Work culture is changing and so is the environment in which productivity happens. Many companies are rethinking the purpose of their workspaces and creating new policies to support flexibility – for their teams and bottom line. In times like these, when uncertainty is the only thing that seems to be certain, a business’s ability to be flexible and agile in all aspects can mean the difference between surviving and thriving.
While remote work is projected to maintain popularity, many businesses still need a physical space and are ready to embrace a more hybrid option. With that, what options actually exist to suit the needs of most companies? Beyond the confines of the traditional understanding of co-working, lives a hospitality, human-first approach to workspaces – flexible office space.
Flexible office space is a happy medium between a permanent office, which many are shifting away from in the wake of the pandemic, and co-working or desk sharing. Presenting as an on-demand customized workspace, a flexible office can be a turnkey worksuite designed by an architect, furnished from premium suppliers, wired up with the latest technology, managed by trained staff, and developed with a strong sense of community and connection. Serving the unique needs of businesses and employees, flexible workspaces not only help with team productivity and insert inspiration in the form of new surroundings, but are good for the bottom line and business growth.
As such, we’re offering up a breakdown of key points that make flexible office space a viable and valuable option when evaluating one’s workplace strategy.
Save Money. We know that working from home can be productive and efficient but in-person collaboration is irreplaceable. Many companies now face the unique opportunity to save on overhead costs related to physical office spaces in light of the pandemic. With some traditional office leases lasting upwards of 10 years in certain cities, in this new era of unpredictability – terms of this length add an unnecessary barrier for business owners, locking up valuable capital. “The commercial real estate industry stands to face significant structural changes as companies have been thrown into a remote working experiment. It has them questioning how they will use space going forward in ways they never have before.” said David Cairns, a Senior Vice President at CBRE. “Fully integrated flexible space products are a vital solution to this problem in the context of an office building.”
From designing, building and infrastructure, to maintenance and operating costs, there is a lot to consider when budgeting the development and operations of an office. Essential staff such as a janitorial crew can range anywhere from $500 to $800 per month for small offices and $2,000 to $5,000 per month for larger offices. Factoring in costs from design and infrastructure such as architecture, construction, furniture, and technology pull back the curtain on just how much physical space costs. Amenities or perks, which are often wrapped into many employee benefit packages, also add up as separate line items – but with a flexible offering, snacks, kitchens, lounge spaces, gyms, wellness services, creative spaces, and game rooms are incorporated into the experience as part of your monthly fees allowing companies to ultimately save and reinvest in initiatives and expenses to propel business into the future.
Ensure safety. With safety being paramount to the reopening offices and the economy overall, incorporating flexible office space with this strategic lens provides an extra layer of comfort to businesses and employees. While the average office manager or HR employee may be excellent in their operating role, when it comes to safety, most are not equipped or trained to institute and monitor the latest safety measures needed to keep employees safe while at work – nor will they be able to learn these skills overnight. Flexible space providers create, implement, and enforce strict protocols and guidelines to ensure safety so businesses can protect their most important asset – their employees. For example, Convene has taken a multi-layered approach to safety and risk-reducing measures, which includes not only intensified cleaning methods and updated layouts to accommodate social distancing, but the active monitoring of employees and members’ health, and disclosures within the community regarding positive cases or potential exposure.
Save time. Finding and building an actual space is a massive time investment when you consider signing the sourcing process, lease signing, designing, building, and personalizing. Flexible spaces are ready for move-in and come with thoughtful staff to on-board employees quickly, safely, and with a human-first approach.
Increased productivity. As working styles become more hybrid, people need spaces that work best for their needs and comfort level. Having dedicated times and places to work from when you need them makes it easier to manage blocks of time and is proven to increase productivity. One missing piece in the productivity conversations in workspaces is hospitality – feeling so comfortable within a space that you can express yourself to the best of your ability and put your best work forward. With a layer of high-touch hospitality that goes beyond water coolers and packaged snacks, flexible spaces are able to provide a human centric experience that puts the needs of individuals first, making productivity and creativity the norm.
Premium Technology and Infrastructure. With so much of the future of work turning virtual, and the rate of change innovation skyrocketing, the last thing businesses and employees need to worry about is having the latest and most reliable technology. Flexible spaces often have speedy connections and built-in tech teams who can streamline technology in real time while prioritizing security and ease. With flexible spaces, technology can take into account a disparate workforce – connecting employees onsite while accommodating those working remotely through their variety of products and tools allowing all to connect seamlessly.
Managing and operating a business in 2020 and beyond requires a layered approach and customized solutions. “While the overall office market may reduce by 10-20%, the demand that remains will shift even more towards flexible office space,” says Luke Appleby, Co-Founder at London real-estate brokerage, Kontor. One size does not fit all, but being flexible creates new pathways to build workplaces of the future. With cost and time savings, safer spaces, more productive and connected teams, the possibilities for innovation are endless.