Reasons why flexible workspaces will be important going forward
Workspaces and offices across the world are seeing reduced occupancy as lockdowns of varying severity have had an inversely proportional effect on them. Over the last few months, there have been enough debates on the benefits and pitfalls of ‘work-from-home’ vs. commuting to the main office vs. hub and spoke models.
It is time we all took a moment to breathe. We have all been offered a rare opportunity to pause, take stock of matters and choose what paths we wish to lead. A lot of professionals, small and large companies are indeed taking stock of matters and deciding on what should be done going forward.
The way we work is being reconsidered in all kinds of ways. Should we take up a smaller space and have rotational WFH days? Or, should we create larger socially distant desking, hence requiring more space? How do we manage the safety protocols to create a safe work environment?
All questions surrounding the requirement of space revolves around the need for flexibility and usability. This is exactly where flexible workspaces will come to the rescue as they are able to offer the needed flexibility and operational reliance that can help companies traverse the times ahead. Outlining some of the reasons why they can be a boon going forward.
The need to expand or contract will depend a lot on internal policies of companies and how they wish to go forward. But to do it in the space that they currently use may prove to be difficult. A company may choose to downsize and rotate their teams in shifts but if you are in a lock-in, then doing so is going to be near impossible.
Flexible workspaces or co-working spaces can easily help in this regard as they are built to contract or expand on requirement. Managed office space requirements or enterprise requirements need a fair amount of customisation and that can be easily done in these spaces.
If you are a small company, then this can be of even greater value as you could possibly take up a hybrid program where you can use the desk or meeting rooms instead of tying yourself down to a fixed office space.
During these times, with the economy not in the best of shape, cost is on everyone’s mind.
Companies are looking for ways to reduce costs and improve their cash flows for the coming months. Office space monthly rentals and operational costs can add to your cash woes. With managed office spaces covering capital costs, the option to move out or expand is much easier for companies.
This option did not exist prior to the co-working boom. In addition to these advantages, flexible workspaces offer an all-inclusive monthly rental package that covers all the operation costs. With day-to-day operations and costs taken care of, companies can entirely focus on the longevity of the business.
Operational ease of use
Co-working spaces have created robust SOPs and revised them to address the requirements for Covid. Frequent sanitisation of common touch points, regular disinfection of the centre, more frequent deep cleaning cycles are some examples that ensure a clean space.
Acrylic barriers, social distancing in the common areas, alternate seating in meeting rooms, stringent entry and exit protocols help make the work environment safe for all. Just as a hotel is able to pivot and deal with this operationally for their travelling guests, so have flexible workspaces. For individual companies and professionals, realigning their design to the new normal is not only tedious but it also adds additional expenses.
Flaws of WFH all the time
The cracks of work-from-home are now beginning to show. Not enough space for work and family, blurred boundaries of personal and professional space are leading to signs of reduced productivity and fatigue. Professional disadvantages of data security, poor internet speed complicate WFH further.
While the disadvantages are a cause for concern, WFH does offer flexibility for employees. The current work-from-home scenario is sure to have a lasting impact on HR policies in companies. Companies may choose to have a hub and spoke model where they no longer look at a central office space. They might choose to have a distributed office space across different areas in the city. By opting for flexible workspaces, companies can offer a choice for employees to work out of a smaller, safe and focussed office space closer to their homes.
Covid-19 has definitely changed the way we work. In a post-Covid world, companies will look for solutions that provide flexibility, affordability and ease of operations. For large companies as well as startups, flexible workspaces can help them develop hybrid workspace models and easy to adapt working arrangements.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)