As hybrid working proliferates quickly among the workplaces, more employers are implementing flexible workspace strategies that seem to combine very well with a hybrid workplace. In hybrid working, employees are allowed to alternate or “split” their schedules between work from home and in-person attendance.
According to multiple reports, hybrid remote working may be the future of our society. Mainstream news sites such as the BBC have published articles analyzing the situation that came out as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and its after-effects. The article mentions Alicia Tung, an employment expert from China, who says that the onsite and remote work will be split into sixty and forty percent in about ten years, respectively.
However, let’s not forget that each company is different, and not all of them may be able to continue offering a hybrid remote working model when the Coronavirus pandemic is over.
Still, it seems that more flexible office spaces are appearing over time, which can be hugely beneficial to most employers since it will offer them more opportunities to complete their obligations efficiently, in a way that allows them to be more comfortable with their workstations.
For that reason, today, we will be discussing some of the most popular flexible office space trends that have been widely used in the latest months. But before we start, let’s dive into the basics and answer a question that may have popped up in your mind already: what is a flexible workspace?
What is a flexible workspace?
A flexible working model refers to a workplace where "seats" or "desks" are unassigned. Thus, it is easily combinable with a hybrid working model as it allows employees to keep their distance and maintain the workplace in a less "dense" state, especially because the "freedom" to choose where to sit allows them to avoid creating big crowds within small spaces.
In other words, a flexible workspace is hugely compatible with a hybrid working model as it allows the employees to accommodate between their work-from-home hours and in-person attendance time easily.
As flexible working spaces have become more common in the modern-day, today we’ll explore the most popular trends that are applied to the flexible office space design that most workplaces have been implementing.
5 Flexible workspace trends
Now that we know what flexible workspaces are all about and how well it is combined with a hybrid working model let's get to know the most popular trends that have been incorporated into different companies, either permanently or temporarily.
1. Hot desking
First, on the list, there is hot desking. This type of flexible workspace allows all employees to select where to work as they arrive at the workplace. However, it is important to note this working model is not recent; it has been used for several years now as a method to promote camaraderie and collaboration between workers.
Hot desking is excellent for workspaces that want to take advantage of their space as much as possible. Still, some employees may be reluctant to the idea as they may feel bothered by the idea of searching for an available desk on a daily basis. These concerns become more serious if we take into account that it’s almost impossible to keep track of who used the desk previously and if it was appropriately sanitized.
This fact is reflected in a survey published by Gensler, which says that nineteen percent of employees prefer to "remove" hot desking from their workplace once they’re back to the office.
2. Desk hoteling
We’ve already talked about desk hoteling a couple of times on our blog, and it shares tons of similarities with a flexible workspace. However, there are enough differences to separate both terms. Thus, it is valid to consider desk hoteling as a sub-category within the flexible working model types.
In desk hoteling, office hoteling software is utilized by employees to “reserve” a desk before attending their workspace. It can also be done once they arrive at the workplace, at their convenience. In the modern-day, a mobile app seems more convenient as it allows workers to do so anywhere they are. Plus, it is more flexible than other models as it takes advantage of most of the space used by the employees, and it's easier to keep track of who used the desk and if it was properly sanitized.
However, certain cons apply. Your company may have to make a considerable investment in this new technology.
3. Community building is being held almost exclusively online
As most workplaces are implanting a combination between flexible working models and hybrid working, it's no surprise that most of the community building is being held via online activities.
However, please note that the regular meetings are not “enough” to keep track of your employees and observe if they’ve built meaningful bonds with their co-workers and the company in general. There are multiple ways to make those long, tedious meetings into something more didactic and entertaining, such as:
Playing games together – It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. You can play the online version of Pictionary via skribbl.io or Pinturillo, for instance. You may also try other games, such as escape rooms or quizzes. There are tons of possibilities!
Drinks and talks – Meetings don’t have to be that serious all the time. Instead of making Zoom meetings exclusively for company-related talks, it would be best if you tried to organize reunions where you and your employees grab a drink together and get to know each other. It's an excellent team building activity you can implement at least once or twice every month.
Next up, we have Activity-based working or ABW. Similar to what has been explained above, in this type of flexible workspace strategy, employees are able to select the location and day when they want to work, taking all of the concepts explained above even further.
However, in this type of flexible office space trend, all workers should have access to different types of spaces or environments equipped with the necessary hybrid work technology and tools so that they can complete specific tasks. Furthermore, not all of the spaces available should require a reservation.
There should be common flexible workspaces where employees should be allowed to sit down and get to know each other for a while. There should also be private spaces where they can, for instance, make phone calls without being interrupted.
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