Flexible Design | What Is It And How Can It Be Successfully Implemented Into The Office?
Updated: May 4
FLEXIBLE DESIGN: WHAT IS IT
AND HOW CAN IT BE
INTO THE OFFICE?
An understanding of what flexible design is
and examples of how it can be incorporated into your office
to help boost employee productivity and morale.
WHAT IS IT?
What is flexible design and why is it important in today’s office? Flexibility is a measure of how we deal with unexpected occurrences. Flexible design is how we support those unexpected changes. But how do we foster flexibility in the workplace when not everyone bends the same?
The pandemic forced many employees not only to rethink the way they work, but also where they work. Adapting to the past few years has taught us to deal with unexpected situations in both our professional and personal lives.
A flexible mindset is an attitude that responds well to change. A flexible workplace is an environment that encourages that kind of mindset. The working patterns of flexible employees can fall outside of traditional office hours, locations, or job responsibilities. The most basic form of flexible work can be as straight forward as choosing your own start and finish times. But a flexible workplace can also involve novel employment arrangements such as job sharing, remote working, and condensed workweeks. - wework
When you have the freedom to choose your work style, you can do your best work. Offering not only various work spaces but also work schedules is essential to support flexibility in the workplace. Having ownership over your own schedule puts less stress on personal obligations - like dropping the kids off at school or taking the dog to the groomer - which fosters a healthier work-life balance.
A study by Stanford economist Nicholas Bloom of 16,000 workers found that those who were able to work remotely reported higher job satisfaction and took fewer sick days than their office-based colleagues.
So how does a company incorporate flexible design? What changes can be made to an office to support flexibility in the workplace? A good place to start would be to interview your employees. Figure out what kind of flexible arrangements they actually want and be realistic about what you can offer. Discuss their work styles and find out what their preferred environments are. Not all will be the same, but offering a few of the most common types of flexible arrangements that support their work styles will increase productivity and creativity.
And don’t assume this is a one-size-fits-all approach. Some companies can and will adopt the full hybrid model but other larger companies may only be able to accommodate in smaller portions. Companies with interdependent departments might not be able to have free-range on working hours and schedules, but they may be able to allow remote working, more paid time off, or a four day work week. To learn more about how to redesign your office to help support new work processes, check out our blog, "Hybrid Planning - Designing for the Evolving Workplace."
CHANGES IN OPERATIONS
& THE PHYSICAL OFFICE.
Flexibility isn’t just a change in operation or schedule - a large part of flexible design is the physical layout of the workspace. Offering various furniture vignettes tailored for individual working styles is another successful way to adapt to change and foster productivity. Create “working” spaces to encourage collaboration and creativity, or “quiet” spaces for heads-down workers. Redesigning the cafe or break room to include booth seating or bar top tables gives employees that coffee-shop feel while still being at the office. You can find more design ideas to incorporate a flexible office in our blog, "Less "Me" Space, More "We" Space | Re-utilizing Real Estate to Increase the Use of your Office."
A truly flexible workplace requires trust between employers and employees, and the autonomy to choose where and when we do our best work. That means reshaping the physical office to meet these new criteria. A more flexible office leads to a more agile business - one that promotes collaboration and creativity and is better able to navigate the unexpected. - wework
So where to start? Let us help you figure out if your office is ready for a change and how you can get from point A to point B. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out our contact form here. We look forward to the opportunity to work together!