Guidelines on hot-desking

In accordance with the newly published guidance from Safe Work Australia on hot desking and activity-based work arrangements Coomunga House is still available for hot-desking and office/meeting space hire.

Coomunga House is not a busy space, and we have systems in place to afford appropriate spacing and sanitisation for the people who are using this space. 

The guidance from Safe Work Australia has information on managing risks from COVID-19 when there are hot desking or other activity-based working arrangements.

The term hot desking refers to working arrangements where workers move between workspaces (desks, chairs, computers, keyboards etc.) and do not have an allocated workspace. Activity-based work arrangements refer to workers being able to flexibly use a range of different spaces, such as meeting rooms, to carry out their work.

The following are the Safe Work Australia guidelines:

Hot desking and/or activity-based working don’t necessarily need to stop, however you should stop or limit arrangements for hot desking or activity-based working if you are able to. 

Physical distancing, including between workspaces, and good hygiene practices are key controls for stopping the spread of COVID-19. If your workplace uses a hot desking arrangement, or has any arrangement such as activity-based working, where multiple users may use a workstation or other areas (such as meeting rooms), you must, in consultation with workers and their representative, consider these arrangements for the duration of the pandemic, including whether they should be stopped. You can refer to our information about COVID-19 Risk Assessments for guidance about weighing up what is reasonably practicable in the current circumstances.

If it is not reasonably practicable to cease hot desking or activity-based working arrangements, you must implement measures to minimise the risk of the spread of infection through these arrangements. For example:

  • Minimise the number of workers in the office and therefore hot desking at any one time. For example, you could consider allowing workers to work from home if possible, and stagger shift times or allow workers to work flexible hours.
  • Consider whether you can use only a limited number of desks within the workplace for hot desking and allow workers to “opt out” if they wish and use a workspace on an ongoing basis if possible, or work from home. Vulnerable persons should be provided with alternative work arrangements so they do not have to participate in hot desking.
  • Ensure workspaces (desks, chairs, landline telephones, shelves etc.) are cleaned and disinfected regularly – either at the end of the day where only one worker has used the workspace, or after each use by a worker where multiple workers are using the workspace throughout the day. You should require workers to leave workspaces free of clutter to allow cleaning to easily take place. 
  • Where possible, provide each worker with their own equipment such as keyboards and mice, so they are not shared between workers. Some equipment, such as headsets, should never be shared and should be cleaned and stored safely at the end of the worker’s shift. You can most easily avoid sharing equipment by using Bluetooth equipment, which only requires the insertion and removal of a USB connector.  
  • To enable cleaning and disinfecting of workspaces and equipment, ensure that workers have ready access to cleaning/disinfecting wipes as a minimum, as well as any other appropriate cleaning supplies. Workers should be trained in how to properly use cleaning products to ensure workspaces, equipment and common storage areas for equipment to be effectively cleaned. 
  • Place cleaning supplies in several locations throughout the workplace so workers do not congregate in one location to use them and are not deterred from looking for and using them. Require workers to wash their hands before and after using the supplies.
  • Ensure sufficient time between workspace handover to allow for cleaning and disinfecting to take place.
  • Continue to require workers to practice good hygiene, stay home if they are unwell, and comply with physical distancing. Remember, if a worker that has participated in hot desking arrangements is a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19, they must not attend the workplace.