Skip to main content

Flexible workspace

A flexible workspace is exactly what it sounds like: a work space that is flexible. Sometimes called an agile working environment, a flexible workspace can adjust to suit the needs of the employees using it. Flexible workspaces are in demand. Employees want more flexibility post-pandemic and many companies have responded by adopting a flexible work model known as hybrid work. These working models give employees more say in how and when they work on-site, making them more flexible than a traditional work model. When executed well, a flexible workspace can boost employee productivity and help workplace teams efficiently manage their physical space in a flexible working world.  

A flexible workspace goes beyond the physical office, though. It also encompasses the technology, policies, and culture that a company adopts to encourage a responsive work environment. Read on to learn more about flexible working and how to help your company build a flexible workspace that employees will love.

What is flexible working?

First, we’ll talk about flexible working. Flexible working is a style of work that is responsive to employees’ needs. To create a flexible working environment, you need the right combination of policies, space, and technology that enables employees to work on their own terms. 

Some employees might focus better in a work from home setting, while others benefit from the social interactions they get on-site. Flexible working allows employees to choose how they prefer to work. And flexible workspaces accommodate those varied preferences. Tech-equipped meeting rooms facilitate video conferencing between on-site and remote employees. Synced communication apps enable easy contact between teams on the go. Movable furniture helps  employees create a productive working space. 

For example, an employee may use a workspace to do heads-down work for part of the workday and collaborative work for another part. Since the workspace is designed to be flexible, it may have easy-to-move furniture so the employee can rearrange the space for better collaboration during those brainstorming hours, alongside multipurpose working rooms for heads-down focus. It may also have outlets, monitors, ethernet cables, and any other technologies employees may need to collaborate productively. Take a look at our agile workspace post, where we discuss these components in more detail.

What are the benefits of flexible working?

Flexible working can be a win-win for employees and employers. Employees feel empowered by having more control over their own schedules. They have more say in where they work, when they come on-site, and how they structure their days. Employees know themselves best, and by having more flexible schedules, they can maximize their productivity. 

At the same time, flexible working helps employers use their workspace more efficiently. In a flexible work arrangement, not all employees will be on-site every day. This allows for down-sizing office spaces and saving on resources like electricity, heating, and cooling. Flexible floor plans help accommodate fluctuating attendance and maximize the space employees are able to use. (More on this later.)

How do I implement a flexible workspace?

Be sure to get employee feedback when planning your flexible workspace. The space should accommodate and reflect their working needs. For instance, if employees say they prefer working in the kitchen because of the ample light and open atmosphere, consider opening up the rest of your workspace in the same way. The more employees feel seen throughout the implementation process, the more enthusiastic they’ll be about the changes. From there, use office space planning tools to document your changes and develop KPIs to seamlessly roll out, measure, and report on how the impact of the changes. Be sure to include how the changes have impacted productivity, employee satisfaction, and retention. Check out this blog post for more tips on flexible office space planning. 

A flexible workplace is an ever-evolving process. Be sure to remain flexible as you design and iterate on your floor plans. Responding to—and anticipating—shifting employee needs and expectations will keep your workplace a relevant, dynamic, and exciting place to work.