Given the amount of time employees spend at work, it’s easy for individuals to grow attached to their personal workspaces. As businesses across the country trend towards open concept designs with fewer enclosed spaces, employees are increasingly encouraged to find areas outside of their personal workstation or office to conduct business. A 2019 Gensler Research Institute workplace study found employees are not happy with completely private workspaces but are not happy with fully open spaces either. How do you satisfy employees on both sides of the spectrum? Create a flexible workplace.
Flexible workplaces allow employees the general comfort of the traditional workstations they are accustomed to while allocating space for both collaboration and private discussions. Teams and coworkers can choose to formally connect in a bookable meeting room or drop by a huddle space for an ad-hoc chat. Employees are able to seek out spaces that best fit their privacy needs for large or small discussions. In essence, employees can select a space that fits the needs of each individual task or meeting.
Flexible workspaces also allow employees to take greater control of their health. Moving between a workstation to a collaboration space or soft-seating area gets employees up and out of their seat. A 2014 Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine study found workers who alternated between sitting and standing every 30 minutes noticed reduced fatigue and discomfort compared to their seated counterparts. In this way, flexible workspaces are not only adaptable to the office’s needs but also the body’s needs.
Flexible workspaces sound like a great investment but acclimating to the space isn’t always easy. Our Workplace team pulled together four easy shifts organizations can take to start adapting to a new office concept quickly.
Four Shifts Employees Can Make to Transition to flexible Spaces
- Start close to homebase. Encourage employees to set up an alternative work location close to their personal workspace. This allows for minimal disruption if an employee forgets something like a laptop charger.
- Book a different conference room. Book a space on a different floor or area of the office to help employees experience new spaces and perspectives.
- Move conversations into a collaboration space. Be respectful of colleagues; whenever possible, move conversations into dedicated collaboration spaces and away from work zones to reduce noise distractions for others.
- Remove noise distractions. If noise distractions get to be too much, utilize different methods of audio masking, such as noise-reducing headphones or white noise machines.
Open and flexible workplaces don’t need to mean losing the right to privacy; instead, employees gain the ability to choose locations were they can complete their best work. Interested in learning more about flexible spaces and how to implement them? Reach out to our Workplace team and check out our collection of Workplace change blogs.