Converting office space into a flex office: What needs to be considered in the flex office concept?
Are you planning a new office space concept? Are you open to innovative, flexible working? Or are you already in the middle of restructuring your office space? In any case, now is the right time, as many employees are still working in home offices due to the Corona pandemic.
Digitalization is experiencing a boost, not least due to Corona. And you can learn more about the benefits of the flexible workplace strategy and what to look out for in our blog article.
The principles of a flex office are simple: individual rooms with desk sharing workstations in a shared, open, flexible and networked work environment. By reducing costs, increasing productivity, employee well-being and mobility, and digitizing workplaces, the concept of flexible offices has gradually taken hold in many companies around the world.
The new design of digital workplaces
When it comes to adopting emerging technologies and moving toward digital transformation, many French companies are still hesitant to change. Other companies, however, have recognized the need for flexibility and mobility among their employees. They are rethinking and initiating a redesign of traditional models in favor of open and efficient and digital workplaces for their employees. This trend is being led by companies such as Sanofi, AXA, Capgemini, Deloitte, PwC and Danone: All have focused on truly digitizing their business and transforming it into flex offices.
Marc Zuili, CIO, Deloitte France, recognized that everything is digitally driven these days. It affects the way employees work and also what they expect from their company in terms of services and experiences offered. Deloitte has completely transformed their workplaces into a flex office. They offer different options to their employees so that each consultant or partner can work freely in an assigned work zone and operate each service via smartphones.
At AXA France, open spaces and new meeting rooms encourage collaboration between teams and represent the beginning of a real cultural change. Meanwhile, more than 2,000 AXA employees have been encouraged and supported to reorganize with activity-based space planning.
With the move to the new headquarters, Capgemini has embraced new ways of working and is one of Capgemini’s first flex offices with desk sharing. This project, also called “The 147,” is a continuation of a global real estate transformation and modernization plan that has been underway for the past three years. It aims to consolidate the various Capgemini Group sites in order to offer functionalities and services that meet the real needs of employees.
The return on investment of space renovation
The cost of renovating an office to accommodate changes that companies go through to meet employees’ needs for collaboration and meetings is often minor compared to the rent tenants pay over the life of the building.
By reviewing lease terms and budget costs for renovation, it can become clear what significant cost benefits renovation can bring. In addition, investments in new technology and electrical infrastructure can result in lower operating costs and allow companies to meet their corporate responsibilities.
The rise of the flex office: advantages of the offices of the future.
The work mentality of the new generation, as well as the rapid adoption of new technologies, required an overhaul of workplace strategy and corporate culture, with real implications for the management dimension, staffing and space utilization. What are the main advantages of flex offices?
Imagine employees switching to a different office space each day with their laptops and smartphones and spending time in common areas like the cafeteria or lounge … No more fixed desks in favor of maximum flexibility. Employees are free to work where they want, under conditions that suit them best.
“Not having a fixed office” allows daily exchanges between employees of different departments, which in turn fosters collaboration and improves creativity, and allows working in more pleasant and agile workspaces.
Cost reduction & space efficiency
Shared desks are a way to optimize unused office space, which for Paris, for example, would mean a savings of 50-60% per year. Therefore, the introduction of flex office also has economic implications and reasons: Removing unused furniture and fewer workstations by diversifying the work environment and focusing on zones and other spaces useful to employees (cafes, meeting and work zones, relaxation and play zones, rest rooms).
When companies rethink workplace space, they focus on employee well-being.
Breaking down departmental structures
Before workplace health gains and, more importantly, cost reductions, the introduction of the flex office raises the issue of leadership and communication. Companies traditionally organized in departments and separate areas that have ventured to move to flex office have had to “break down existing structures.” In a flex office, employees can regroup and meet based on the projects they are involved in and their availability.
Recipe for success: deploy the right technologies
To have a successful flex office, it is necessary to deploy the right technology and encourage all employees to make the change. From audiovisual devices to remote work options to platforms that control services in the building (lighting, temperature, room occupancy, searching for colleagues, insight into desk occupancy, dynamic storage with self-service – all of these smart digital tools are essential.
On the one hand, to allow employees a flexible work style, and on the other hand, to help facility managers efficiently manage this type of office space.
Another example of technology implemented at the core of a workplace strategy is real-time data from various systems that make workplace maintenance more efficient. By identifying which office areas are used the most, for example, to inform cleaning schedules or charge different business units for the energy and space they use.
Using smart technology can increase employee productivity. This also impacts the company’s bottom line.