October 30, 2022 by Andrea Rajic
Table of contents
Flex spaces are no longer just for small businesses or startups. Large companies and multinational corporations are starting to pick up the pace and introduce flex offices to their real estate portfolios.
But what are the benefits of these workspaces, and how can you get on board, too? Read on to find out.
Flexible office spaces are a type of workspace adaptable to the changing needs of companies and designed to accommodate employees with various working preferences and requirements. Flexible offices don’t require long-term leases or contracts, so companies and employees can use them at will on a pay-as-you-go basis.
Flex spaces are a new, different way of looking at and using commercial real estate that sets companies free of long-term contracts and fixed costs. When an organization uses flex spaces, employees everywhere get access to a workspace nearby, provided by the company, with no mandates or requirements to come in daily.
The rise of remote work during and post-pandemic has brought a workplace landscape that has changed radically. Employees are demanding flexibility in locations and no longer see the need to come into the office for 8 hours every day. They’re so enamored with flexibility that they are willing to switch jobs over it or even take pay cuts.
So what does this mean for traditional office spaces? Their occupancy rates are dropping, while 59% of companies plan to increase the use of flex spaces in the upcoming years. This isn’t just because employees don’t want to come into the office. Studies show that while employees want to work remotely most of the time, they still want to see their coworkers in person and foster authentic connections.
The purpose of offices is evolving, and so are the build-outs and layouts of office spaces. For example, desk stations and open-plan spaces are becoming redundant, while collaborative spaces are more popular as they enable collaboration and connection. So organizations are turning to flex spaces to provide employees with spaces for meetups and connection without constraining them to a single location.
Flexible office spaces give companies much-needed flexibility and help them design a workplace that fits the needs of employees. So let’s see why a growing number of organizations plan to incorporate flexible workspaces into their real estate strategy in the future:
The first and often most significant reason companies opt for flex spaces is the cost. Flex spaces have flexible lease terms and pay-as-you-go models. This means companies can offer flex offices and coworking spaces for employees to use when they want. This saves money because you only pay for the space when employees use it, and you don’t have an empty space sitting around.
Using flex spaces instead of traditional offices makes companies more resilient to changes in the real estate markets. As a result, you no longer have to suffer increased office property costs and occupier uncertainty.
The cost differences are significant, as flex spaces don’t require deposits, fitting expenses, or hassle with maintenance fees. If we consider all these, the sf/yr price of flex spaces is much lower than office spaces. Real estate savings can be used for other purposes that help you retain the best talent, like better health care coverage, more perks and benefits, and an improved wellness strategy.
Want to know how much companies spend on flexible workspaces? Download our report and see how others spend their flex space budgets and plan for future expenses!
If your company has employees across the US, managing facilities and offices becomes expensive and time-consuming. With remote work, it becomes virtually impossible to have offices everywhere employees are. In some cities, you’ll have only a handful of employees, so signing an office lease isn’t financially viable.
But with flexible offices, you can accommodate employees in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and any other city without signing leases or hiring office managers. In exchange, your employees can access workspaces and conference rooms whenever they need to, without having to commute to an office every day.
And when your headcount is growing, your real estate footprint can grow, too. No contracts to sign - you just need to expand your flex space offerings, which you can do in a matter of weeks!
Another benefit of using flex spaces is that they make it easier for companies to showcase and maintain their culture in a remote setting. The main challenge of HR teams in remote companies is to ensure employees feel the company culture, but flex spaces can help.
Employees still want to see each other in person, build relationships, and feel connected to their peers — they just don’t want to come in five days a week. Companies that understand this shift often turn to flexible spaces to help employees design intentional in-person experiences. Empowering employees to choose how and when they work together shows a culture of trust, independence, and connection, which employees appreciate.
If we know that engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave their employers, it’s clear why employee engagement is a priority in companies worldwide. The relationship between employers and employees in a remote world has changed, and new challenges start to arise.
Remote workers are often at risk of burning out and feeling pressure to always work and be available. And while this can bring short-term productivity spikes, in the long run, it makes workers disengaged and unhappy.
In this new work environment, seeing each other in person can help remote employees connect and boost their engagement. For example, the team at Postclick sees a clear correlation between engagement scores and in-person encounters in their Sales team. Using flex spaces as tools to increase connection helps companies engage their people and make them happier.
And while we’re on the topic of engagement, we can’t miss mentioning employee retention. These two come hand in hand, as engaged employees stay in the company longer, show a better sense of belonging, and ultimately do their jobs better than their less engaged peers.
Retaining employees is at the forefront of People and HR strategies in companies of all sizes, as employee turnover can be costly. And in a new workplace landscape, offering the option of flexibility and remote work is a failproof tactic to retain employees.
Think about it: it’s much less costly to retain an existing employee than hire a replacement. And if that employee wants to work flexibly, offering a flex space option will make them happy while still providing a space for collaboration and connection when they need it.
Improving retention is a high-priority effort for organizations with good reason, but we all know employees sometimes leave. And when it’s time to hire new talent, companies need to be well-positioned to attract the best and brightest.
Offering a flexible work environment is the safest way to ensure your company is an attractive employer. Providing access to flex offices without asking people to come in on a fixed schedule will help attract better candidates.
Giving employees a perk like flexible workspaces signals to candidates that you understand their needs and are ready to adapt while offering the space they need to connect.
Finally, one of the most significant benefits of flex office spaces for companies is the visibility they get into how their workplace is doing. While just giving out coworking memberships to employees doesn’t do much in terms of insights, there are platforms (yes, Gable is one of them!) that make it easy to oversee your workplace strategy from one place.
Let’s say you have employees in 20 different cities across the US. With a platform like Gable, you can offer flex spaces to employees in all those cities with just a few clicks. But it doesn’t stop there - you get access to a dashboard that lets you track usage and employee satisfaction and set and monitor budgets and spending.
For HR, People Ops, and Workplace leaders, flex spaces and platforms that help manage them give unique insights and data they couldn’t get before. With real-time visibility and precious insights, you can now report and make informed decisions about your workplace strategy — and ensure employees love what you’re offering.
From cost savings to better insights for People teams, flex offices offer benefits you shouldn’t ignore. Make the best of both worlds and give your remote employees the space to meet and connect wherever they live.
Set up your distributed team for success
Help employees connect with access to remote workspaces and stay on top of budget spending, usage data and trends, and employee feedback.