How to design flexible office space & make it work

We’ve had cubicles and open-plan offices, but now the current generation of workers is calling for flexible working spaces. A flexible workspace provides employees with plenty of options for where and how they work. It often includes meeting rooms, collaboration spaces, and quiet areas that can all be rearranged on a whim to meet the ever-changing needs of the business and its people.

Here, we’ll explore the best ways to design flexible office space and the benefits it can have on employees.

What are the benefits of a flexible office design?

A flexible office design is ideal for hybrid working as it can be adapted easily to anyone who chooses to come into the office for the day. Employees who can work comfortably, whether that’s standing or sitting or in a calming space, are bound to be more productive. A flexible design is also scalable depending on your business needs and will help in retaining and attracting new employees as it’s clear that you support their comfort and well-being.

Below are all the ways you can create a flexible office space that employees will feel happy to work in.

1. Use adaptable furniture

Adaptable furniture is key when making your office a more flexible area. This means your furniture, such as desks, chairs and technology, should be able to be tailored to individual preferences. Include both standing and sitting desks to allow people to choose how they want to work and ergonomic chairs so sitting positions are comfortable for everyone. Standing desks are great for people’s health as they can help reduce the risk of heart disease and back pain and improve mood and energy levels. 

Having furniture that can also be moved around easily can add further flexibility. Being able to adapt your workspace layout for training days, ideation sessions and more can promote collaboration between teams. 

2. Hot desks

If your business has adopted a hybrid way of working, then hot desking will suit your office perfectly. Rather than having a specific workstation for a specific person, hot desking essentially means that any desk is up for grabs. Not only can this save on costs, as you could scale down your office space requirements if you know not everyone will be in on the same day, but it’ll bring different people from different teams together. 

3. Offer smart storage solutions

If employees don’t have assigned desks, then they won’t have their own storage space either. So, it’s important to implement smart storage solutions around the office to ensure everyone has a space to store their belongings and can easily find any office supplies they might need.

4. Varied seating options

From desk chairs and armchairs to sofas and stools, offer your employees a variety of seating options so they can choose where to work most comfortably. Some teams may prefer to have casual catch-up meetings while lounging with a coffee on the sofa, while others may want the solitude of an armchair to work. Just make sure the furniture is well-made with ergonomics in mind to accommodate people of all heights and sizes.

5. Design quiet areas

As easy and free-flowing as an open plan and flexible office can be, it can also be loud and distracting for some. When an employee has an important deadline to meet or a phone call to make, this can cause stress. So, design designated quiet areas where employees can focus and work without any distractions. Many modern offices have built soundproofed pods, which are quiet enclosed spaces where workers can get away from the noise and concentrate.

6. Dedicated space for meetings

Meeting rooms are also essential for all types of offices – even flexible ones. Whether you’re holding a client meeting or need to discuss something private with an employee, a space that’s comfortable, quiet and behind closed doors is needed. So, make sure there are at least 1-2 meeting rooms available (depending on the size of your business, you may need more), that can be booked in advance for people to use.

7. Create space for socialisation

Remember, your office space shouldn’t always only be about work. It’s also a place for people to socialise, connect and have fun. Creating a space for socialisation will be highly beneficial for employee well-being. This space could be an area for employees to take a break, grab something to eat or drink and talk about their latest weekend antics with co-workers. It should be comfortable, relaxed, laid back and away from other people working.

8. Avoid having workstations in high-traffic areas

All offices will have high-traffic areas – it’s inevitable – and these particular areas should be completely clear of workstations. No one wants to work next to bathrooms, kitchens, break rooms or near the elevators or stairwells as it’ll become loud, crowded and too difficult to focus. Even if it means having fewer desks, your employees will be grateful to not have to work where they can hear others eating, chatting or walking up and down the stairs multiple times a day.

9. Create an outdoor space

Office workers are known for spending too much time indoors, and this can have a detrimental effect on their mental health – especially in the winter months when they may enter and leave the office in the dark. Creating an outdoor space, if possible, where they can eat lunch, have a break or even work for a few hours, will make a world of difference to their happiness and energy levels during the day.

If you’re looking to create a more flexible working space, whether you’re revamping your current office or kitting out an entirely new space, take a look at our office fit-out services and office furniture solutions for more information and inspiration.

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