As the concept of workspaces has changed dramatically over the last few years, it can be hard to know which style would work best for your business. While some people like the structure and routine of an office-based space, others enjoy the flexibility that comes with remote or hybrid working patterns. Perhaps a flexible office could be just the thing with its cost-effectiveness and ability to use the space in various ways. Yet, no two businesses or organisations are the same, so it’s essential you find the right space and routine for you. Discover the advantages and disadvantages of flexible office spaces in this guide to give you a better understanding of whether it is something you too should adopt.
What Is A Flexible Office?
A flexible office is one that does not have specifically assigned desks for each employee. Instead, spaces are organised based on the needs of the employees and desks are chosen based on availability. The ultimate aim of a flexible office space is to optimise the space as best as possible to adapt to the ever-changing needs of a business. It can also benefit employee productivity by keeping minds active in a more activity-based environment. Though there are also disadvantages associated with flexible office spaces which are important to be aware of.
Advantages Of A Flexible Office
Different types of spaces can work better for some people than others, so being able to understand the draws of flexible offices will help to discover if it is also the right solution for your employees. Some of the key advantages of flexible spaces are outlined below:
Offices with flexible seating arrangements have proven to be more space-efficient as the office is matched to the physical presence of employees. This can result in savings on rent, energy prices, and services due to the office maximising its space and aligning with the needs of employees. It is certainly an attractive option when the outgoings of an office space can be reduced in this way, particularly for small businesses or startups.
As the name suggests, flexible offices provide heightened flexibility compared to standard office structures. By being able to adjust an office space on a regular basis, managers can more easily suit the needs of their employees and keep things to everyone’s liking. This flexibility is essential in the modern age of corporate environments and can improve job satisfaction in the company by working to how employees would like to work, rather than forcing a certain structure upon everyone.
Optimises Office Space
Flexible offices also open new opportunities when it comes to space optimisation. As the majority of employees now opt for a hybrid method of working, it is important to keep the office space as practical as possible. If you’re looking to use an office for team meetings and projects, big rooms with communal desk spaces would be necessary. Alternatively, if employees need to focus on individual tasks, you would then require more personal work areas. The great thing about flexible offices is that both of these scenarios are possible to execute, making it worth your while to invest in such a structure.
Disadvantages Of Flexible Offices
The integration of a flexible office into your organisation can also come with some disadvantages which may deter some people from adopting the method. From logistics to occupancy management, below we’ve listed some important disadvantages to flexible office spaces:
Risk Of Employee Disconnect
Without assigned desks or permanent areas in the office, there can be a sense of interchangeability among employees, leaking into their productivity. Flexible arrangements can trigger some kind of depersonalisation and a lack of identity if employees do not know where they stand in their work environment. In order to avoid this, you want to maintain a warm and welcoming atmosphere in your office, which might be difficult to achieve with constant changes.
What’s more, a flexible space can pose problems logistically to make sure the space remains functional, tidy, and efficient. This can be easily managed with solid organisation, however, there can be challenges, particularly around deadlines or busy seasons to ensure the office is maintained to the highest standard. The more changes in the space, the more likely it is to pose logistical problems.
Finally, issues with logistics can stem further into occupancy challenges when it comes to flexible offices. One of the main issues can be managing an uneven flow of employees into the office on any given day. If this is the case, you might end up in a situation where there are not enough desks for the number of employees which will reflect badly on the company’s organisation. On the other hand, you might have very few employees in the office which can be demotivating and lonely. Ensuring your office organisation is stable is key for flexible office spaces.