Keeping the hot-desking heebie jeebies at bay


When you mention the phrase ‘hot-desking’ to office workers it can send shivers down their spines.

From a cool and calculating business perspective hot-desking can have a cost saving of up to 30%. The idea is to reduce the amount of space the company needs allowing them to have a smaller office or to utilise the space they save in a different way. It is also supposed to spark creativity by encouraging different members of staff to engage with one another and it is said to lead to a more inclusive and happier workplace.

However, from a human perspective it isn’t quite as simple as that. Research commissioned earlier this year by Brickendon found that office seating negatively impacted on the mental wellbeing of 80% of office workers. Why is that? The human animal doesn’t like change, it wants to belong and feel secure. Unfortunately, hot-desking essentially throws that out of the window.

However, there are a few ideas that office workers and their employers can implement to reduce their levels of anxiety and stress if they work in a hot-desking environment.

The right technology

Having the right technology in place will make a big difference when it comes to moving desks all the time. Ensuring staff can login easily and be connected to one another through their devices will help reduce anxiety and boost morale. If they know they can get their work completed that will make life a lot easier.

Drown out distractions

Office environments are full of distractions and with the typical office worker taking at least 23 minutes to refocus once distracted it’s essential that steps are taken to minimise distractions. Sitting in a different spot each day will bring different distractions and challenges.

Calming music and the use of binaural beats apps can help you block out distractions and stay focused on the task at hand. The ideal time to plug in is when you need to concentrate on a difficult piece of work or if you are working to a short deadline. The business can also introduce scientifically designed and algorithmically generated soundscaping technology. This can create moodscapes from calm to motivated and unlike traditional sound masking it is not a stressor to the human auditory system.

Interact with your colleagues

One of the benefits of hot-desking is meeting new colleagues. If you are an introvert this can be a challenge, however look at it as an opportunity to meet new people who could be helpful in the future.

Smile be open and make small talk. It will become easier the more you do it.

Add a few personal touches

The lack of individual personality is part of what people miss when hot-desking. Whether you have access to a locker in your workplace, or you just keep a few in things in your bag, having a few items to hand that you can personalise your workspace with can help you relax and feel more at home.

Bring the outside indoors

Just as adding a few personal touches can help you to relax and feel less stressed, plants can have a similar effect. The presence of plants in the workplace have been proven to help reduce stress, clean the air and boost productivity and creativity.

Remember to take breaks

It goes without saying that taking breaks throughout your work day is essential to maintaining your wellbeing. However, taking regular breaks throughout the day to spend some time alone is essential when you work in a hot-desking environment which typically has a lack of privacy. This gives you the perfect opportunity to de-stress, clear your head and boost your productivity levels. 


If as a business, you are considering introducing hot-desking then you really must talk to your staff. A survey can be a quick way to find out how they feel about the change. It will also flag up any potential flash points or concerns if you proceed.

So, while hot-desking may not be the ideal situation for many, by putting these simple steps into action you can help to reduce the stress and anxiety that staff feel when working in a hot-desking environment. 

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Jayne Cox

I am a wellbeing consultant for Fusion Spaces, which works alongside my private practice of Life Coaching and Stress Management Consultations. I’m passionate about helping people to thrive at work.

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