobby waiting for the office manager to show you what’s what. 

When you do get to your new desk, you don’t quite have all the tools you need to get your work done. A chunk of your day is spent pinpointing everything you need to get going. 

In a hybrid work environment, you want to reduce these moments of friction. Without traditionally assigned seats, desk setup is more important than ever. 

What to consider when setting up hybrid desks

Your team should have access to desks that are fully equipped with the tools they need to sit down and get to work. 

As hybrid work continues to gain traction, more companies are leveraging workplace experience tools that allow them to set desk policies and empower employees to book seats or conference rooms for in-office days. 

But what exactly makes one desk more bookable than another?

We took a look at the data and found that desks with 1-4 booking policies are 2 times as likely to be booked compared to those with none. 

Booking policies can be defined as a set of restrictions put in place for a given desk. For example, some desks can be sectioned off as assigned seats for regular office-goers, others could be pre-set with a policy that mandates mask-wearing in the area. 

Whatever the parameters, employees are selecting desks with clear policies in place, suggesting that setting up guidelines around desk usage actually promotes booking.

The data also showed us that desks with 5 or more amenities are 2 times as likely to be booked as those with none. 

We’ve definitely gotten used to our at-home set ups during the pandemic. Things like second screens, dongles for Apple laptops and various connectors are usually part of the package. 

Having desks with these amenities ready to go means your team members can come into the office knowing they have what they need to succeed. 

Intuitive workplace platforms let team members know which desks have what kind of equipment so employees can claim the right spot for themselves. 

Set desks up for employee success

The data led us to two key takeaways. 

1. Set up amenities so your employees know that desk will work for them. 

Do you want fixed or movable desks? Should each desk have a second screen? Does each desk need ports for both Windows and Apple computers? Workplace teams should consider these questions in beyond as they prep the office for the continued return-to-office.

2. Add booking policies so your employees know how they can use the desk. 

Teams need some guidance to feel confident making booking decisions but don't make the policies too restrictive. Employee input is key for success. Do your teams want desks assigned or reserved? Observe the data around office usage, and make decisions based on those results. 

Creating a workplace that functions as a tool for your teams is critical to building a successful hybrid workforce. Leaders need to think about what measures they can take to encourage office visits, starting with the right tools in the right place.

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