The term ‘flexible workplace’ can be thrown around in a lot of industries, but not everybody actually knows what it means, especially in the context of renting office space. If you have considered renting a flexible workplace, or work for a company that has been talking about it recently, here is a good summary of what to expect and how you can decide if it is the right option for your business.
What is a flexible workplace?
‘Flexible workspace,’ in the context of renting an office, means that space isn’t a rigid and set-in-stone choice layout. Unlike a normal office, where each employee has a dedicated space that they use every single day, a flexible workspace is supposed to be more malleable and allow for rapid changes depending on the situation.
For example, you might move to a different desk in a flexible workspace if your role requires that you work with another team for a week. An employee who is working remotely or taking part in a business trip will leave their desk open, and somebody else may fill it while they are gone. The idea is that all workers have full flexibility with how and where they work, rather than confining them to arrangements that might get in the way of their job.
What does flexible workspace include?
There are multiple ways that a single office can introduce elements that make it more flexible. One of the most common is ‘hot desks,’ which are empty desks staffed by anybody who needs them but never permanently assigned to an employee. These allow temporary workers and guest experts to work comfortably without taking up another employee’s spot.
Sometimes, co-working spaces are a better option: these take the concept of a ‘hot desk’ and apply it to an entire area of the office space, creating a full section that can be staffed by any team or group of employees that need it. This allows people from different teams to collaborate on projects in an isolated spot.
Many flexible workspaces also have specific designs and layouts that are meant to encourage flexibility and free movements, such as open architecture and plenty of easy-to-move furnishings. This usually also means that more spaces will have large windows and electrical outlets, even if nobody officially works near that spot – having them there allows people to use that space without being hindered by the office’s layout.
Why should I rent a flexible workspace?
Whether you are renting flexible workplaces in London from Be Offices or trying to turn your existing property into a more adaptable area, it is important to understand the benefits of having one. First of all, it cuts down on space by making sure that no areas are pigeonholed into one role – a meeting room can serve as a co-operative office, and a group of empty desks could be turned into a temporary mini-department for urgent tasks.
Secondly, giving employees a way to move around and work wherever it is most convenient removes a lot of awkward scheduling issues or conflicts of interest. If there isn’t officially a marketing department, for example, then the marketing team can work wherever there is room and don’t have to hog those desks specifically.
Free movement encourages communication and collaboration across different teams and roles, too. Everybody can walk up to one another and talk if they need to, and people can split off from their teams to go and work with other employees in mere seconds.
Are there any cons?
While a flexible workspace can technically make it harder to track down certain employees in large office buildings, there really aren’t that many downsides. Some employees might not like being pulled away from ‘their’ desk, but it also means that they have the freedom to choose where they work and don’t feel pressured to stay in a single place for their entire time with the company.
Perhaps the only other drawback is that ‘hot desks’ are generally left open. This means that there is technically going to be spaces within the property that aren’t being filled, which can seem less productive at first. However, open and flexible workspaces are this way by design, and empty desks are there specifically to let employees choose how they carry out their tasks.