Workplace Flexibility Series: Part 1 of 3
What Makes A Flexible Workspace
The demand for workplace flexibility has increased over the past decade. Employee expectations and workplace culture have moved from the midnight oil mentally and are now more focused on creating a balanced work-to-life ratio.
Workplace flexibility emphasises a business’ ability to adapt when there is a change in the work landscape. This is especially important regarding when and how employees get the work done.
What Is A Flexible Workplace?
A flexible workplace creates flexible employees that can adapt to any situation. Employers can encourage this adaptability when they give their employees more freedom over how, when, and where they work within a flexible workplace.
Flexible workplaces are crucial in this change, but what makes a workplace flexible? Three main pieces come together to form a flexible workplace – office flexibility, environmental flexibility and lifestyle flexibility.
Flexibility Within The Office
The environment employees work in affects the quality and volume of work they complete. Creating physical flexibility within the office can give them more options of where and how to complete their work and allow for more movement. A few simple examples of physical flexibility include:
- Creating open floor plans that can break down into smaller areas for employees to collaborate easier is one way to achieve this.
- Quiet areas provide employees with a space to focus on tasks without interruptions. Whether it’s soundproof booths or a quiet corner, it’s an essential part of any flexible office.
- Everyone needs different tools to get their jobs done, and it can be challenging to hunt around every time they may need something. An easy fix to this issue is providing a centralised tool or amenities area to share resources and streamline work.
- When designing an office fitout, consider how and where your employees work. Create an array of workstations that allow employees to move freely and work in unison.
Office layouts that provide comfort, safety and multi-functionality are the most adaptable to meet employees’ needs. Flexible spaces can enhance productivity by creating more access to shared areas and resources that they wouldn’t have with a strict desk system.
More Flexibility About Where Employees Work
Outside of physical flexibility, workplaces can also help employees achieve a work-life balance by controlling when and where they work. Three easy ways to implement this in your business include;
- Telecommuting – Working in an office isn’t for everyone, but that doesn’t mean letting go of employees with a proven track record. Telecommuting allows employees to work from anywhere (home offices, co-working spaces, in office), where that’s a part of their contract or a company-wide policy for mental health days, life changes or just bad weather.
- Condensed Work Week – If you want to try a shorter work week (3 or 4 days), then a condensed work week where there are more hours than a typical work day (i.e. 7 am – 6 pm) can allow your employees more down time during their week, without compromising their hours.
- Staggered Office Hours – Depending on the type of workspace you operate, creating more flexibility about when employees arrive and depart can benefit those early birds and those that focus better later in the day.
Flexibility in the workplace comes in many forms, but we can break it down into in-office and out-of-office categories to make it easier to digest. When businesses consider their employee’s needs and happiness when deciding how the company will run, they are more likely to retain these same employees for longer.
At A1 Office, we strongly believe that employee experience and attitudes can shape your workplace culture. The trend we see the most in current media is flexibility in the workplace. If you’re interested to learn more about the current workplace trends and employee expectations, sign up for our newsletter here.