This morning there was another article in the newspaper about employees not happy with flexible workplaces a.k.a. shared desks. So, it’s about time to also reflect on the positive aspects of flexible workplaces.
For example, they’re super sustainable. If we all share our workplaces, we need less than half of the current office capacity. That’s on a complete different scale than saving a few percent on energy use. Imagine that we turn half of these offices into homes and leisure spaces for recreation and relaxation. That would make a significant contribution to solving the housing shortage. It would also help with integrating living, working and recreation.
Offices with flexible workplaces are also much less remodeled and adapted than offices with dedicated workplaces. This is because the flexibility then shifts from the building to the users, which become travellers along those facilities they need.
Flexible workplaces can be much more luxurious, because you need much less of them. In this way, the users get access to sitting / standing desks, bicycle seats, etc. What kind of workplace would you like to use?
Our own research shows that office users like to choose a workplace themselves. Whether or not near certain persons. It also helps them to work together better. From the employer’s point of view, cost savings, collaboration, sharing knowledge and stimulating encounters are seen as important benefits.
In order to enjoy sharing facilities, a building is needed that optimally supports the chosen work concept with flexible workplaces. Since office users prefer to stay on the same floor, it is important that on such a floor all the tastes of workplaces and other facilities are present. Think of rooms with flexible workplaces where it is very quiet. But also rooms where people can speak to each other and there is a cozy atmosphere. Do not make them too large with too many desks. Then you would create an unpopular office garden. Or call booths where you can make calls without disturbing others. Landing places to sit briefly, and do not forget the coffee corner!
Workplace concept and building, check! Then you would still have to make sure that the users are taken along to use it optimally and pleasantly. Because, of course, every change is exciting. Fortunately, there are sufficient market parties that can help in this entire process. Below some links to parties with relevant knowledge or experience:
Solution other challenges flexible workplaces
If all of the above are done, there are still some challenges for office users sharing flexible workplaces. How do you find a free desk with 2 screens, when it is busy? Where is your colleague who no longer has a dedicated desk? How do you find and book a meeting room on the go, when you meet someone you want to talk to? Moreover, from a feeling of scarcity, office users are increasingly coming to the office early to occupy a workplace with a coat or bag, and then sit down elsewhere (towel laying). Or they reserve certain facilities in advance and then don’t show up (no-show). The employer then gets all sorts of complaints that there are far too few desks and / or meeting rooms, but has no idea how the building is actually used. We have built a solution for those challenges. For more information, see the following page.
Flexible workplaces also have many positive aspects. With an appropriate work concept, a building that supports the concept, guidance on change and tools to tackle the remaining problems, working in an environment with flexible workplaces can also be very pleasant and super sustainable.