16 May, 2017

Hot-Desking Horrors

Sitting survey 2017: UK Businesses failing health needs of office staff.

(Taken from

90% of  employees  believe they should be more active at the workplace

32% of line managers are aware of the health risks of sedentary workers

Protective about your workspace?

What Exactly IS hot-desking?

(from the Cambridge Dictionary)

hot-desk verb [ I ]

UK  /ˌhɒtˈdesk/  US /ˌhɑːtˈdesk/  uk

  • to work at whatever desk and computer is available in an office

(How do you feel about hot-desking? Do you love the thrill of the unknown – a new day, a new desk? Or do you loathe the thought of having to lug your belongings around to a new desk each day which could be covered in germs left behind by previous users? It’s unlikely the mouse is clean and who knows what those bits are in between the keyboard keys…

Well, that’s not the only risk you’re taking! There seems to be a rising trend of hot-desking these days and you may not have thought about the negative effects it’s having on your back.

Why is hot-desking risky for your back?

Moving from desk to desk each day means that your desk is not set up to suit you. Any specific preferences you have, like a foot stool, or a particular type of mouse might not be available when your desk changes so often.

Like many others you may not know how to correct the dodgy desk you find yourself at, or if you do, it may not be on the top of the priority list at 9am to try to ergonomically set up your desk for the day.

But it should be! If your desk is poorly set up your posture will reflect that. Bad posture for 8 hours (or more) a day will take its toll on your spine and significantly increase your risk of experiencing back pain or of injuring your back.


So how do you set up your desk?

You may laugh… But we’ve seen worse!


Here are some key areas to address when adjusting your workstation.

  • Chair height – your feet should be flat on the floor (or on a footrest if necessary) and your knees slightly lower than the level of your hips, so your thighs slope downwards. Your forearms should also comfortably rest on your desk with your shoulders relaxed down.
  • Sit back in your chair – sit with your hips as far back as they can go in the chair and with your shoulder blades against the back of the chair.
  • Sit close to the desk – bring your chair as close to your desk as possible to avoid reaching forwards and rounding your upper back.
  • Monitor height – Your computer screen should be adjusted so that the top part of the screen is at eye level. If you need to, place your monitor on a book to get it to the correct height.
  • Mouse & keyboard – bring them close to you so that you can comfortably type and use the mouse while your elbows are at your side. The same goes for any other items you would frequently use such as the telephone.

Give these tips a try, or Watch this video for a visual demonstration.  Happy hot-desking!

Dr Emma Kenton is a Chiropractor at Backspace Chiropractic Fitness in Clapham. To book a consultation with her, click this link to book online or call 0203 1512345, or email

Dr Emma Kenton