These days, many businesses are looking for ways to engage their employees, while also improving their productivity and wellbeing. As a result, companies are looking into new ways to design and layout their offices. With an ever-evolving modern workforce, it has become imperative to allow the workspace to accommodate the many ways employees work in these changing times.
This where flexible office spaces come in. Flexible workspaces can meet the changing work needs of employees, and allow changes to the space, without the need to continually renew the office furnishings and more.
What Types of Flexible Workspaces are Becoming Popular?
Flexibility in the office comes from using a variety of methods to help meet the needs and preferences of employees. These include:
- Coworking spaces: these are popular workspaces for remote workers, freelancers, professionals who travel regularly, and more. Coworking spaces are great for collaborative efforts, team building and more.
- Hot desks: these are desks made available to individual employees. These are used to help remote workers, temps, visitors, as well as in-house staff, all of whom don’t have a fixed workstation.
- Open offices: this type of office has an open floor plan, that can quickly be adapted for the job at hand. For instance, if employees need to collaborate on a project, they can move their desks and other office furnishings together. When they’re finished, office furniture and furnishings can be placed back in their original spots.
These are ways a flexible office can accommodate the needs of today’s modern workforce.
What Makes a Flexible Office?
It takes more than just moveable office furnishings to make a workplace more flexible. A flexible office generally includes the following:
Moveable furniture: including desks, chairs, tables, and more. These are essential pieces that employees need for their individual workstations. Along with being movable, office furniture must also be ergonomic in design, as well as easily movable. You may find standing desks, rolling chairs and more in a flexible office setting.
Architecture: design and layout of an area also comes into play with a flexible office. Spaces may be small or large, but they must provide space needed by employees for collaborative efforts. In addition, the space should have lots of natural light and make everyone comfortable.
Technology: to make all employees able to be flexible, a business needs to make sure the technology allows employees to move around as needed. Technology may include the use of:
- Additional power outlets
- Ethernet cords
- Device chargers
- AV carts
- And more
It’s impossible to move around if an employee needs to charge their device, and there aren’t enough power outlets nearby. In addition, computers should be transportable, which means it may be necessary to use laptops, rather than heavy, large desktop computers. Everything needs to be about mobility and flexibility, even when it comes to technology needed to work.
Control & rules: even in flexible areas, rules are necessary to keep everything from devolving into chaos. For example, after things are moved back, it may be necessary to clean up afterwards. This may include wiping down surfaces and more. There may also need to be rules on wearing scents. People who are sensitive or allergic to scents may quickly become sick when everyone moves around, and they end up near another person wearing a lot of perfume or other types of scents. These are examples of the types of rules that are necessary to keep everyone happy and healthy in a flexible workspace.
Agility: just as flexible workspaces need to be easy to move, they must be easy to turn back into the usual arrangement. It should only take a few minutes to put everything back. In addition, each piece should be easy to move and not too heavy for employees to manage easily.
Benefits of a Flexible Workspace
So, what are the benefits of a flexible workspace? It’s more than just creating environments where employees are comfortable, happy and productive.
1). It creates a connected culture: employees tend to stay connected with one another and find it easier to collaborate when they have a flexible work area. They also feel like they have a little more control over the environment, which has been proven to make personnel happier, satisfied and more engaged with their work.
2). Sense of belonging: for those who work remotely, or temps, freelancers and visitors working in the office, a flexible office helps increase their sense of belonging. They no longer feel like the “aliens” in the office. Instead, they are included in the office arrangements, and work in the same spaces with everyone else.
3). Increase creativity & motivation: a flexible office has also been shown to increase both creativity and motivation. Each employee is an individual and working in a cookie-cutter environment isn’t always conducive to creativity and motivation. With more flexibility in the office layout, employees gain a sense of control over their environment and feel empowered to work in ways that are best for them. Plus, a flexible office design helps shake up employees’ normal routine, so work isn’t boring.
4). Makes collaboration easier: flexible offices also make it much easier for employees to collaborate together. This type of office layout makes it easier to get together, right down to moving the office furniture to create larger work areas, a meeting space and more.
5). Cost-effective office space: when your workspace is flexible, it’s a great way to save on rental of a larger space, or individual offices. One space can do the duty of several offices and/or meeting rooms. And office furnishings can also do double duty, cutting down on the need for additional office furniture for specialised uses, such as meetings, and more. So, the business can save money by not having to rent a larger space than needed, while giving employees the ability to move around as they need.
Summing It Up
Both the business and the employees reap the benefits of a flexible office space. Not only does this type of office encourage collaboration, it also works to increase employee satisfaction, engagement and productivity. The business saves money, while enjoying improved creativity and productivity from personnel. The flexible office is a win-win for everyone in the company.