In an era of flexible work, are traditional office spaces still fit for purpose? Many businesses think not. They’re creating flexible workspaces — environments that support and facilitate a hybrid work model.
But what do we mean by flexible office space? And how do you make this office design work for your organization?
Let’s take a look.
What is a flexible workspace?
Flexible office space provides employees with a variety of different places and ways to work. There are traditional desk areas and meeting rooms. But there are also collaboration spaces and quiet working zones.
A flexible workspace can also be easily rearranged to meet the changing needs of employees and a business.
Pros of a flexible workspace
Suited to hybrid working — flexible office space can adapt to meet the needs of the number of team members you have in the office at any one time.
Improved productivity — team members always have access to the right workstation for the task at hand.
Scalable — flexible workspaces can be easily scaled up or down depending on your team’s requirements, which means more sustainable and cost-effective office space.
Helps attract and retain employees — teams enjoy a better employee experience, working in a space that supports their productivity, comfort, and wellbeing.
Drives collaboration — there are plenty of areas where employees can gather and work together, which is particularly useful if your teams spend part of the week working from home.
The option to save costs through coworking — space can be adapted to accommodate other companies on a permanent or ad hoc basis.
Cons of a flexible workspace
Distractions — open plan, flexible workspaces don’t always accommodate team members who prefer to do quiet, focused work.
Information security — keeping sensitive information secure isn’t always possible in an open-plan configuration.
Difficult to manage — how do you decide who can use which space and when? — the admin associated with flexible workspaces can prove challenging. (More on how to solve these issues in a minute…)
It’s important to consider these disadvantages. But remember that you can solve many of these issues with the right flexible office space design and tech tools.
How to make a flexible office space work
Want to make flexible office space work for your organization? Then the right design and the right tech have to be top of your list.
Focus on office design
We can’t stress this enough — great design is the key to a successful flexible office space. You’ll cover all bases by incorporating the following, providing every employee with the optimal space to complete any task.
If your team enjoys flexible working, splitting their work time between home and the office, then hot desking is an obvious choice.
Employees don’t have one specific desk in the office. Instead, you operate a shared workspace where they can choose any available desk space.
This may help you to save on costs (if you can scale down your office space requirements), and it brings variety and flexibility to your team’s workday.
- Smartway2 top tip: Take hot desking to the next level by implementing a desk hotelling system where workers can pre-book workstations. This helps cut down on the chaos that free-for-all hot desking can cause.
By incorporating open areas into your office design, you create collaborative workspaces where people can work together and share ideas. Make these spaces dynamic and engaging, and you’ll foster a sense of creativity and innovation too.
Space for socialization
Your office design shouldn’t ignore spaces designed for socializing and relaxation.
Taking a break is beneficial to employee wellbeing and productivity. So give your team a comfortable space to enjoy a bite to eat or catch up informally with their colleagues.
Every flexible office space needs quiet areas. These are places where individuals can work with focus, without noise or distractions getting in the way.
Many offices have introduced soundproofed pods. These small, enclosed, and comfortable spaces allow workers to get away from the hubbub of the office and concentrate fully on the task at hand.
Meeting rooms are an essential part of both traditional and flexible office design.
When you’re discussing issues that require privacy (either one-on-one or as a group), you need to be able to do so in a quiet space, behind closed doors.
- Smartway2 top tip: Take the guesswork out of meeting room booking with powerful tech tools that support on-the-go room reservations, provide usage analytics, integrate with your existing tech stack, and more.
Want to create the ultimate flexible workspace? Then the majority of your furniture should be moveable and adaptable.
Include comfortable sofas you rearrange to accommodate any number of people. Try to incorporate both sitting and standing desks into your design and ensure that desks can be moved around easily.
When employees don’t have assigned seats, they don’t have a designated space to store their belongings.
Provide storage solutions (like lockers) or a place for shared amenities, so people can keep desks clear and access all the resources they need.
Use the right technology
Offering employees an agile working experience and a flexible workspace means catering to every type of work style. But it also means providing your team members with the tools they need to manage their workdays seamlessly.
Turning up at a pod, laptop at the ready, to find that none are available, or wanting to book a meeting room but being unable to complete the process from home are snags nobody wants to run into. They hamper productivity and create employee frustration, which can have a negative knock-on effect for your company.
To prevent these issues, you need tech solutions that can be utilized both at home and in the office.
- Smartway2 top tip: Desk and room booking software should be high up your list of priorities. While you may want to leave some office areas available on a first-come-first-served basis, you also need to have some spaces that employees can reserve ahead of time, and you’ll need a powerful workplace scheduling solution to help with that process.
Make the most of your flexible workspaces with Smartway2
Smartway2 is leading the way in experience-first workplace scheduling. With our platform, your employees can book their desks and a meeting room quickly and easily online. And can turn up ready to do their best work, without scrambling around for a space to do it.
Office managers also get the data insight they need to manage your flexible office space better, ensuring everyone has access to the workspace they need when and where they need it.
Smooth your transition to a flexible workspace by trying Smartway2 office scheduling software for yourself. Get in touch for a demo to see Smartway2 in action.