Condeco and PLASTARC co-hosted a webinar focused on what it means to adopt a flexible work environment and how to best approach this transformation. Angela Bennett, Condeco’s Director of Major Accounts, and Melissa Marsh, PLASTARC’s Principal and Founder, discussed which trends are driving the shift towards flexibility, strategies for capitalizing on flexibility in the workspace and some of the key components of what a flexible work environment calls for.
Here are the four key takeaways from the webinar to keep in mind when preparing the transition to a flexible workspace:
- Flexibility in the workspace is no longer an option; it’s a requirement
In the past few years, there has been an increase in the speed of change toward more flexible workspaces. As commercial real estate prices continue to rise, companies are looking to compress their real estate footprints in order to lower costs. But, although those financial benefits are attractive, they are not the only reason why companies are seeking to make their workspaces more flexible. The shift is also rooted in changing employee expectations. Nowadays, employees prefer to work in a physical environment that meets their individual needs. Moreover, they want to work in an office where they have the ability to adjust the temperature, lighting and humidity according to their own preferences. As the traditional workplace can no longer address these changing needs, flexibility is rapidly becoming a key strategy to attract and retain top talent.
- Technology plays a vital role in the flexible work environment
When companies roll out flexible workspace strategies without using technology, they are destined to fail. Only with the use of smart technologies can companies derive accurate insight into how their spaces are being used on a day-to-day basis. By breaking out the datasets per team, per floor or per desk, companies can finally move away from traditional real estate measures such as cost per person and cost per square feet to metrics that are focused on the workspace tenants, such as occupancy, utilization and individual preferences. Thanks to smart technologies, the workplace can increasingly mirror a hotel experience in the way that tenants can adjust the lighting, temperature and humidity according to their own preferences.
- Communicate employees’ responsibilities when giving them autonomy
Some companies shy away from creating a more flexible workspace out of fear that an environment where employees can choose when, where and how to work will ultimately result in the employer losing control of the workforce. However, as long as employees know which objectives and deliverables they are working toward, they will be more productive when given more freedom, since this allows them to set up their space and time in a more personalized, productive way as compared with those who are in more restricted environments.
- Communication and authenticity are key to implementation success
When a company makes the transition to a flexible workspace, it is asking its employees to plan ahead and think about what space would work best for the specific task that they need to fulfill that day. It is essential to communicate to the workplace tenants that they will end up getting more out of the space that is available to them, as they will be able to work wherever they believe they can be most productive. Furthermore, the workplace solution needs to align with the value proposition of the organization. The gap between successful and unsuccessful deployment of flexible workspace strategies can often be attributed to a gap in authenticity. Companies need to mirror their business vision in the physical work environment and walk the walk.