The way we work has undergone huge changes, with many employees requesting more flexible workspaces at the office. Flexible office spaces are becoming a huge trend in offices. The trend is considered one of the largest changes to office spaces in about a century.
But what exactly is a flexible office space? What type of business benefits the most from flexible spaces? Is this a trend that will work for your office?
In this guide, we’ll take a look at what flexible office spaces are and answer the questions we just raised!
What are Flexible Office Spaces?
Flexible office spaces are all about modern trends in office design and layout. They offer employees a variety of workspaces, as well as ways to work. Think of the traditional office. Each employee has their own workstation (desk & chair in most offices), and this is the place that’s assigned to them. An employee must work at their own desk for the majority of the day.
With a flexible office space, however, employees have more choice in where and how they work. Each employee is given a chance to work in an area where they’re more productive. This is great because some employees may have more productive when working alone, while others work better in a more collaborative environment. A flexible office space has the ability to accommodate all types of personalities and work preferences by providing different spaces for employees to work.
Flexible offices can also help the business by taking advantage of unused space in the office. With a flexible office space, most of the space is used in some way. That small “pod-like office” could become a privacy pod for phone calls, for instance. All of a sudden, the small office becomes a popular place to hold phone calls when quiet and uninterrupted time is required.
In addition, flexible office spaces make it easier for employees with a flexible working schedule. Employees may be working remotely, working non-traditional office hours, working part-time, or even staggered hours. Flexible office spaces are a great option for these employees. Rather than having an assigned desk, they can work in a flexible office space specifically set aside for these employees.
Different Types of Flexible Workspaces
How does a company go about creating flexible workspaces? The whole thing may sound like chaos; however, it’s possible to have some structure with flexible workspaces. You can accomplish structure by creating specific work zones, including:
Coworking space: this is a collaborative workspace that’s perfect for teams working on projects. This might also be a space used for remote workers, traveling employees, visitors, and more.
Open offices: this is the open office floor plan that many of us are familiar with already. This space can also be collaborative or divided up into specific workspaces.
Hot desks: these are spaces that are available on an as-needed basis for individual employees. They can be placed anywhere there’s space for a desk. These can be used by employees who come to work each day, remote workers, temps, and more.
Quiet zones: these are areas that are marked as quiet spaces. Here, employees can enjoy a quiet place to work. This is the perfect spot for people who are distracted by noisy work environments. These spaces are also helpful for those who do work that requires more privacy.
Breakout areas: these are perfect spaces where employees can get away from their work and relax. Breakout areas can also be used as a meeting space, a place to eat lunch, and more.
What are the Features of a Flexible Office Space?
Flexible office spaces have different requirements when it comes to features and fitting out the spaces. To make a workspace flexible, many businesses include the following:
Architecture: needs to support the space and its use. Flexible workspaces need plenty of natural light, as well as space that’s built for the humans who work there. What’s more, a smaller space should not be cramped with too many employees, while larger areas should offer plenty of space for easy collaboration.
Technology: is an essential element of a flexible office space. Employees need the right tools to get their work done and stay productive. For instance, laptops, rather than desktop computers, enable workers to have more flexibility in where they work. This means a strong network will be necessary to support employees wherever they’re working, whether in the office or remotely. In addition, workspaces will require plenty of power sockets, ethernet cords, WiFi, plasma screens, and everything needed to make it easier and more comfortable for employees to work anywhere in the space.
Furniture: in a flexible space, furniture needs to support employees. This means ergonomic chairs, desks, tables, and more. Furniture may also need to be mobile, depending on how the flexible space is set up. For example, a collaborative workspace may double as a meeting room. In this space, desks may need to be pushed together to create a conference table. Dividers can also be used to help a space do double duty.
Are Flexible Workspaces Chaotic?
With all the freedom to move and work in different areas, doesn’t this just create chaos in the workplace? It is possible for a flexible workspace to become chaotic; however, with the right setup and implementation, a flexible workspace can be quite organised and productive.
For instance, it’s possible to set up a reservation system for specific areas that may have a lot of traffic. This may include a meeting room or quiet, individual workspaces. With the right technology, employees can book a spot ahead of time. Having a reservation system means employees won’t stress over whether or not a quiet workspace will be available or not. The booking system provides them with the reassurance the space will be available and ready when they need it.
What’s more, this same booking system can be applied to other areas of the flexible office space. The same tech can be used to book a meeting room, a seat in the collaborative space, and more. The system can also be set up to show when specific rooms or spaces are open, allowing for last-minute reservations.
This is one way to keep the flexible office space from becoming too chaotic.
Flexible workspaces are an essential tool that businesses can use to increase employee satisfaction and productivity. With the changing office space, allowing employees the flexibility to work where and as they prefer can also cut down on employee turnover rates.
Not only that, but a flexible workspace is a great way to take advantage of unused space and keep costs down. Flexible workspaces can be a huge asset to companies that take the plunge into this modern, adaptable workplace.