How flexible working spaces can increase productivity


When designing your office, productivity should be amongst the top priorities on your wish list. It can literally make or break a company. And it’s no surprise, really; countless studies over the years have determined that the most significant factor in an employee’s ability to focus is their physical environment.

In order to improve workplace culture, many businesses are seeking new and improved flexible working design and layouts that will adapt to the more forward-thinking and digital methods of collaborating.

What is a flexible workspace design?

Flexible working spaces are becoming increasingly popular as employees seek a change in their work environment to help them stay focused and feel comfortable. Instead of a traditional workplace format where workers stay at the same desks and in the same groups; co-working, open plan and hot-desking layouts allow staff to integrate with different people and departments, as well as give staff the opportunity to choose where they work based on their personal preference.

Seating can be fluid, ranging from coffee tables, beans bags, pods or bar stools. Standing desks have also proven to boost productivity and improve employee wellbeing; an international study found that standing at a desk instead of sitting for six hours a day burned an extra 54 calories and could help significantly with weight loss.

The co-working space

Over the years, there has been an increasing demand for co-working spaces to encourage more networking and collaboration. Before, senior management would commonly sit behind closed doors or glass walls, whereas, in a co-working space, they now sit comfortably amongst employees of all levels, exchanging ideas and inspiration.

This type of layout works particularly well for employees involved in regular collaboration and where meetings and briefings occur daily. However, it might not work for employees who are regularly on the phone or get distracted easily by conversations from their neighbours.

The open plan space

An open plan office is designed to promote discussion between workers and can make employees feel more comfortable approaching their line managers, as it breaks down that perception of seniority. Open plan spaces, similar to co-working spaces, can be a mixture of adjoining desks or larger tables where there are no barriers between them. They can also merge breakout areas and working spaces into one, giving employees the flexibility to have meetings in communal areas such as a cafeteria where the environment is more relaxed and social.

However, it is important that there are also quiet areas and private meeting rooms available to for more confidential discussions or when an employee would like to work or relax independently.

The hot-desking space

Hot-desking gives employees the flexibility of working wherever they like and where they feel most comfortable. This style of workplace is dependent on the level of trust between staff and management in terms of getting work done, but when it is pulled off successfully it can help employees to be more productive.

Without the constraints of a specific desk, moving around the office also encourages employees to make social interactions with co-workers outside of their department or with those that they would not normally communicate with.

The downfall of hot-desking is the loss of ability to personalise a space. Without a fixed desk, employees can’t add their personal touches such as photographs and belongings or store their paperwork. However, this does encourage a clutter free workspace and a paper-less office which is beneficial for the organisation’s environmental footprint.

If you’re considering an office refurb or are looking to relocate in the near future, get in touch with Foursquare Workspace on 0800 6347 415 or to discuss your requirements.