Flexible workspace is giving businesses of every size the freedom to act fast and make better decisions. For smaller businesses, the first few years are critical and business owners cannot afford to be side-tracked by back-office challenges.
Flexible working is providing these businesses with the ability to scale-up or retract as business needs dictate. Space can be taken a desk at a time, and for as many days a week as required, rather than committing to a full-time presence.
The financial and logistical benefits of working flexibly are convincing but forward-thinking business owners see well beyond these advantages. Attitudes are changing; no longer is the worker asked to adapt to the workplace, rather, businesses are championing working structures that aim to get the very best from individual employees.
If you aren’t flexible you’re in a fix
Indeed, those businesses not thinking in this way face the very real threat of missing out on the cream of today’s employee talent. A recent Regus survey of over 3,000 UK professionals outlines the importance placed on flexibility.
The survey found that when faced with two similar jobs, more than nine in 10 professionals would select the one offering flexible working. Further, more than half agreed they would “actively change job” if one with more flexible working was offered.
The millennial workforce comes with very different attitudes to work than previous generations. Workplace flexibility is no longer regarded as a perk – rather, it is expected. By positioning in a more agile fashion businesses can cast their recruitment net wider – location no longer being a handicap to securing the best employees.
Environment is critical to productivity and employees and managers alike understand the potential draw-backs of homeworking. People sometimes equate flexible working with working from home but the home environment can introduce many unforeseen challenges to the working day.
The routine of home life can interrupt business tasks and, for many, a lack of suitable space may result in a compromise when it comes to ergonomics and positioning correctly to enable a productive day’s work.
Catch the coworking buzz
Working flexibly does not mean working in isolation. The same Regus survey identifies the fact that nearly nine out of ten professionals believe coworking “helps curb loneliness for homeworkers”. Coworking is one of the biggest workplace trends of the moment, describing a workspace that is occupied by individuals from a number of different companies and that encourages networking and collaboration.
Such spaces provide all the social buzz of an office without restricting employees to fixed hours and routines. These are environments specifically created to foster innovation and drive productivity, with employee wellbeing firmly to the fore when it comes to aesthetic design decisions and the inclusion of communal areas such as cafes, bars and activity-led breakout areas.
A space to suit at a place that suits
The true beauty of the flexible working model is the choice of workspace type and location. Smaller firms, for example, might choose to position themselves right at the heart of things – a city centre address that would otherwise be unaffordable. Or individuals may choose to work on their own doorstep, choosing a professional environment over their unproductive home set-up.
Businesses simply use and pay for what they want, where they want it – a way of working far removed from the fixed desk, fixed location, fixed lease model.
Today, the flexible work conversation moves beyond the purely financial towards future strategy – namely, how to provide the best environment for workers, so that they in turn might provide their best work for you.