How to Design a Flexible Office Space
April 29th, 2022 | Best Office Furniture
Productivity is a key to the profitability and long-term success of a business. As we return to the workplace, after having long been in a work-from-home setup, organizations are putting more emphasis on helping their employees get back in the zone.
Increasing employee productivity is more than a matter of structure, location, or setting of your office. It also involves the layout of your office furniture, the flow, and the overall vibe of the workplace. Continue reading as we share some insights into how you can design a flexible office space that can boost your business’s productivity and motivate your employees to get their work done.
What Makes a Flexible Office Space?
Flexible working describes any working pattern that falls outside of traditional office work arrangements. It can mean working in different locations—with employees working in different areas within the same office, or with others working in a remote location—or working staggered hours.
Now, a flexible workspace should be able to adapt to the specific and changing requirements of an organization at any given time, and scalable to accommodate the diverse needs of its team members. While a flexible office is composed of things you’ll find in a traditional office e.g. desks, chairs, and drawers, it looks slightly different. It incorporates elements that help promote teamwork, similar to the ones you’ll find in shared workspaces and open office floor plan concepts to name a few.
Below are some essential factors that govern flexible office spaces.
- Open floor plans
Open, flexible spaces are displacing cubicles in favor of shared working areas. The lack of physical boundaries is designed to not only maximize the floor space but also promote teamwork and make people more accessible.
- Breakout spaces
A breakout area is any space open to employees to take a break from the stress and noise of their usual working area. It can be a place for them to think clearly, relax, eat their lunch, or even hold small meetings.
- Shared resources
In a flexible space, resources such as printers, copy machines, and office supplies are available to everyone. Other common areas such as conference rooms are also accessible to employees.
How to Create a Flexible Workspace in 8 Steps
Thinking beyond the pandemic, a good flexible workspace should be optimized for safety, comfort, mobility, functionality, and adaptability. It should boost productivity and allow employees to work how they want to work by providing access to the resources and facilities to help get things done.
- De-formalize spaces
The concept of flexible spaces isn’t characterized by the space itself but by how you use it. Start by deformalizing spaces that are traditionally reserved for a single purpose. For example, the conference room you only use for the weekly catch-up may be the perfect space for activity-based working or simply someplace to quietly take a lunch break. You can also re-configure a large area to create multiple, smaller spaces for training, meetings, etc. temporarily dividing them using mobile privacy screens.
- Establish quiet areas
Assigning areas specifically for quiet, uninterrupted work hours is critical for the success of a flexible workspace. It should enable employees to focus and decrease external distractions, thus should be off-limits for phone calls, chatting, loud music, eating, etc., and stationed away from areas prone to high traffic e.g. near the bathrooms, kitchens, and breakrooms.
- Set up phone booths
With phone calls restricted in the common work areas, flexible offices should also designate phone booths, complete with sound-proofing panels. It affords employees, particularly the sales staff, some privacy without being too loud or distracting to other team members.
- Focus on technology
Because employees have more freedom in where they work, ensure that there are easily accessible outlets to plug in their devices and a stable Internet connection in every part of the office. Conference tables, for example, can have power outlets built in to reduce clutter from power cables and cords. While at it, you might as well standardize the AV setup across different rooms, so meetings will be as frictionless as possible wherever you choose to hold them.
- Invest in ergonomic furniture solutions
The best office furniture is designed to create an ergonomic workspace with comfort, mobility, and efficiency in mind. Think of chairs with height, arm, back, and reclining adjustments; and adjustable height desks that reduce the amount of time you spend sitting down throughout your workday.
- Add more storage
Besides tables and chairs, employees will also require filing cabinets and drawers to keep their paperwork. Consider storage solutions that can double as movable dividers or wall-mounted storage options to save more floor space. You can also provide private lockers where your employees can keep their personal belongings. This is especially valuable when team members don’t have dedicated workspaces.
- Think of various seating options
Placing a variety of well-made, ergonomic chairs allows for a multitude of setups that can accommodate teams of varying sizes. Also playing with chairs such as rockers, bean bags, and sofas in common areas such as lobbies can ensure that everyone has optimal seating options.
- Add more greens
More than livening up the space, plants provide health benefits such as reducing airborne allergens and increasing the overall indoor air quality. Choose plants that do well indoors—hang them or use them as table or corner decorations—and create a homey feel in your office.
It will take time and creative planning to create a fully-functioning flexible workspace. While there are many ways to do so, the key is to design a space that responds to how your organization will use it. It should be equipped with amenities that enable employees to move around conveniently and work together seamlessly.
Arenson Office is a leading provider of office furniture in San Diego. Visit our website today to discover a comprehensive range of furniture solutions that can help boost productivity in the workplace and contribute to the overall success of your business.
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