What's the Right Type of Workspace For Your Employees?

If you’re a manager, especially in the HR and People Operations department, you’re probably on the lookout to provide different workspace options for your employees. If the team you’re managing is remote, hybrid, or distributed across state or country borders - your search probably encompasses dozens of locations, space configurations, and real estate options as part of your workplace strategy.

In this article, we’ll try to help you decide on which space types to provide, give guidance on which roles need specific types of spaces, and how you can make the process of managing a hybrid workplace easier.

Why you need different workspace types

If your company employs knowledge workers of any kind, you likely already know that relying on the old open-space office no longer does the trick for most of your employees.

As the shift to hybrid and remote work accelerates, so does the evolution of the office - and employees expect to have work spaces that match and elevate their work. Increasing employee productivity is so much easier when they have an adequate place to work from, especially in a hybrid team.

Whether you have an office lease or work with flexible workspace providers, you need to give employees space to focus, collaborate, and everything in between - and that space is seldom a desk in an open-plan office.

How to know what type of workspace your employees need?

Knowing what kind of space to provide for which team, role, or employee isn't always straightforward. It requires asking employees questions and assessing each position and how they work.

You can start by dividing employees into key roles, ideally by department. Then, dive deeper into every role's daily tasks, workflows, and communications to make sure you have all the details covered.

For example, if a particular role requires a lot of meetings, talking to clients, or doing presentations, you need to provide a quiet workspace where employees can take calls undisturbed. Another role may have tasks that require individual work, making it critical for those employees to have a quiet space to focus.

When you hash out an initial structure of different workspaces your teams may need, check with them for additional preferences, like individual work styles.

Examples of workspace preferences by role

This section will cover a few basic types of workspace configurations and give examples of roles that may benefit from having access to these spaces.

Hot desks

We previously wrote about hot desking, and it essentially means employees don't have assigned desks in their workspace. Instead, they schedule a day to come into the office and use any available desk for the day.

Hot desking is an excellent option for roles where meetings are not the majority of an employee's day and where there is no need for a particular space setup to get the work done. Some examples are:

  • Marketers
  • Software developers
  • Designers
  • Social media and community managers
  • Analysts
  • Consultants

All these roles can work well in a hot desk space, especially if they're equipped with good headphones and have access to phone booths where they can take the occasional meeting.

Alternatively, employees in these roles can make great use of any well-equipped coworking space that provides a combination of open seating desks, meeting rooms, and phone booths.

Meeting spaces

As opposed to the roles we mentioned above, certain positions depend on a steady stream of daily meetings, calls, and presentations. Examples of these positions include:

  • Sales
  • Business development
  • Customer support
  • Customer success
  • HR and People teams

For these employees, it's critical to have a space where they can meet with stakeholders (both offline and online) and their team members and coworkers.

Apart from phone booths to take Zoom calls in, people in these positions need access to meeting rooms. They come in handy for a variety of needs, from a collaborative team session to a client meeting.

Dedicated offices

Finally, some roles may be better suited for dedicated office spaces. These can be in your company's headquarters or a coworking space you provide for your distributed workforce.

Positions that require a dedicated office aren't many. They usually come down to executives of all kinds, who benefit from a dedicated space where their team can find them to chat, work together, or have a check-in.

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Andrea Rajic