Did you know that 40 to 50% of jobs in a company are unoccupied? If this figure shocks you, it is the reality that is driving companies to change the way they organize and redesign their offices.
After the open space, the flex office is coming in and more than 16% of companies have already adopted this concept (study conducted by Deskeo) .Even if this figure seems paltry to you, in 2021, according to a study carried out by JLL, 59% of businesses say they are interested in the flex office.
So what is flex office, what are its pros and cons, and how do you set it up?
What is the flex office?
Put back in the spotlight, the flex office is winning over more and more businesses.
Under this Anglicist, what does this new form of organization hide?
The flex office corresponds to the absence of assigned workstations for employees.
This type of organization combines the two types of organizations that we all know, traditional offices and open space. There will be collaborative spaces as well as individual workstations.
It allows companies to have an optimized workspace where everyone is free to choose where they want to work according to their tasks of the day.
The flex office was born from 3 observations:
- the unequal use of the premises made available for the company's employees: between outdoor tasks, vacations, holidays or even sick leave, more and more space remains unused in offices;
- the digital revolution: it allowed everyone to access their work tools anywhere and at any time;
- The importance of the personal life of employees : Employees are increasingly committed to balancing their professional and personal lives. In addition, many people want to get away from time constraints and long commutes.
Following these findings, it seemed obvious for businesses that had underoccupied offices to find a solution.
For this, the combination of offices and collaborative spaces was created and the flex office was born.
This concept seems new, but in reality its appearance in France dates back to the early 1990s in the offices of the consulting firm Andersen Consulting.
This concept already seemed innovative at the time, but it was quickly overtaken by that of open space.
It is only with the health crisis and the increase in interest in the well-being of employees that it will resurface in 2020.
What does that mean in real life?
In everyday life, employees of this type of company bring their equipment to the office and choose their workspace or they work outside the office at the desired location.
Regarding the choice of spaces, an employee can choose an office/closed area if they want to work in a quiet environment and an open space if they want to work with colleagues on a joint project.
In offices, there are regularly personal storage areas for everyone to avoid repeated transport with their equipment.
Not to be confused: flexible office vs flex office
Often confused, flexible office is the French translation of flex office, but it is also a term that refers to the rental of workspaces for a period of, generally, from one to three hours.
If you then want to talk about the mode of organization, you should then use the term English.
Why choose the flex office?
The flex office is a very interesting solution for businesses that reduces the costs of occupied spaces.
However, what are the advantages and disadvantages on the company's business and employees?
As you could have previously understood, the flex office allows you to reduce space but also to reduce the costs associated with managing workspaces.
It also allows:
- of stimulate creativity and productivity of each of the employees thanks to the choice of the environment according to their missions;
- Ofhave a better balance between professional and personal life because the flex office offers more freedom and more freedom to choose to work where you want.
- Ofhave cleaner premises because the offices belong to everyone and everyone will be responsible for cleaning their workspace after their session;
- Ofhave more engaged employees because this type of organization imposes management based on trust and employees will feel more involved;
- Ofencourage social ties because by promoting changes in the environment and travel, the flex office encourages employees to establish relationships with various departments in your company;
- of Reduce the feeling routine thanks to an environment in action.
As with everything, the flex office also has disadvantages.
To ensure that the establishment of this type of organization is a success, it is important to be aware of these various points.
Among the disadvantages, we can find:
- The feeling of loneliness which is reinforced by the choice of work locations. A person who will have a lot of individual missions will tend to use closed offices to promote productivity.
- The decrease in office personalization because as the offices are no longer assigned, employees are forced to leave the offices empty and this can affect their belonging to your company
- The establishment of rules to be respected due to the need for organization imposed by the flex office.
- The overoccupancy of spaces due to the decrease in space. During a transition, employees are often reluctant to change their routine and will tend to want to come more than usual, which will lead to overwork. In the long term, a lack of organization can lead to having too many employees on your site on the same day.
Thoughts to have before choosing the flex office
In order to ensure this transition for your employees without reducing the performance of your organization, we advise you to think about these various points:
Evaluate the occupancy rate of your offices
To implement a new organization of your offices, it is important to measure the occupancy rate of your offices. This will allow you to be confident in your choice or to realize that it may not be the best solution.
Be careful, do not underestimate the occupancy rate because you may end up with overcrowded offices when you switch to the flex office.
Identify the types of activities in your business
Identifying the types of activities of your company will allow you to nourish your choice of spaces to devote to your employees.
To help you, most companies identify 6 different activities: concentration work (individual), administrative work (e.g.: email), audio interactions (calls, videoconferences), collaborative work (as a team), informal exchanges and external meetings.
Depending on the types of activities you have identified, you will need to provide at least one space for each one.
Identify the different spaces you have
In parallel with the identification of the types of activities, the identification of your spaces will allow you to build a unique flex office. Here, it's about noting the different spaces you already have.
Think about the different possible spaces to set up
When you have addressed the 3 previous points, you can then think about the new spaces that you think are necessary to set up in your offices.
We can only advise you to increase the number of spaces to promote the productivity and well-being of your employees.
For example, you can add a room dedicated to naps. Although napping is a sensitive subject in most jobs, several studies agree that naps would be as beneficial for the employee as the company. In fact, a 20-minute nap after 6 hours after waking up would improve productivity by 40%.
Think about the type of management to put in place
The type of organization of a company often has an influence on the management put in place. A company with closed offices will tend to practice directive management while a company practicing open space will have a rather persuasive management.
In the context of the flex office, it is more difficult to practice vertical management and it is necessary to rely on the trust of your employees.
In the types of management based on trust and letting go, we recommend that you take an interest in delegative or participatory management.
How do you set it up?
In order to maximize the advantages and minimize the disadvantages of flex office, it is important to put in place the right methods and the right tools.
To make sure you don't forget anything, we've prepared a list of chronological steps for you:
1. Achieve a digital transition
As you will have understood, the flex office requires that anyone in the company can work in any location.
To do this, you will need to set up a common cloud for all employees and offer communication tools.
We advise you to adopt the tool Google WorkSpace for your cloud that will allow you to store, create shared spaces and create a multitude of types of documents (spreadsheet, presentation, written document).
As for a communication tool, we recommend using the Slack platform. This platform facilitates collaboration by allowing you to coordinate your various missions and it also offers the possibility of synchronizing with other platforms such as Google Workspace.
2. Have a space reservation tool
To combat overcrowding, it is essential to have a reservation tool.
This tool will allow you to manage the occupancy of all your spaces and your reservation schedules.
We strongly recommend that you use The Moffi tool, which offers this type of platform and also allows you to book rooms for all types of events (team building, integration day, etc.) when you do not have sufficient space on your premises.
3. Set up new rules
This new type of organization will guide you towards management based on trust, but it is important to establish rules to ensure the organization of trust.
In order to avoid overcrowding of spaces and promote the hygiene of your premises, you can ask your employees to have mandatory attendance days or to tidy/clean their work areas after use.
4. Make the same tools available across all workspaces
So that each employee can work anywhere on your premises, remember to put the necessary tools (screen, connections, etc.) for each type of work on all workstations.
In the same vein, consider lending all the people in your organization the equipment they need to work outside your premises.
5. Offer personal spaces
To make all employees in your organization feel good and to avoid carrying all their equipment every time they change workspace, consider setting up personal lockers so that they can put their personal effects or work belongings in.
6. Implement acoustic solutions to reduce noise in your premises and optimize your space
It is also important to maintain calm in your work spaces to promote everyone's productivity.
To do this, we advise you to integrate acoustic booths for phone calls. They will allow you to increase privacy and considerably reduce noise in collaborative spaces.
In our modern society, the professional world has changed profoundly in recent years by replacing partitioned spaces And the individual offices in Open-space. Motivated by a desire for productivity, the incentive to develop collective intelligence and collaborative work, these open offices However, they have significant disadvantages: the noise, its propagation in spaces and the weakening of productivity as a result of low acoustic performance.
Although the advantages of a open work environment No longer needs to be demonstrated, not taking into account the impact of noise pollution on the quality of life at work of employees exposes managers to underlying costs that are greatly underestimated. Over time, while open spaces respond to a need for innovation in management techniques, the propagation of noise within shared offices can be counterproductive.
Being acoustic pod manufacturer, we are not objective, of course, but you should know that according to Dynamic Workplace, 90% of meetings in companies take place between 2 and 3 people.
To avoid having large unused meeting rooms, acoustic booths will allow you to save space in addition to bringing a designer touch to your premises.
If you are interested in this type of product, we invite you to read our article which explains How to choose your future acoustic pod (or phone box for the most English speakers among us).
7. Train your managers
It is also necessary to think about training these managers in the transition and the new type of management that they will have to apply.
Subsequently, ask them to support the various parties in the company in this change in order to avoid isolation as well as to make it possible to energize teams and maintain team cohesion.
8. Prepare personalization workshops
To avoid losing the interest that your employees have in your company, it is important to involve them in the life of your company.
Consider workshops that will allow them to bring their personal touch to your premises.
For example, you can dedicate a wall in the break room for everyone to draw on or even offer a competition, in advance, to choose the decoration of local disputes.
9. Integrate vegetation into your offices
For an aesthetic aspect but also for the health of your employees, do not hesitate to fill your offices with flowers or plants. Plants play a depolluting and oxygenating role, by adding flowers to your spaces this will purify the air while reducing the level of Co2 and this will bring you a little decorative touch.
In addition, according to the University of Queensland, the presence of plants would increase productivity by 15%.
We advise you to go to Platan, a tailor-made vegetation workshop, which will beautify your desk.
10. Set up satisfaction questionnaires
After the switch to the flex office, set up satisfaction questionnaires that will allow you to judge the success of the flex office and to adjust the problems you may encounter.
This measurement may be weekly for the first three months and semi-annually thereafter.
Are you ready to change offices?
Thanks to all this information, you now know how to define the flex office and set it up!