Faced with unprecedented challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, many organizations have been compelled to spend a significant amount of their resources to enable remote working and continued operations. Business operations, including the utilization of office spaces and physical assets, will need to evolve by incorporating strategies to encourage remote work while at the same time protecting and supporting employees and their jobs. A notable impact of the economic slowdown is how the organizations have turned to strategize and recover their investment by minimizing expenses, especially in highly expensive real estate investments.
An excellent idea in this direction would be to apply flexible workspace trends to reconfigure current workspaces. This is a practical short-term solution and an efficient long-term investment towards generating a healthy profit for years to come once the process is put in place.
Here are 5 flexible workspace trends that are expected to be popular in 2021:
- Hot Desking
Here, employees can select seats on a first-come, first-served basis. Hot desking increases the employees to desk ratio, maximizing space utilization. Considering the ongoing pandemic and the need for improved hygiene even after vaccination, organizations will need to ensure that all the seats available are clean and completely sanitized for the effective implementation of this technique.
The pros of this technique include greater workspace flexibility for employees, better space utilization, reduced cost, and less cluttering. A disadvantage of this technique is that the employees may not always get their preferred seats, resulting in conflicts over seating spaces.
- A Mix of Core-And-Flex
Using this technique, an organization leasing five floors to create a workspace for their team of 300 can now have the option to scale down to maybe three floors for their core team. The remaining team members can be accommodated by supplementing the core workspace with a flexible office space. This combination of core-and-flex will allow increased work-flexibility and independence to the employees as they get to decide where they can work more efficiently.
This workspace option can easily address an organization’s scalability needs for the present and future. However, organizations implementing this would need flawless technology and connectivity, healthy workflows and organizational protocols, and a precise communication structure.
- Desk Hoteling
This technique provides the benefits of a flexible workspace but adds the advantage of guaranteed workspace or desk reservations. Employees can use a software app to book a desk before arriving at the office. This software should preferably have a mobile application that can be accessed from any device (iOS or Android). It must also incorporate interactive navigation plans along with the organization’s schedule and calendaring system to make desk reservations visible to all employees.
The pros of this technique include greater workspace flexibility for employees, better space utilization, reduced cost, reduced conflicts, and less cluttering. However, an organization will need to invest in new technology to effectively implement this technique.
- Decentralized and Diversified Workspaces
A multinational firm functioning in several markets or having a diverse product range can redesign its business portfolio based on job category and headcount. For example, a technology firm can opt for getting flexible leases in central business districts or a prime location. This way, it can easily and efficiently provide office space for their smaller client-facing teams. On the other hand, the back-end teams can be shifted to more affordable workspaces, away from the prime locations.
Such decentralized and diversified workspace portfolios will increase your business’s risk-mitigating and crisis management capabilities. They will also ensure that your office space matches the exact requirements of your business function.
- Activity-based Workspaces
The activity-based workspace concept goes beyond employees simply reserving desks on any given day. This working environment allows employees to access various spaces created to support their designated responsibilities. Such workspaces can include quiet spaces, meeting rooms, huddle areas enabling employees to work from a phone booth or operate in a free space near a coworker, etc.
However, despite the obvious advantages of activity-based flexible workspace trends, the current pandemic may not make them viable. It can be difficult to keep track of the used workspaces making sanitizing these areas tricky. Common spaces like conference rooms can get overcrowded. Nonetheless, if an organization limits the number of people gathering in one place and uses efficient technology to track each workspace’s occupancy properly, this option may be executable.
How Can QuickFMS Hot Desking Software Help Create a Flexible Workspace?
QuickFMS Hot Desking Software backed by its immensely successful Space management module is cloud-based facilities management software that can handle all your space management and seat booking requirements. It offers robust data and real-time visibility into workspace utilization, increasing employee collaboration and productivity. QuickFMS Hot Desking Module App offers features of desk hoteling, allowing your employees to reserve the space they want on their iOS and Android devices, or if they prefer, even on our responsive website.
Amit Prasad is the founder and managing director of SatNav Technologies and has business interests in a wide range of IT products. SatNav Technologies is an IT products company focusing on cloud based map data products and a pioneer in GPS, FMS & LBS Technologies. The product suite includes SatTracx in-the-field location based solutions and A-mantra in-the-office facilities management solutions. QuickFMS from a-mantra is a cloud based facility management system which enhances organization’s efficiency.