What is a flexible workspace and what are its benefits?
Gone are the days where every employee spends all day in a stationary cubicle and has watercooler chats with their coworkers. Today, modern workspaces are adaptable, malleable, socially distanced,… flexible.
If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s that most people enjoy not being in a typical office environment. Of the people who have been working from home due to the pandemic, nine out of ten would like to keep working from home in some capacity or another. However, for the majority of companies, 100% remote working is not a viable option.
This is where flexible workspaces come in.
According to Enrico Sanna, co-founder of flexible workspace FORA, “how people get excited working from home is a failure of the office.” Many of the top corporations in the world understand this revelation and are switching to flexible workspaces. These corporations include Microsoft, Facebook, Google, Twitter, and more. So what makes flexible workspaces so great?
In essence, flexible workspaces are designed to conform to the needs of the user. For example, working at a desk in the office, or in a huddle space, office pod, or from the safety of your home office – employees are in charge of what is their workplace for the day.
But what are the tangible benefits companies will see when transforming their workspace to a flexible one?
People work best the way they’re programmed to work; not the way the company wants them to work. Therefore, flexible workspaces give employees the freedom to adapt their environment to whatever fosters their innovation. Whether an individual works best lounging on a sofa or settled in an office with other colleagues, a flexible workspace can accommodate them all.
Additionally, some of the best ideas come from teams rather than individuals. According to Forbes, “flexible spaces allow for a stronger social element to the working day.” We’ve been so used to working from an office that it took a lockdown for us to realize, that employees need something more than a formal office for them to be innovative and to think outside of the box. By interacting with co-workers in different settings than usual, we are complying with their standards of an innovative workplace.
If an employee has the ability to work from home whenever they desire, they will save time (and money) on commute. Thus, they’ll start their work on time or even a bit earlier in the morning. Oftentimes ending their workday later or finishing some minor tasks outside the “formal” work hours. Employees oftentimes feel they need to prove that work from home can be effective, and justify the flexible arrangement. This leads to many employees working harder to deliver results on time and of superior quality.
As mentioned above, fostering employee innovation is another key factor that enhances productivity. It’s not the number of ideas that drives a company to succeed, it’s the quality of the ideas. If a team is comfortable enough to be engaged in a project and engaged enough to put forward their best ideas, the project is more likely to succeed.
Real estate is too great of an asset to feature empty offices and unused meeting rooms. And without fixed desks and limited employees, businesses are paying leases for spaces that aren’t filled to their potential. With flexible workspace in place, businesses can move to smaller offices that are more optimized for keeping social distance and staying withing the health code.
By leasing smaller offices, companies can further harvest the opportunities of switching them more often. While getting out of a lease for the whole building is taunting, ending a lease for smaller offices is much easier. Not to mention how easy it is to find a suitable workspace when you don’t need the entire building.
The type of flexible workspace a company needs depends on the type of business the company runs. For example, a financial firm may receive confidential phone calls or deal with sensitive content, requiring the majority of employees to have secure cloud access and even private calls. On the other hand, a tech company like Microsoft has departments that do well in remote environments where the teammates learn everything from well-established processes and their treasure chest of documents. They can easily review documents and jump on a call for a brainstorming session (or just talk about it in MS Teams).
Typically, flexible workspaces have desks that are available on an as-needed basis. Ideally, employees can reserve and book these desks before even reaching them. Next to those desks, employees can also book huddle spaces and office pods where they can work and brainstorm in a safe environment.
Despite the informality of a flexible workspace, the implementation itself needs to be well-organized. Especially nova days, when contact tracing and social distancing is everything. Thus, there should be no ambiguity on where someone is located and who has been in contact with them.
Booking tools such as JoanDesk Booking solution, bring clarity to somewhat relaxed workplace rules. What’s more, the availability of each space can be checked from an app or a computer, empowering everyone to book a desk with their tool of choice.
Flexible workspaces offer employees the freedom to create what they need to ignite their innovation. Not to mention the cost benefits flexible workspaces can have with smart planning.
Now is a perfect time to seize the moment and transform your workspace to be more flexible, creating an environment that nurtures safety, innovation, productivity, and overall better workplace morale.
Employees with flexible workplaces have the opportunity to design whatever they need to encourage their imagination. Let’s explore the real advantages that businesses will gain by changing their workspace to a flexible one.