The new office etiquette: Desk bombing – yay or nay?

Office culture has certainly changed since the 2020 pandemic pushed work forces to work remotely. Some have returned to the workplace as they were before, many have remained working remotely or moved to a hybrid arrangement. One thing is for sure, a multitude of new terms have appeared over the last few years to describe different employee behaviours!

In this episode of the Revitalise & Grow podcast we look at one term in particular, ‘Desk bombing’. Offices seem to be divided on whether desk bombing is good practice in the workplace, so we discuss exactly what it is and whether we encourage it or disapprove!

Man being desk bombed

What is Desk bombing?

If you need to talk to a colleague at work, do you send them an email or hop on over to their desk to catch them?

Desk bombing is the term used when a colleague shows up at your desk unannounced, for a conversation you weren’t expecting, or were not prepared for.

Some may argue how something that was once an expected part of everyday office life has even become a buzzword! But for others, it can be attributed to changes in working practices and preferences since returning to the office following the pandemic. Some workers welcome it as it can be more efficient (and perhaps more enjoyable) than emailing, whilst others hate the interruption to their workflow.

Do not disturb sign on door


Desk bombing – yay or nay?

Face-to-face interaction plays a crucial role in building employee relationships, collaboration, and communication, which all adds positively to a pleasant working environment and office culture. So perhaps desk bombing should be encouraged!

Of course, there should be rules and etiquette when it comes to effective desk bombing. If someone looks engrossed in their work, super focused, or stressed, it would be best to leave them to it and come back another time. This is also an advantage of desk bombing over telephoning as you can see how busy your colleague is!

If you know your reason for desk bombing may lead to a lengthy conversation or they’re going to need to prepare for what you’d like to discuss, it would be good etiquette to ask them if they may be free later (or even better, perhaps they could chat over a coffee).

Colleagues chatting


Desk bombing isn’t the only buzz word defining our evolving world of work, here’s some more:

Quiet quitting

The 2023 Global Culture Report suggests the pandemic led to two-thirds of employees reflecting on the work they do and re-evaluating the personal pros and cons of their employment. Quiet quitting doesn’t actually refer to quitting a job, but doing the minimum of what’s required within a job role, without going above and beyond or bringing work home after hours.

Loud leaving

Perhaps not what you might initially think it is, loud leaving is when an individual, particularly someone in a managerial position, intentionally and visibly leaves the workplace, leading by example that it’s ok to take a break or leave the office at a reasonable time.

Career cushioning

This refers to those being proactive about career prospects to soften the blow should anything go wrong with their current job. This could be updating their LinkedIn profile, making an extra effort with their network of connections, or evaluating their ideal next role and working on a plan to get there.

Monk mode

This is a productivity hack that involves working solely on one task with focus and discipline, whilst cutting out distractions. Those looking to achieve ‘monk mode’ in the office, will definitely not appreciate a desk bomb!

Whilst these may seem like ‘buzz words’ they can all play an important role in your company’s culture. The most successful companies adopt a company culture that motivates employees and encourages them to flourish. This is where an effective internal communications campaign can make a real difference in influencing positive changes in company culture and exciting employees.

We want to make sure you have time to make your internal communication strategy a priority, which is why we’ve done the hard work for you by creating a free and easy to use, effective template for your business. Or for further advice on internal communications drop us a line at hello@adpr.co.uk