All About Flexible Workspaces—What You Need to Know

There are many ways to design your workspace; however, the layout and design must fit your company and your employees. These days, many companies are choosing to use flexible workspaces in their modern offices.

What is a Flexible Workspace?

A flexible workspace is a type of workspace designed to provide employees with different places to work, relax, and more. Compare this to a traditional office. With a traditional office, workstations (desks) are often assigned and fixed.

Each employee must work in the same place for hours each day. However, a flexible workspace gives each employee the opportunity to choose where they would like to work. For instance, a graphic designer may need to work in a quiet place, while a team will need a more open workspace to hold a meeting.

Flexible office spaces are designed to provide employees with the space they need. Spaces can be set up to fit individuals or teams for quiet or collaboration. Employees can work when, where, and how they want.

What are the Types of Flexible Workspaces?

Flexible workspaces come in a wide variety of sizes and arrangements. Because there’s so much variety in flexible workspaces, companies of all types and sizes can find arrangements that work best for their needs.

Flexible workspaces can include any or all of the following:

Coworking spaces: these are hot desks where the workstations are not assigned. These are perfect for remote workers, traveling professionals, and more. Coworking spaces tend to be noisier, so they are not the best option for those who need a quiet work environment to focus on their tasks.

Open offices: these are offices with an open plan layout, which is flexible enough to accommodate all types of work. An open office can include space for collaboration, quiet spaces for those who work individually, and even breakout areas where employees can relax.

Hot desks: are similar to coworking spaces but are for individual workers. Hot desks can be placed all around the office and used by in-house employees, remote workers, temps, visitors, and more.

What Makes an Office Flexible?

A flexible office is based on several factors, including:

Architecture: the design of the workspace needs to accommodate the flexibility of the office. There should be plenty of space to comfortably accommodate all employees, plenty of light (including natural light), and more. If the space is too small or not conducive to a flexible office design, then employees will not be able to focus, so productivity could fall. In addition, employee health and wellbeing could also suffer if the architecture of the space doesn’t fit a flexible workspace.

Furniture: also needs to support employee comfort and wellbeing. This means desks and chairs need to be ergonomic and supportive. The office furniture may also need to be mobile and include standing desks, rolling chairs (with lumbar support), and more. When employees are comfortable and healthy, their productivity naturally increases.

Technology: a flexible space requires the right type of technology. The space must include plenty of power sockets, ethernet cords, as well as wireless connectivity. The office will also require computers, TVs, device chargers, AV carts, and more. The technology must work in each space created in the flexible office; otherwise, productivity will suffer.

Control: some fear that a flexible office solution naturally comes with chaos. Businesses can’t run efficiently and effectively if chaos reigns in the office. For this reason, flexible spaces do require some order. This may be done through rules for maintaining the space. Certain areas must be set aside for specific uses. For instance, quiet areas must be kept quiet and located away from noisier areas.

Adaptable workstations: offer agility and flexibility in a flexible workspace. These may include standing desks that can be lowered if needed or wanted. The idea is to use non-traditional workstations that can be reset to a traditional workstation if needed. This will involve investing in adaptable furniture to work in various spaces in the flexible office.

Shared amenities: a flexible office usually includes shared amenities. This means office machines and equipment can be placed in central locations, making them easier for everyone to use. This can include printers, office supplies, snacks, and more.

Benefits of a Flexible Workspace

There are a few benefits that come with a flexible workspace, including the following.

Increase employee interaction & productivity: when a shared space is created, employees are able to meet more often. This can boost an exchange of ideas and more. It’s a great way to spur innovation and help employees increase productivity.

Save money: flexible spaces generally use all the space in an office. This means no space is empty or unused. In a traditional office, there’s usually plenty of unusable space, which tends to be expensive. When a business pays rent for unused space, that’s money flying right out the window. On the other hand, with a flexible office layout, almost all the space can be utilised in some way. This way, a business saves money rather than paying out for unused space.

Employee comfort & wellbeing: when employees have the opportunity to work when, how, and as they need, their comfort and wellbeing increase. Not only that, but employees also tend to have higher job satisfaction. They also feel more independent due to the freedom they have to move around as they work on different tasks throughout the day.

How to Implement Flexible Office Space

It’s one thing to consider flexible office space, and it’s another to implement such a plan. The work environment, the type of work, and more must be considered when planning different uses of office space. Then there’s changing the office culture, which is not easy. Employees need to “buy-in” to the idea of working in a flexible office space.

This means it will be necessary to accommodate most of your employees’ needs. This can be challenging; however, it’s not impossible. For instance, make sure to set up quiet areas for those employees who prefer to work individually and in a quiet place. Many employees require a quiet space in order to focus on tasks.

In addition, consider adding meeting pods for team collaboration. Make sure these are in areas located away from those quiet zones. In addition, set up comfortable furniture in breakout areas, where employees can go to relax.

It takes some planning, but it is possible to evolve from a traditional office to a flexible workspace. Flexible workspaces are a great way to improve employee job satisfaction and wellbeing while also increasing overall productivity. Your business and employees will benefit from the flexible office space for years to come.

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