As the COVID-19 pandemic enters its third year, many of us have seen significant changes in how, when, and where we work. According to a recent survey, up to a third of business owners anticipate that their office space needs will continue to decline over the next five years.
The modern office is adapting to fit the needs of an ever-changing world. While widespread work-from-home policies have led to an increase in home offices, flexible office space with the right office furniture collection and equipment provides an attractive option for companies and employees who want to maintain a physical space for client meetings and internal collaboration alike.
In this blog, we define flexible office space, discuss its many benefits, and offer tips on how to design a workplace that can help your business thrive.
How Does Flexible Office Space Work?
When you give your team the flexibility to work from home several days a week, choose their own hours, or otherwise make their own schedule, there’s no need for a full suite of dedicated cubicles and desks.
Instead, your office space or the work environment types you choose should adapt to the needs of the people using it on any given day, for any purpose—whether it’s collaborative whiteboard brainstorming, individual work, or meetings with external stakeholders.
Typically designed with communal use in mind, flexible workplace can include the following features:
- Coworking spaces equipped with reserved desks, first-come-first-serve or hot desk, private office, and phone booths
- Lounge areas designed to promote comfort during breaks or to serve as a casual space to discuss ideas
- Executive suites with private office, conference rooms, and a more professional feel
If you’re uncertain about whether flexible office space would make sense for your business, here are some benefits to consider:
- Give Your Employees Options – While some workers will prefer to work from home, others might crave a return to the office for at least some of the week. By switching to a flexible workplace or office, you show those employees that you value comfort, creativity, and openness, giving them a reason to return when the time is right, such as by installing flexible office furniture like the sit or stand think pod.
- Save on Occupancy Costs – In a traditional office space, every member of your team is present from nine to five, five days a week. When you depart from this model and give employees more flexibility, you won’t need as much space—which can reduce occupancy costs for your business.
- Prepare for the Unexpected – If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that preparedness is an invaluable asset to any business. Flexible offices allow you to stay agile in the event of sudden changes, ensuring you aren’t paying for more space than you need.
- Eliminate Long-Term Leases – Flexible office spaces may offer short-term, even month-to-month leases to their tenants, allowing you to stay on your toes and get the most out of your workspace.
Flexible office spaces allow businesses and their employees to prioritize their particular needs without sacrificing productivity or disrupting the coveted work-life balance. For companies based in cities, the use of satellite offices with flexible coworking spaces could be the solution to keeping commute times down for their workers who live in the suburbs.
Flexible office spaces can also include co-working spaces, which enable multiple businesses and freelancers to share a single environment designed to promote creativity and encourage productivity.
How Do You Create Flexible Office Space?
Flexible workspaces may be the key to preserving the communal and collaborative nature of doing business in an increasingly distant world.
If you’re interested in designing a flexible office for your business, here are some tips to keep in mind.
By removing walls, you also break down the imaginary barriers we tend to place between ourselves and our co-workers throughout the workday. The truth is that some of our most important work is done collaboratively in spaces where a freer flow of ideas and the immediacy of a face-to-face conversation helps us solve problems and ask questions as they arise.
While there will still be a need for privacy, you can fulfill it with strategically placed offices without sacrificing the openness of your flexible workspace.
Don’t Forget About Quiet Areas
Some workers find it difficult to concentrate on specific tasks while dealing with the noise of an open workplace. For this reason, it’s important to offer solutions such as a partly-secluded quiet area, private offices, and even sound-insulated booths.
Whether they need to make an important call or just take some time to concentrate, your employees will appreciate a dedicated quiet area incorporated into your flexible office design.
Make Workstations Adaptable to Each Worker’s Needs
Not everyone likes to sit at an office computer desk for hours at a time while completing their daily work. For this reason, you might want to invest in a range of adaptable furniture options.
By incorporating such equipment as standing or height-adjustable desks into your flexible space, you offer your employees the ability to stay active while they work or just to break up the monotony of sitting in front of their computers.
Get Flexible With Juniper
At Juniper, we bring over 100 years of experience to the table to help you furnish your office, keeping employees both comfortable and productive for the long haul.
If you’re looking to design your flexible workspace with meeting pods, standing desks, phone booths, or lounge tables, Juniper has the expertise and the inventory to get the job done. Read more about our customized business solutions today.
The New York Times. Why Co-Working Spaces Are Betting on the Suburbs. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/28/nyregion/co-working-space-suburbs.html
Partnership for New York City. Return to Office Results Released – November. https://pfnyc.org/news/return-to-office-results-released-november/