Approaching a coworker at their desk for an unscheduled chat has been dubbed “desk-bombing”.
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Offices seem to be divided on whether desk-bombing is good practice in the workplace.
Desk-bombing is the act of unexpectedly approaching someone at their desk to have a chat.
Some workers welcome it as it can be more efficient than emailing, others think it’s disruptive.
So you’re back in the office, for a couple of days a week at least. But after almost three years of silencing those Slack notifications when they get too annoying, there’s one distraction proving much more difficult to avoid: “desk-bombing”.
That’s the term for a colleague coming over to your desk for a conversation about work – or simply a casual chat. While some workers prefer doing that over sending an email or DM to a colleague, especially if they’re also in the same room, others hate the interruption to their workflow.
Insider asked five workers what they think about desk-bombing.
David Clare, a managing director at a communications agency, has been a hybrid worker for the past seven years. “One of my pet hates is desk-bombing,” he says. “The days I got to work from home were so productive, and I feel the lack of desk-bombing on those days is the reason why.”
He adds: “Since remote working has become far more commonplace, the remote equivalent – sudden, unexpected video calls – can be similar, but I feel you have a lot more control over these. You can simply ignore or decline the call, and get back to the person when you’re ready.”
George Fryer, a consultant, welcomes desk-bombing, especially in a post-pandemic world where employees are granted more freedom about where they work.
“If I choose to work in the office, then I am also choosing to open myself to being approached at my desk,” he says. “I think it’s important to be approachable when at your desk, as it helps to facilitate quick decision-making when responses are needed urgently, and helps to build relationships with co-workers.”
Amanda Wallace, a content and marketing executive, hates being desk-bombed, however. “As someone who works in content, staying focused is important, and being interrupted can often take me out of the flow state, which can be difficult to get back into.”
She adds: “I don’t mind when it’s just a quick discussion at my desk, but longer talks can be very disruptive.”
‘Gets the work done’
Dmytro Kondratiev, an attorney, says he is well-known for desk-bombing.
“While desk-bombing may be uncomfortable or aggressive to the other party, it gets the work done,” he tells Insider. “I feel like sending emails and making arrangements or inquiries by phone is not as effective as face-to-face conversations.”
Kondratiev even desk-bombed another office a few weeks ago. He sent an email requesting approval from a company but didn’t hear back. Follow-up emails also went unanswered, so he decided to desk-bomb the receptionist. “Ironically, the approval was made in less than 10 minutes.”
Another worker, who preferred to be anonymous as she didn’t want to offend colleagues, says she can see both sides. “It might catch anxious people off-guard and can be annoying if they drag out the conversation when you need to get work done,” she says. “I think people prefer different approaches.”
Jack Devlin, a commercial director from London, says desk-bombing is nothing to feel guilty about. “Since when did we expect to be left completely alone in our almost omnipresent culture of open plan offices?” he asks.
“If I never desk-bombed, I wouldn’t have made half of the friends and connections I have over my career, and would have massive knowledge gaps into the overall running of the business.”
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