If the past two years can be summed up into one important takeaway, it would be that adaptability is an even more crucial trait than ever. Implementing this to our workspaces, we need to make them ready for anything and everything – from fluctuating needs and preferences for remote work, to future unprecedented events. This explains the evolution of flexible working from a mere complementary sub-sector to the office market, into a fundamental part of the commercial real estate market and a sector in its own right.
“Flexible workspace” is an umbrella term for both serviced offices as well as co-working models which often blur together. Flex offerings act as collaborative spaces aimed to maintain a sense of corporate culture, ensuring rejuvenated team spirit and productivity, and higher levels of employee satisfaction.
The advantages of flexible working are numerous and have been spoken of enough lately. Flexible offices provide a safe workspace alternative for company owners who are either not ready to commit to long-term leases or have decided to adopt a hybrid work arrangement on a permanent basis. A McKinsey survey conducted in 2020 revealed that executives planned to reduce office space by 30 percent. A survey from CBRE has found that 86% of respondents view flexible offices as a crucial component for the future of their real estate strategies.
Summing up the key reasons for increasing preference of flex by companies:
- Agility and consequent efficiency in operation
- Reduction of capital expenditure and certainty of expenses
- Transformation of growing companies and their expansion into new territories
- Convenient and immediate availability of spaces
- Services and amenities that improve employee engagement and keep the overall atmosphere happy
With more and more office owners coming to realize the advantages of a flex work culture, they are preparing to set up a workplace that invites workers to perform their best without any inconvenience or fear of safety. Multinational corporations too are now taking up hundreds of desks for back-, mid- and even front-office functions, as occupiers repel long-term, binding contracts.
At an individual level, the primary step is to identify what kind of flexibility makes you most productive. Work from home or rent a hot desk? Activity-based working or coworking? An elastic office model or a neighborhood-based layout? How important is it for you to meet your clients or business partners in person? If coworking is your plan of action, you may want to be located in metro, however, if the emphasis is on remote work, the location may not be an important criterion. Depending on the nature of industry, profile, and even personal preference, flexible working can have a different meaning for different people. Make sure you are clear with your definition and requirements.
As a company, it’s important to note that providing work flexibility implies a flexible design too. Let’s face it, we’ve all grown used to spending part of our workday comfortably curled up on a couch. That is why the rigid, fixed, or built-in furnishings need to be replaced with light, movable ones (think modular boardroom tables, reconfigurable sofas, and all kinds of elements that roll away when not needed) to have a more relaxed environment that fosters innovation and collaboration. To accommodate that, there is a need for open floor plans. Even anchor pieces such as a reception desk might need to roll out of the way to make more room for interesting activities.
To support the growing e-meetings and ensure zero communication gaps, noise buffering is important. Adding acoustic properties to partitions, fixed walls, ceilings, and even furniture is a simple solution. Green wall features, besides being inherently beneficial for wellness, also offer built-in acoustic properties and can be invaluable in creating comfortable, inviting environments.
As location-independent work practices replace physical meetings with virtual meetings, introverted employees are observed to blossom. Virtual discussions have also leveled the playing field for more introverted employees who don’t feel as comfortable speaking in person, says Jennifer O’Lear, Chief Diversity Officer, Head of Engagement & Inclusion at science and tech firm Merck Group. Everybody fits in the Zoom room- hierarchies are flattened and silos are busted. Anyone can ask questions because it feels much more intimate with the whole leadership team.
For a successful flex-office, it is crucial to involve all employees in the transition process. Since the system is becoming more trust-based, communication and transparency is the key. Besides communicating with clients and business partners outside the office, leaders need to communicate more actively, frequently and intentionally with their team members. The involvement of workers upstream will allow them to take ownership of the change rather than being subjected to it. When the C-Suite agrees to train managers in telecommuting employee management and program leaders aid their fellow colleagues in flex work arrangements to maintain productivity, you can expect a successful flex transition.
Qdesq Flexi gives your employees the options they need to get back to work safely from anywhere. It stands out for its convenience, affordability, and widespread presence.
Some prominent features of Qdesq Flexi are:
- It offers space for productivity in a functional environment whether you work from home or work near home.
- Reduces overhead costs by letting you work in an affordable and managed space.
- Ensure continuity of business without any hindrance
- Lets you choose from 3000+ centers in 52 cities and get access to suitable workspace across the country
Work-from-home, work-near-home, remote working trends are causing a demand for flex offerings in the physical workspace. The pandemic has impacted every aspect of the business world including the leaders who are now on the verge of realizing that there is no turning back to traditional ways of work that limit choice and autonomy. The new wave of flexibility has proved to be successful under today’s circumstances, and will likely continue to remain a major part of the “new normal,” as well as a benchmark of corporate resilience.