Flexible workspace in the age of Hybrid Work Culture
Updated: Mar 9
Though people are returning to offices, there's been an undeniable shift in work culture: A pragmatic approach of an office close to home combined with WFH is the future of work.
According to a recent article from MIT Sloan Management Review, "Coworking spaces will become even more important and more popular in the post-pandemic world, not just for entrepreneurs and freelancers, but especially for large companies." This CNBC article quoted a LaSalle Network survey, stating that 70% of business leaders planned to have employees back in the office in the post-pandemic phase, yet overall, 77% of respondents believed their workforce would be using a hybrid model.
The move to hybrid work doesn't mean that office will disappear. Workers will still want and need a physical space to come together and connect. But the future office spaces will shift away from cubicles and corner spots to collaborative team spaces that address the needs of both remote and in-person workers. A solution is a conducive setting for their staff either in their offices or in a satellite space that can provide options ranging from conference rooms and smaller focus rooms with enhanced audio and video capabilities for meetings to "concentration zones" for one or more colleagues.
Compelling reasons why hybrid work needs flexible workspace
De-densify and decentralize their office space: Even in a post-pandemic world, certain habits and best practices will likely linger. Clustered workspaces have to be spread out. In-office traffic routes have to be re-arranged to preserve distancing. All of this adds up to a larger office footprint. But even if additional space is available, increased real estate costs are something every organization wants to avoid in the current economic climate. A solution to mitigate increased office space is to stagger employees with hybrid work – those who can work remotely stay away from the main office. Others come in only when it is essential.
Support employees that work from home: Having weathered the pandemic stretch, many professionals have figured out how to work from home productively. However, employees enduring home isolation during the pandemic have raised some mental health concerns, employers advocate a team-based space approach for their employees. CBRE, a global office real estate firm, found 62% of people want to go back to the office for at least part of the week for team connection and community. But, people want to spend less time commuting to work, and with the rise of coworking, it looks like this will be a more attainable feat for many. Besides, startups, mid to large companies will seek multiple smaller spaces to mitigate the risk of having all employees under one roof and possibly exposing all to a variant and provide the convenience for employees to reduce commute time and reside in their suburbia.
Reduce long-term lease commitments: In pre-pandemic and during the pandemic, companies had to deal with the burden of long-term, lock-in leases with heavy security deposits, which take away the 'business cash flow'. The ability to respond to changes in the economy is also of paramount importance now, more than ever. As large enterprises look to down-size their main office, curb capital expenditure and mitigate long-term commitments on office property, a turnkey flexible office space, commonly called "coworking space" is the most sought-after flexible infrastructure solution. Flexibility is crucial, and hence coworking spaces, with their natural flexibility and inherent readiness to add value, are best positioned to adapt and redefine the future of hybrid work and workspace.
Support employees that choose to continue working remotely full-time: As the labor market tightens and employers battle for talent. For employees, parents in specific want to work closer to their kid's daycare or their children's school. Employers accommodating such a need can now have access to a much larger talent pool for their selection and save on significant human capital by retaining those who would otherwise quit looking for alternative offers that can accommodate their work-life balance. Employers shifting from an office-centric to a human-centric workplace design are becoming an essential leadership component that measures success by performance outcomes, collaboration, and flexibility.
A flexible office space for various business configurations
Features of flexible workspace need to include and should appeal to a single member, startup, and a large corporation alike.
Turnkey capabilities to get up and going in a short period
Members do not need to have an elaborate agreement
Flexible lease periods with as short as two months
Flexible space when companies want to expand or reduce their headcount
No hefty deposits or capital expenditure to internal furnishing that can stifle cash flows
Common areas for relaxation, coffee breaks, meals, and social bonding
Conference, meeting, and huddle spaces for virtual calls and meetings
Reliable connectivity with an option for dedicated network, firewall, and servers
Access to innovation/startup community both to benefit from their ways of thinking and to potentially invest in them
Access to areas for informal work discussions, break-out sessions, or relaxation
Access to Recruiter, legal, finance, and investment professionals
Employers and coworking members prefer flexibility and a sense of their reserved space. Additionally, different businesses types require different space configurations. Here are some of the sought out configurations.
Reserved desk space: For a single member looking for a coworking space, identify an exclusive desk, park your work kit and use it when needed on the days you need.
Startups and Small organizations: Teams looking for a three-seater or a twelve-seater can get an entire office space that they can call its own. Some of these spaces come with a manager's cabin and others with a small huddle/conference room.
Satellite office for larger Enterprises: Large-scale corporations with multiple locations across geographies. These organizations often use flexible workplaces to replace small spaces or test out new geographic markets. Flexible workspace appeals to the hybrid trend for these customers with more customized, dedicated workplace options that simplify their management of multiple small locations across a broad geography.
Customers have a choice, but not all spaces provide the flexibility for a futuristic work culture
Thinkhub offers 32,000 sqft (ground + three floors) of premiere furnished and semi-furnished working space in Whitefield Bangalore with flexible options for a coworking Hot Desk and Dedicated Desk Private Office, Conference rooms, and Training room making it an ideal workspace for permanent or hybrid members. Its vast outdoor green space is a novelty for outdoor meetings, breaks, or simple relaxation.