Surviving a Partner Desk. How to Make it Work?

More businesses are making the switch to open office spaces that encourage collaboration. This set up often relies on shared spaces, which has revived the partner desk.

A partner desk, also known as a double desk or partner’s desk, is essentially two identical desks that are fused together into one large workstation. The desk is situated so that the two workers face one another while working.

Needless to say, it’s a unique workspace that can require compromise and lots of patience at times. Sharing a partner desk with a co-worker can be a rewarding experience that helps you deepen your relationship and grow professionally. Or it can be a total nightmare. Use the tips below to survive cohabitation at work and a make the most of your partner desk situation.

Invest in Great Headphones

When we provide clients with our complimentary space planning service, we consider every factor that may affect the efficiency of employees. Noise is a serious distraction that can derail productivity. Noise canceling headphones block unwanted chatter and sounds so you can concentrate. On the flip side, you’ll want to minimize the noise you make so your deskmate doesn’t get distracted either.

Keep Conversations to a Minimum

Socializing with co-workers is a great way to build teamwork, but there is a time and place for small talk. Chatting at a partner desk can be very distracting. Try to save conversations for break times and meetings to minimize workday interruptions.

During the first few hours of the day, this rule is particularly important since this is the most productive time of day for most people. It’s what psychology and behavioral economics professor Dan Ariely calls the “golden hours”. The first few hours of the morning are the best time to perform high cognitive tasks because our focus is at its best.

Keep Clutter on Your Side

Some people think better when everything is organized and in its place. Then there are others, including Albert Einstein and Mark Twain, who work well when things are in disarray. Selling office furniture in Austin has taught our team that each person has their own system. But your system shouldn’t impede on your closest co-worker. Both deskmates need to be respectful of the other’s space even if the desks are connected.

Make a No Smelly Food Rule

Many hot foods have an aroma that could be appealing to some and appalling to others. Cold foods, on the other hand, don’t put off offensive odors. Make it a rule that smelly foods are kept to the break room area.

Share Your Schedule

Knowing your desk partner’s schedule can help you plan out the most productive workweek possible. You both can schedule work that requires extreme focus while the other is at lunch or in a meeting. You’ll also know when you have time to collaborate at the partner desk together. Put up a calendar between your desks that you can both use to sync your schedules.

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