Flexible work arrangements have not only impacted our ways of working. They have also deeply changed the role of the physical workplace. Traditional workspaces turn into flexible office spaces. What does a flex workspace look like in reality, and why is it important to adapt your office layout?
People no longer come on-site to work on individual tasks. They book a desk to meet with their colleagues, collaborate on group projects, socialize, and bond with their teammates. On top of reducing seat occupancy, remote work has also created a shift in the purpose of the office. As the way we perform our jobs is evolving, so is our relationship with the location we open our laptops.
Moreover, many businesses have realized over the last couple of years the impact of office design on performance. Therefore, creating a thriving work environment is now considered a core aspect of boosting employee experience, satisfaction, and productivity.
Here is a complete guide to creating a modern office space that is versatile and people-centric. From best practices to the most valuable technology, we share with you key recommendations to be all set to manage this new workspace efficiently and successfully.
What is a flexible office space?
The idea behind a flexible office space
The main objective of flexible office space is to build a workspace 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 evolving in an environment that answers workers’ needs. Therefore, rethinking the office is fundamental to providing your employees with working conditions 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 becomes more flexible, and so do our physical working environments. For some people, office days mean collaborative work. But for others, having access to quiet zones where they can focus alone remains essential. Team members require different types of workspace according to their tasks, personalities, and mood of the day (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 endless room full of single desks. It’s not working for everybody, nor does it make workers 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 flexible workspace
Because a flex office answers your workforce’s expectations, it also increases employee satisfaction and productivity. When a team starts a new project, they’ll gather 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 an agile working environment adapts to workers’ needs and boosts productivity.
Moreover, this type of office setup helps companies reduce bills. An organization can rent flexible office space or redesign its workspace to make it more versatile. 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 a flexible workspace that makes employees thrive?
Discuss with your flexible workforce to understand their needs
Although hybrid teams spend less time on-site than office-bound workers, coming to the workplace remains a core pillar for employee experience and everything that results from it, including productivity. You have to get their opinion to improve their experience in the office. . Sending them an employee satisfaction questionnaire related to this particular topic is an effective way to do it. Once you’ve gathered all their feedback, you can build a tailor-made office that answers your workforce’s needs. By providing them with the required workspace types, you show them that their well-being is important and ensure they can perform their job in the best conditions.
Provide employees with various workspace choices
Creating a flexible office space involves developing a variety of work environments within the office to cater to different tasks and preferences. This means outfitting the workspace with:
shared desks for collaborative projects;
quiet areas for focused work;
meeting rooms for group discussions;
casual lounges for informal interactions or relaxation.
By doing so, employees gain the autonomy to choose a setting that aligns with their current activity or mood, leading to increased productivity and job satisfaction. Flexible office spaces acknowledge that work is dynamic and multifaceted. Therefore, the physical environment facilitates this diversity rather than constrains it. Offering a range of workspace options helps foster a culture of flexibility and supports a more agile and responsive workforce.
Make sure all hybrid employees have access to the workspace they need
Improving the office by offering various workspaces helps your coworkers to perform better. However, how do you ensure they always have access to their needed working spot? 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 trigger. Employees get frustrated and end up working in an environment that is not the most suitable for accomplishing their tasks. We will tell you briefly how technology can help you solve these issues.
Choose a design that boosts employee experience and well-being
We mentioned the impact of office layout on productivity and employees’ experience in the introduction. While changing the look of your physical workplace to create a more agile workspace, why not consider this, too? A well-thought-out office design can significantly reduce stress and enhance overall mental health.
For example, implementing an activity-based setup allows team members to choose work settings suitable for various tasks, ranging from collaborative areas to quiet zones, which increases efficiency and adaptability. Moreover, incorporating a biophilic office design boosts their well-being, concentration, and performance. This modern approach to workspace design not only optimizes employee productivity but also attracts and retains top talent by demonstrating a commitment to their health and happiness.
Create a flexible office space that mirrors your culture and vice versa
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 matches the idea of promoting a people-first culture. Remember that your office is the physical illustration of the values and the vision you want to share.
But, to help your team embrace this new layout, you have to change the office culture toward this aspect. Little by little, employees should not view a certain space as a single-use workspace. For example, your meeting room that was only occupied for this purpose until today could now be used as an activity-based area. Workers can simply reserve this space from their room booking app for the time they need it.
What technology should you use for flexible office space management?
An office analytics system to optimize the office space and save costs
With your employees’ permission, technology provides you with data about anything you want. This resource helps you analyze your office use, areas of improvement, and cost optimization opportunities. Thanks to workplace analytics, for instance, you see which parts of your office are the most used and booked (if you use a desk booking software like deskbird). You also clearly understand whether or not the physical work environment answers your workers’ needs. If almost nobody comes on-site, and if they do, they 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. Not great for employee satisfaction or experience. The best solution is to adopt an online weekly planning resource. It lets you 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 for 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. For example, with the deskbird app, they can:
Book a desk or room;
Secure a parking spot;
Organize their hybrid schedule;
Find colleagues quickly thanks to the interactive floor plan;
Modify their timetable and bookings from anywhere and anytime (mobile and web app for desktops access, + multiple integrations).
Versatility is a core aspect of the future of work and impacts every corner of the workplace. You now have a better insight into flexible office space, and you’re equipped with all the information you need to create a thriving and agile work environment. Technology is a key ally in this process, and its role shouldn’t be underestimated. HR, Facility, and IT departments should all work together to proceed with this essential makeover of your office layout and design.
If you’re looking for a user-friendly solution to manage your flexible workspace, request a free demo of the deskbird app and discover more about all our great features!
Paulyne is a hybrid work specialist, who writes about sustainability, flexible work models and employee experience.