Flexible working is here to stay
The last year has changed a whole lot about the way we work. Long office leases, unused workspace, and set desks are out – while collaboration, employee wellbeing, and flexible working are very much in.
As businesses all over the world embrace a more flexible approach to work, office spaces are adapting to become more agile. Workspace operators and landlords are developing their offerings to create more human-centric spaces, equipped for collaboration and connectivity.
These workspaces can help organisations embrace flexible working, and reap the benefits; such as improved productivity, better staff retention, and greater work-life balance for employees. Coming out of a global pandemic, teams are likely to embrace a remote working approach with a combination of office and WFH days – allowing employees to benefit from both.
We’ve compiled a list of some of the most flexible workspace options for solo entrepreneurs, small teams and bigger businesses looking to get back to an office – whether that’s every day, a couple of days per week, or just occasionally. We know that both hold value, but ultimately, it’s going to be up to businesses to decide how much they want to use physical workspace vs. the home.
In the world of workspace, hot desking is about as flexible as it gets. With hot desking, workers take any available space, rather than being assigned a set desk.
Hot desking is a key feature of co-working spaces, which usually have other areas like breakout zones, meeting rooms, private phone booths, focus booths, and more social spaces. These spaces allow people to work in an agile way, moving around and using different areas for the different types of work they are doing; like collaborating with their team in a meeting room, chatting informally in the kitchen, or working on a presentation alone in a focus booth.
Best for freelancers or for small teams, hot desking is usually offered on a pay monthly basis – however, some workspace operators will also offer ‘pay-as-you-go’ options or day passes.
It is also flexible in terms of commitment; businesses are not tied into any long contracts and usually only need to give 1 month’s notice. It can also be useful for growing businesses, who can simply add more hot desking passes as they expand.
Hot desking is perfect for hybrid working between home and the office, especially as workers return to the office for the first time in a while. In fact post-Covid, many different establishments are offering hot desking, like hotels, restaurants, and even pubs – making it easier than ever to simply ‘drop in’ to use a workspace when it’s required.
Though hot desking is uber flexible and commitment-free, there are a couple of potential disadvantages. It could be costly if your team grows a lot, and you’ll reach a point where it might be cheaper to invest in an office space. There is also less privacy than you get with other options, as you are sharing all amenities with other workers – something worth considering when you’re looking for your new workspace.
Dedicated or fixed desk
For a bit more consistency, some co-working spaces or other establishments offer a dedicated or fixed desk, usually paid on a monthly basis. Similar to hot desking, you’ll share amenities with co-workers, but can leave bulky equipment and belongings at a desk, making it more convenient if you’re going into an office most days.
Serviced office spaces
Serviced office spaces allow businesses to use different features of a coworking space, such as meeting rooms, breakout areas, and social spaces, providing opportunity to collaborate with colleagues, and network with other co-workers.
Serviced office spaces tend to have shorter leases than traditional office spaces, and will often only require 1-2 months’ notice. For even more flexibility, some workspace operators offer part-time options – or, you might look to only take desks for 50% of your staff, and use hot desking to supplement additional space. Co-ordinating or rotating your team might take a bit of organisation, but it’s a great way to take less space, while giving everyone some time at home and some in the office.
Serviced offices don’t allow businesses to brand or design their own space, so if this is a sticking point you might want to consider other options. You will also be sharing amenities with other businesses and co-workers in the space – worth considering if you’re a larger organisation and ideally want a space of your own.
Finally, managed workspaces are ideal for bigger businesses, who want a full-time office space they can customise and brand, but without the long, 5 year plus lease.
Just like with a serviced office space, businesses can take fewer desks than their number of staff. If not everyone needs to be in the office at once, there’s no reason why a 70 person team can’t take a 30-40 desk office, with additional features like touchdown or overflow space, breakout areas, and phone booths. This enables them to work in a more agile way, and reap the benefits of increased productivity, creativity and collaboration.
Managed workspaces are a great way for larger businesses to embrace agile working, and also benefit from shorter leases.
After a year spent working remotely, businesses and employees all over the world are embracing a more flexible way of working – and this is a great thing for productivity, creativity and wellbeing. Post-Covid, organisations will now need to find a workspace equipped for flexibility, that will allow them to reap all the benefits, and reduce their unused space.
Work.Life provides happy, sustainable and inclusive workspaces for businesses who care about people. From hot desking to serviced offices, all their spaces are designed to boost productivity and increase work happiness.
For more Juggle insight on supporting employees, take a look at this piece on helping staff with childcare.