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Managing Desking Expectations in Hybrid Work

office desk setup
Belynda Cianci
Published on

The density and seating requirements of your newly-hybrid work program should lead any policy-making around space expectations. Calculating your office space utilization for expected daily head-count, percentage of private vs. community seating, etc. will inform desk assignment and serve as the framework for decisions about who gets private or assigned space.

This data can also serve as part of your change narrative for communicating with staff. 

Beyond density, employee surveys can help you understand staff desires as they move into the hybrid work model. For instance, you may learn the majority of your staff wishes to work fully-remote, or in a distributed co-working space. Knowing your staff’s intentions can make creating policies and norms much easier. 

Need help creating a survey? Check out our flexible work policy survey template to get started.

Start change messaging early

When implementing a change management plan for hybrid work, leave nothing to the imagination. Communicate the specifics early and often, and be explicit in what impacts the hybrid model will have. Find opportunities within your corporate communication to receive employee buy-in and set expectations: 

  • Be specific about who receives dedicated space in the office and what criteria are used in the assignments.
  • Explain changes that will take place in the office setting to accommodate hybrid work. For instance, if a once-dedicated desking area will convert to hot or hoteled desks, give seating specifics and change-over dates. 
  • Set specific criteria and norms for hybrid meetings—decide which events should remain virtual versus requiring in-person attendance. 

Help by creating great WFA opportunities

When moving to hybrid work, acknowledge that by nature, people are inclined to cling to what they know—including the security of a dedicated space. While setting clear expectations about who does and doesn’t get assigned space, you can also ease the transition by giving hybrid employees the best possible work experience.

  • Consider offering stipends for home office equipment and resources to get employees set up for success. 
  • Build a tech stack that makes your hybrid work experience feel “just like being there,” and consider a desk booking system for a seamless experience when visiting the office.  
  • Build a hybrid meeting culture that creates parity between the in-office and remote experience. Look for ways to ensure your hybrid staff feels connected to the mission and to their colleagues. 

Ready to take your company hybrid? Check out resources to smooth the transition in our Robin Return content hub. 

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Return to Office Report 2024