If you’re thinking that flexible workspaces are only for young enterprises, start-ups and entrepreneurs, you’re not alone.
The flexible workspace often conjures up images of millennials sitting around in tight jeans and no socks, drinking beer and playing ping pong. But, while there is a much needed element of this, the bigger picture is far more stimulating, no matter what size business you are.
What is a Flexible Workspace, Really?
Flexible workspaces are generally collaborative environments where private offices and co-working spaces accompany common areas, meeting rooms and little phone booth style pods. The workspace welcomes various companies to graft together under one roof, from one man missions to Fortune 500 companies.
A common assumption of flexible workspaces is that all employees work in co-working areas amid many other companies. But this isn’t necessarily true. If a private office is what you need, there’s no reason why you can’t have it – take a whole floor if you want to – then simply enjoy the shared facilities and flexibility whenever you like.
Connectivity and Productivity
One of the more obvious perks to a flexible workspace is the increased connectivity. The collaborative environment of shared workspaces is very stimulating and simple conversations between people from differing teams can often spark new ideas.
Encounters such as these could happen by chance, whilst making a coffee in the shared kitchen for example. Or, they could be the result of an organised event. Most flexible workspaces benefit from an onsite community team. They will organise networking and social events that allow people who would never usually meet to share ideas and build new opportunities.
A flexible workspace can also offer a platform for organisations to trial new ways of working. Differing zones, from cosy lounges to private booths and large social desks are laid out to accommodate different ways of working. This is known as an activity based working model – shown to deliver an improved level of health and job satisfaction.
Agility and New Markets
Something that many businesses don’t consider when deliberating flexible workspaces is their agility. In such a fast paced, 24-hour world, the need to be on top of the game and as agile as possible is more necessary than ever.
Businesses concern themselves daily with the activities, needs and trends of their customers, and rightly so. But, to be able to keep up and evolve in line with market trends, agility is a must. Signing up to a 10 year lease on a traditional workspace leaves little room for flexibility and new ventures.
Larger organisations looking to expand into a new market often use shared workspaces to help them make the leap. It is often the case that a small start-up or entrepreneur in a shared workspace is spending endless hours researching the market you are looking to branch into. The support and knowledge from a company like this can place you miles ahead of the competition.
And, thanks to the variety of facilities in flexible workspaces, branching into almost any new market is possible. There’s innovation labs for exploratory projects, satellite offices in emerging locations, or flexible space for successfully growing teams. What’s more, being a ready-made workspace, business can begin as soon as you move in.
Another common misconception about flexible working environments is the idea that employees will develop a stronger brand identity towards the workspace provider than their actual employer. However, studies show that the opposite of this is in fact more likely.
Research by the University of Michigan found that employees identified considerably more with their company’s culture than a flexible workspace provider when in such an environment. What’s more, the study also found that working in a collaborative space improved employees’ perception of the company.
Published in article by WeWork, Peter Bacevice, Ph.D., a research associate at the University of Michigan, said, “When you meet someone, you often ask, ‘What do you do for a living?’ In our society, work plays such a prominent role. So the notion of being part of something at work is so central to our lives.”
“When you’re a member of a specific company, and you can align with the values and the mission of that organization, you’re part of a profession. If you identify more with something, you’re going to likely be more committed to it.”
Therefore, the fact that flexible workspaces constantly have people talking about their business, their role and their company’s goals, develops greater pride in the organisation and its values.
Then, there’s the opportunity to increase the company’s visibility. A company will often have the option to place branding materials throughout their office as well as in the reception. And of course, there is power in word of mouth. The more people you talk to within the workspace, the more people who hear about your business.
Readymade for Wellbeing and Productivity
The final benefit flexible workspaces offer companies of all sizes is the ready-made design. Workspace design has been a huge focus for companies since research shone a light on two major factors, employee productivity and well-being.
Having a ready-made workspace expertly designed to maximise productivity – spaces that incorporate the activity based working model for example – is the easiest and most cost effective way to keep the team working at its best. Ergonomic furniture, biophillic design, endless coffee and plenty of freedom are just some of the common features used to maximise how employees function.
What’s more, now that businesses understand the impact workplace well-being has on a company’s bottom line, it makes sense to consider moving to a flexible workspace – an effortless way to cater to well-being needs. Readily equipped with relaxation spaces or games rooms, complimentary fruit water and healthy snacks, well-being sessions and mindfulness events, as well as onsite gyms and fitness classes, taking space in a shared workspace is a simple and economical way to bring wellness to employees.
Despite the many misconceptions that flexible workspaces are only appropriate for trendy start-ups, shared spaces such as these are gaining momentum amongst large businesses, and with good reason. Choosing to move your business to a flexible workspace could change the way you work for the better. Forever. Interested to view? Call Officio on 020 3053 3882 and let’s get started.