May 18, 2021 by Andrea Rajic
Flexible office spaces are the preferred choice for more and more large corporations and startups. They are cheaper, more scalable, and more diverse than traditional office buildings. We covered the basics of flexible workspaces in a separate article, so let's dive straight into choosing a flexible office space for your company.
The critical factors to consider when choosing a flex office space are location, layout, scalability, cost, and tech infrastructure. Before starting any talks with flex space vendors, make sure to answer these questions - you'll have a clearer image of whether flexible offices work for your company.
The first step in evaluating flex office spaces for any company is creating the basic use case. Companies that are remote-first and offer flex spaces as perks to their employees have a different use case than office-based companies that want to implement a different real estate model. Flex offices work great in both of these cases, but the search and criteria can differ significantly.
Start by determining whether you want flex spaces for everyday use, or as a perk employees will tap into a few days a week. Your employees can help you out a lot with this - use a return to workplace survey or engagement survey and ask them how they prefer to work and why.
Some workers prefer to work from a flex office or coworking space as they don't have the ideal work conditions at home. Their productivity and engagement could benefit from a dedicated workspace they can use whenever they want to. Connecting and collaborating with team members can do wonders for their well-being and mental health.
Map out the number of employees who will use flex spaces and their respective locations. You will get an approximate number of people who would benefit from a flexible workspace and some cost calculations.
Compared to traditional office spaces, flex spaces offer greater location versatility. Some workspace providers have a strong presence in multiple cities and countries, while others are more local. Your basic use case scenario will be very helpful in answering the following questions and determining your location preferences:
Once you have a shortlist of locations and the number of employees, you can move on to the workspace design and structure.
The standard office has a straightforward design - usually a combination of open offices, private offices, and the dreaded cubicles. Most of these office layouts are either outdated or only useful for specific activities. In contrast, flex spaces are more complex design-wise, as they include different work areas.
Most people juggle between meetings, focused work, and collaborative sessions multiple times every day. To optimize the workflow, they need different areas for each of these tasks. Consider and note whether your team needs any or all of these areas:
Meeting rooms & conference rooms for team video calls, client presentations, and quiet phone calls
Collaborative workspaces for creative teamwork involving brainstorming and whiteboarding
A shared office space that a team can book when the need arises
A private office dedicated to your team only
A hot desking area where employees can take any free desk and work there
A desk hotelling area where your team books a specific table for their workday
Apart from the above-mentioned options, all flex offices and coworking spaces usually offer a communal seating area where people can catch up and work more casually, and a shared kitchen and dining area.
Finally, make a note about the importance of specific furnishings in the office design. The modern work environment often focuses on ergonomics and its impact on the health of employees. If you have any particular demands in terms of ergonomic chairs and desks, put them on your criteria list.
Scalability is one of the biggest benefits of flexible workspaces for the enterprise. Instead of renting a huge building with a fixed amount of space, now companies can scale their office presence up and down when they need to.
This is equally handy for small businesses and hyper-growth companies, who can now tailor their office space needs to their precise employee count and location. Up and downsizing also benefits companies in multiple locations, since they can easily shift between geographies.
The flex spaces didn't get their name just because they enable workers to have flexible hours. They enable businesses to avoid long-term lease commitments and plan their real estate in the short term.
Depending on your basic use case scenario and your flexible office provider, you can use daily passes for employees, monthly subscriptions for teams, or dedicated spaces and tailor-made features for the entire company.
Upon deciding on a model and an approximate budget, you can dive into the fine details of the flex space you want.
A good flexible working space requires some basic elements that differentiate it from a coffee shop. First of those is strong and reliable WiFi connectivity that can withstand all those Zoom calls and collaborative tools we use every day. For most teams, it's important for that connectivity to be secure and compliant with their company's data security protocols.
Then, we have the standard office amenities: printers, whiteboards, snacks, coffee, and tea. Apart from those, it's good to have a working environment that is well designed, pleasant, and comfortable. Here, we're talking open space dining areas, lots of natural light, and some outdoor spaces, like terraces or rooftops.
The final element of flexible workspaces to consider is occupancy. Thanks to the pandemic, a lot of people only come into offices part-time or in a reduced capacity. Make sure to ask your flexible office space provider about the occupancy rates, especially for shared workspaces.
With a network of locally-vetted, unique workspaces in different locations, Gable is your guide in the world of flexible work. Tell us your needs, and we'll make a tailored proposal for your team's best work experience. Get in touch!