A flexible workspace, commonly referred to as shared office space, can be a great fit for many companies as adjustments are made to the post-pandemic workplace. In this post we are going to tackle the benefits and drawbacks of flexible workspaces, as well as explain how you can make this type of style work for your organization.
Steve Hogarty, a London-based writer and editor of City AM newspaper and magazine, writing for WeWork, a flexible shared workspace company, describes a flexible office space in the following way, “flexible office space is a type of workspace designed to provide employees with a variety of different places and ways to work. Unlike traditional offices with fixed and assigned desk positions, workers in a flexible office space can choose the area of the office that best suits the type of work they need to do at that moment. Flexible workspaces can be easily rearranged to accommodate changing business objectives, or quickly scaled up and down to fit teams of different sizes. These kinds of dynamic office spaces are typically designed to be used in conjunction with flexible working arrangements to provide teams with the freedom to work where, when, and how they want.”
Flexible office spaces are commonly places where co-working occurs. JLL, a global commercial real estate services company, provides the following description of regarding flexible space and co-working, “Flexible space is a term used to describe a variety of office types used by occupiers to increase portfolio flexibility, reduce occupancy costs, and enhance collaboration. Co-working is the most common type, followed by executive suites and incubators. Co-working spaces and incubators tend to be located in downtowns or dense neighborhoods, while executive suites tend to be located in suburban areas near large employment centers. Nearly half of corporations already use some type of flexible office solution, and by 2020, 65% of companies expect to incorporate co-working into their office portfolio.”
The Benefits and Drawbacks
There are numerous pros and cons to flexible workspaces. It’s important to fully understand these positives and negatives, and what they mean for your organization, before deciding if this type of workspace is the right fit for your company. Based on our research, we are going to share a few lists put together by experts that we believe will be particularly helpful as you make a decision.
We will start with a list directly from a post by Heritage Office Suites, a flexible office space company, entitled “Pros & cons of a traditional office space vs flexible space.”
Pros of flexible office space
- Cost saving
- Requires little investment/capital
- Modern design and infrastructure
- Access to cutting-edge technology
- Pay for only what you use
- Included administrative services
- No facility management responsibility
- Helps attract and retain employees
- Networking opportunities
- Provides access to talent
- Drives collaboration
- Flexibility in lease and amount of space (desks) you take up
- Hospitality-focused service and amenities
- Prestigious business address
Cons of flexible workspace
- They can be distracting
- Information security
- Limits on customization and company branding
Victory Workspace, a flexible workspace company, published the following list of pros and cons:
Advantages of Unconventional, Flexible Workspaces: Unconventional, versatile workspaces reflect a company’s ability to adjust to the times and allow workers to share knowledge — all while being mindful of spatial usage.
- An environment that encourages the exchange of knowledge
- Quickly take advantage of both design and freedom
- Space utilization
The Downside of Flexible Workspace: Flexible spaces can be distracting, difficult to effectively manage, and, most worryingly, one day here and the next.
- Distractions galore
- Difficulty of administration
- Lack of routine and personal space
Looking for more advantages and disadvantages of flexible workspaces? Rocky Harper, Manager of Audience Relations at PR Newswire, put together a list of 11 Pros & Cons to consider before committing to a coworking space.
- Ease of Use/Amenities
- Sense of Community
- Mental Health Benefits
Cons of Shared Workspaces
- Lack of Privacy
- Lack of HR
One common practice associated with flexible office space is hot desking or office hoteling, which is a concept of shared desk spaces.
When it comes to hot desking or office hoteling, Smartway2 is here to help. Our software provides the ability to book desks and rooms in advance, making the process easy and effective for all involved.
If you’re looking to learn more about hot desking, we have written extensively on the subject, including the following posts you can review: The Do’s and Don’ts of Hot Desking, How to turn hot-desking hell into hotelling heaven in 10 steps and Hot Desking: Is It A Good Fit For Your Business?
Why people are turning to flexible workspace?
In recent years, the trend toward flexible workspace has continued to increase in popularity. We already outlined the pros and cons of flexible workspaces, which will provide you with a good understanding as to why a company might consider shifting to a flexible workspace. Now, we thought it would be helpful to share some insight from experts about why this trend toward flexible workspaces is continuing to gain traction.
TechSpace, a flexible workspace company, published an insightful piece specifically addressing why companies are transitioning from a traditional workspace to a flexible workspace. According to TechSpace, “The demand for flexible office space is growing exponentially and there seems to be no end in sight. Why are more companies opting out of traditional space and into flexibility at every stage of their lifecycle? The worker is evolving, and in turn is expecting an evolved workplace, thus creating a cycle that is breeding a new employee and office space. Here are a few reasons why flexible office space is becoming a household name and how you can use it to benefit your company.”
TechSpace provided the following three explanations to address their conclusion: millennials are shaping the future of office space, employees love shorter commutes and technology is continuously growing.
Smartway2 is a workplace scheduling system that helps enable peak performance from employees. Using Smartway2 is easy and can help to pave the way towards a “culture of innovation.”