No dynamic business should ever allow a rigid working environment to hold them back. Therefore, they create a flexible workspace that allows them to react, adapt, and innovate with little pushback from their office space.
Here, we’ll cover a variety of flexible workspace solutions that range from moveable physical layouts to tech-driven time savers and much more. We’ll also go on to contextualize the implications of implementing flexibility, answering questions like “what are benefits to employees in a flexible workspace environment?”
At the end of the day, when you want to create a flexible workspace, you need to get the opinions of those who will be using it. Kick off your mission with a form that you can customize to include potential options to choose from, as well as suggestion boxes for anything you might have missed.
Compile all this data and spot what the most popular ideas are — they are usually linked to common frustrations with flexibility. You might get a few suggestions that you can immediately implement with a few small changes, rather than investing a lot of time and money.
While you will have your own ideas to go along with those of your teams, be aware of popular trends. Each company is different, and what works for one business may not work for another. For example, soundproofing your private rooms is a great idea, but unless you’ve got an especially noisy office, it could be a superfluous investment. Another factor to take into consideration is when bringing plants or pets into the office, not everyone will be a fan and some may even be allergic.
Much has been made of office layouts in the 21st century. Open-plan offices are very popular because they keep your whole team in the same room. These flexible workspaces promote collaboration and avoid transparency-reducing silos from forming.
If you plan to expand your company, it’s worth getting extra space early on rather than scrambling around to accommodate new recruits. In the time until you grow, the extra rooms help to create a flexible workspace and can be adapted to become breakout rooms, quiet spaces, or a place for social team-building events.
Of course, not everybody’s budget allows them to have extra spaces on hand for the future. However, you can still design a flexible workspace and make room in other ways. As we’ll see later in the article, hybrid offices are a great way of optimizing your physical space for flexibility, while allowing those who prefer to work from home to create their own setups.
While open space is universally accepted as a great layout for flexible office spaces, you'll of course need some closed off areas for private conversations, meetings, or video conference calls.
To avoid clashes, create team calendars for each room and train your team in how to use it themselves. As we’ll go into more detail later, this helps to create a flexible workspace by giving individuals more autonomy in the way they work. Not only does it speed up admin tasks for them, but your office manager will save themselves a time-consuming job.
Similarly, it's important to remember that your team aren't robots — they need a place to disconnect momentarily in order to stay productive and avoid burnout. Giving your team an option for undisturbed deep work is a great counterbalance to the more collaborative open-plan office.
Before you go setting up your different areas, remember that your staff can’t move around in a hotdesk style if they have desktop computers. Laptops are the ideal workaround for flexible shared workspaces and your team can also take them away when working from home.
Both in your open areas and in your closed-off rooms, furniture will play a major role in how you create a flexible workspace. It should be easy to move around and even modular so you can accommodate both solo work and welcome large groups.
When considering “what are benefits to employees in a flexible workspace environment?”, the health and wellbeing of your teams should always be pretty high up the priority list. Simple solutions like adjustable office chairs can significantly reduce back pain and eye strain across all your teams.
However, smart furniture also helps to make your teams more efficient and productive. Convert your meeting room into a presentation setup with screens that can be pulled out of the wall. Solutions like this, that can be folded away at a moment’s notice, are a common feature of many successful flexible workspaces.
Look into smart storage solutions that tuck away neatly and maximize your usable space. Mobile workstations are great for teams who need to keep all their things in one place, from essential documents to a bluetooth keyboard and mouse.
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It’s easy to overlook the software you use when considering how to create a flexible workspace. With so much focus on office layouts and modular furniture, your day-to-day tools can find themselves on the back burner.
There are two main ways that scalable software contributes to flexible workspaces:
Consistency and uniformity
Reduced costs when growing
Solopreneurs can happily flick between different tools and try out new things on a whim. However, once you move into the realm of teams, consistency is key. Hybrid work models in particular demand the same tools in order to cut out complications when it comes to converting files or accessing cloud storage.
On the other side of the coin, choosing software that is affordable for a small team, but that doesn’t become eye-wateringly expensive as you grow, is crucial. The last thing you want when opening up new markets or expanding into new areas is a roadblock brought on through a lack of planning.
When it comes to software, you can often gain more flexibility by using one platform with a vast range of features, rather than multiple tools that you have to link together with integrations. With a single platform, you can remove all the complexities of learning to use multiple apps simultaneously, and store all your information in one place. By freeing up that extra time and headspace, you can focus on unleashing your creative side.
When aiming to create a flexible workspace, offering your teams autonomy is one of the best ways to go about it. Not only do you save time for yourself and your HR department, but autonomy keeps your workers happy. Knowing they aren’t constrained by rigid rules and micromanagement, they feel respected and stay motivated.
Therefore, you should allow your teams to customize their workstations to what they feel comfortable with. Perhaps your video editor needs an extra screen to work more efficiently, or maybe a sales agent would prefer a standing desk to do calls from.
But when you’re considering “what is a flexible workspace?”, it’s not just about physical flexibility — there are all kinds of changes you can make to your software that afford your teams more leeway.
For example, rather than demanding that all your workers turn up at 9.00 am, you can offer a window for them to arrive in, as long as they use time tracking software to complete their contracted hours. This allows parents to drop their kids off at school, and fitness fanatics can start and finish early to beat the crowds at the gym.
Keeping a tidy office is one of the easiest flexible workspace solutions to implement. It applies to any kind of office and lets you quickly adapt your layout when needed.
Not only does a tidy office allow you to flip furniture arrangements and jump into collaborative work, but it’s also great for your team’s productivity. A clean working environment boosts your motivation and you’ll seriously reduce time wasted tidying up.
You will of course have to have certain essential items on hand at all times, but it’s best to prioritize them and keep the number low. Furthermore, you should commit to keeping your workplace tidy with a structure in place on your calendar. Just a couple of minutes in the morning will keep things under control instead of letting them snowball.
Until now, we’ve been mainly focusing on how to create a flexible workspace out of your own office setting. However, with more and more companies opting for a coworking set up, we need to address the pros and cons of flexible shared workspaces.
In many cases, coworking offices are cheaper than traditional office spaces for single companies. With your monthly payment, you cover everything you need and free up funds that can be used in more productive ways.
A common question with coworking sites is “how do shared workspaces provide flexibility?”. Many startups opt for a coworking setup to be part of a community with similar mindsets. Working alongside other teams can create a melting pot of ideas and potential for collaboration. This kind of flexible shared workspaces allow you and your team to spot opportunities that you could easily miss, allowing you to be more flexible in your strategy.
After coworking spaces, our guide naturally leads us to remote work — the ultimate in how to create a flexible workspace. Whether you want to go fully remote or give people the option with a hybrid format, there are endless advantages for those who give their staff freedom in this regard.
Starting out with the obvious, you can be fully flexible in your hiring process. Why stick to talent in your local area if you can recruit top profiles from all over the world? Sure, it is harder to create a strong sense of community and belonging with your team if you don’t regularly see each other in person, but the rewards of flexibility can far outweigh the drawbacks.
Many of our previous points are relevant when getting the most out of your remote or hybrid work models. With the money you save on reducing or removing all your office costs, you can invest in flexible furniture and equipment for your teams. For example, an adjustable desk that covers sitting and standing positions may be a small investment to begin with, but you can make great savings compared with a month’s rent in a coworking space.
However, if your team is fully invested in remote work, it’s more important than ever to stick to the same processes. While relatively strict guidelines may seem inflexible, tools like cloud-based collaborative documents and shared drives keeps everyone on the same page while reducing security risks.
Now you’re prepared with a whole host of hints and tips on how to create a flexible workspace. A lot of the suggestions in this list need to get checked off by your finance teams and approved by office managers.
However, one area that you can kick start quickly and discreetly is anything to do with software. Bitrix24 is an all-in-one platform that can provide flexible workplace solutions for your teams with a minimal initial investment.
From time trackers to cloud-based project management, communication, file storage, and more, you’ll benefit both individual and team flexibility at an astonishingly low price. Our plans allow you to expand your business with a monthly cost that covers all your users, so while your office is flexible, you won’t get any billing surprises.
So if you’re looking for scalable software that allows your teams to work flexibly, look no further and sign up to Bitrix24 today.