Monday 9 am, I am discovering my new workspace: sofas, high tables, meeting bubbles, phone call spaces, plants…I am officially working in flex-office.
According to a study by Actinéo, nearly 50% of professionals work from outside their office at least occasionally, and 28% do so regularly. From home office to desk sharing and coworking spaces, the workplace is becoming more and more flexible.
The Flex office consists of the absence of an assigned office in the workplace. Imagine arriving in the morning with your laptop and settling where you want to go every morning. But is it a concept to adopt? In this article, you will find the advantages but also the risks that can appear with the flex office and personal feedbacks.
To better understand the concept let’s take a tour at Orange collaborative workspace office.
A win-win situation for both employee and company
The flex office appears after different observations such as the office occupancy rate of only 60% in France. But also that the digital revolution allows many workers to communicate with their team from anywhere. In addition, employees are increasingly turning to companies that offer a certain level of comfort. By moving away from the constraints of schedules and journeys, they can gain in serenity and productivity.
The flex office meets different needs and desire:
An employee’s tasks vary from day to day. Analysis, data entry, call, content creation, brainstorming, meeting… Choosing your work environment according to the activity of the day is a real factor of productivity.
Usually grouped within the same department, employees rarely can exchange ideas externally. With the flex office concept, barriers are removed to allow everyone to connect easily by sharing ideas and knowledge.
Collaborative spaces allow two people from different departments to meet face-to-face and take the time to discuss current issues. A simplified communication is created. Employees then have a better understanding of all the company’s businesses and are more collaborative and engaged.
3. Space optimization
For the company, every square meter of unoccupied space represents high costs. The layout of the spaces is, therefore, important when we know that 60% of the offices would be unoccupied on a daily basis.
The flex-office makes it possible to remove a large part of these vacant spaces to make them user-friendly and useful spaces.
Flex office is not for everyone
This new spatial organization is not without consequences for employees. According to an OpinionWay barometer from 2017, 68% of a thousand employees surveyed are afraid of desk-sharing.
Depending on the functions of each person, the flex office experience can thus be lived in very different ways. For example, those who work in project mode and spend their time running from one place to another in the open space will probably get used to this mode of spatial organization. For others, the break can be brutal and employees can feel lost. Where is the picture of my loved ones, or what happened to that pile of files still lying around on my desk?
Here are some examples of tension created by the flex office:
1. Loss of personal space
As I told you earlier, with the flex-office employees have their workspace completely modified. Used to a dedicated office and personalized to their image, it can be difficult to imagine becoming a nomad.
The flex office, if poorly controlled, can have the opposite effect to that expected. It is important to provide many collaborative spaces and to regularly bring together your teams in order to accustom them to group together on their own.
3. Caring management
For the flex office concept to work, the company must be based on trust. An essential value for happy and productive employees. As positions are no longer allocated and compartmentalized, it is difficult for a manager to have a constant eye on the presence of his teams. Between teleworking, collaborative spaces, cafeteria or meeting box, the employee can be anywhere at any time.
Hence the need to organize regular meetings with his team in order to monitor the progress of projects.
Many companies have adopted this new working organization, such as Sanofi or BNP Paribas. For the flex office concept to work, the company must prepare its employees. For example, organizational issues will have to be considered beforehand to reassure employees and allow a smooth transition. And you are you ready to move on to desk sharing?