While we often talk about how culture and management are becoming more flexible and employee centric, it also impacts our physical work environment. Our traditional workspaces are turning into flexible office spaces. What does it mean, and what does it look like in reality? How can companies ensure these new agile workspaces fulfill workers' needs? With the development of flexible work arrangements, people are used to plugging their laptops in the locations that suit them best. When coming on-site, they expect the same working conditions. Hybrid teams see the office as a place to focus on collaborative tasks, maintain a workplace connection and socialize with their colleagues. As the office and its role is being made over, it’s the right time to talk about the key characteristics of a flex office.
The meaning of flexible office space in a nutshell
The idea behind a flexible office space
The main objective of flexible office space is to build an environment that is more than a place where employees gather and get their work done. The goal is also to create a professional setting that matches their needs, fosters a positive employee experience, and boosts productivity. Because of their various roles and responsibilities, each of your staff members might have different requirements.
Moreover, the expansion of remote work highlighted the benefits of working in an environment that fulfils certain expectations. Therefore, rethinking the office is fundamental to providing your employees with working conditions that are as great as when they work from home or a third workplace.
The design and structure of an agile workspace
To adjust to employees' expectations, work schedules as well as our physical working environments become more flexible. For some workers, office days mean collaborative work. But for others, having access to quiet zones where they can focus alone is essential. People require different types of workspaces according to their tasks, personalities, and mood (yes, we all have those days when we don't feel like interacting). The layout of flexible office space relies on this idea. Forget about cubicles and an huge room full of single desks. This does not work for everybody, nor does it make people thrive. An agile workspace offers a versatile setup, including collaborative zones, quiet areas, spots to socialize and relax, and hot desking areas.
The benefits of a flex office
Because a flex office focuses on your workforce’s needs, it also increases employee satisfaction and productivity. For example, when a team starts a new project, they’ll first meet in a communal area for a brainstorming session. They’ll then split and use the quiet zones to work individually on their tasks. Later, they’ll book a meeting room to share their findings and discuss the next steps. This is how a physical working environment adapts to workers’ needs and boosts their productivity.
Moreover, this type of office setup helps companies reduce bills. An organization may rent flexible office space or redesign its workspace to maximize employees' productivity. Whatever option you choose, this concept enables businesses to adjust the workplace size to the number of people coming on-site and decrease their real estate and energy costs.
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How do you create an agile workspace that reflects your culture and employees' needs?
Choose an office layout that focuses on improving the employee experience and productivity
Although hybrid teams spend less time on-site than office workers, it is still a core pillar for employee experience and productivity. To improve employee experience in the office, you have to get their opinions. Sending them an employee satisfaction questionnaire related to this particular topic is an effective way to do so. Once you’ve gathered all their feedback, build a tailor-made office that answers the needs of your workforce. By providing them with the workspace types they require, you show them that their well-being is important and ensure they can perform their job in the best conditions.
Make sure all hybrid employees have access to the workspace they need
Improving the office by offering various types workspaces helps your coworkers to perform better. However, how do you ensure they always have access to the working spot they need? What do you do if most of your hybrid team members decide to come on-site on Monday and there is no desk available for all of them? Situations like scheduling conflicts can have the opposite effect of what a flexible office is supposed to achieve. Employees get frustrated and end up working in an environment that is not the most suitable for accomplishing their tasks. But, technology can help you solve these issues!
Create an office environment that mirrors your corporate culture
When designing your new layout, focusing on creating an environment that reflects your workplace culture and the values you endorse is essential. Reshaping your office to make it more flexible and employee-centric promotes a people-first culture. Remember that your office is the physical manifestation of your values and vision. You can’t claim to be an innovative and future-proof organization without providing your employees with modern technology and by sticking to the old ways of working.
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Technology is a key resource for managing a flexible office space
An analytics collecting tool to optimize the office space and save costs
With your employees' permission, technology provides you with valuable data about your workplace and how it is being used. This resource helps you study your office use, your areas of improvement, and cost optimization. Thanks to workplace analytics, for instance, you can see which parts of your office are the most used and booked (if you use a hot desking system). You can also clearly understand whether or not the physical work environment answers your workers’ needs. If almost nobody comes on-site, or if they do and only use meeting rooms, a makeover of the office might be necessary.
A weekly planning solution to stay organized and efficient
With a hybrid workforce and a flexible office space, keeping track of who is working where and when is a must. If you don’t, you might end up with scheduling conflicts and other problems to solve. This is not great for employee satisfaction or experience. The best solution is to adopt an online weekly planning resource. It allows you to quickly check which of your colleagues is in the office on which day. If your team agrees, you can make the calendars visible to everyone so they can also benefit from it. Let’s say Karen has to work on a presentation with Chris next Tuesday and he is at the office that day. By seeing his weekly planning, she might come on-site on the same day so they can discuss it in person.
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Desk booking software to manage flexible office space successfully
Are you wondering how to embrace flexible work smoothly? Desk booking software is THE technology to use when creating a flexible office space. It enables your employees to book the working spot they need in a few clicks and contains many great features, including the two mentioned above. Well, our deskbird app does. 😎