Find out how flexspace can help meet the demands of a new age of work and give businesses maximum agility
Following months of uncertainty, businesses around the world are ready to return to work. Yet there are still challenges along the way. Perhaps they are facing delays with conventional space or construction issues, or they urgently need to relocate team members.
As a broker, you want to help your clients optimise their business operations and get them back to work as quickly and effectively as possible. Flexible workspace, or ‘flexspace’, can help – giving businesses workspace solutions designed around their needs and enabling them to meet the demands of this new age of work.
Below are some of the key trends facing businesses over the next few months – and the specific ways in which flexspace could offer a solution.
Business as usual, once again
The trend: Businesses need to rethink their workspace post-COVID-19
As a broker you want to: find quick and convenient solutions to help your clients return to work
The flexspace benefit in a nutshell: Flexspace designed around your clients’ needs – now and in the future – gives them the agility to move fast
There are many reasons why businesses can’t just return to the office following the COVID-19 pandemic. “The chief executives of Barclays and WPP are predicting an end to crowded city centre offices and rush hours as flexible working becomes the new normal to keep the workforce healthy amid the COVID-19 crisis,” reports The Guardian in just one example.
“I think the notion of putting 7,000 people in a building may be a thing of the past, and we will find ways to operate with more distancing over a much longer period of time,” said Jes Staley, the chief executive of Barclays. He suggested the bank would look at a more decentralised approach to staff working, including the prospect of local branches becoming satellite offices for more employees.
For businesses that need to accommodate a distributed remote workforce, flexspace can provide the space they need, when and where they need it. It can also allow them to adapt as their needs change. Businesses can choose from a single private office to an entire floor, for one person or their whole team. There’s the option to scale space up or down, or move to any other location, and companies can choose a shorter flexspace term if that’s what suits them.
For organisations with employees still working from home, workspace solutions, such as those offered by IWG, can still offer support in the form of a professional home office. A range of virtual services are available by the month and include a business address for redirecting mail, local phone numbers with call answering, use of local workspace whenever needed and set-up within 24 hours.
The changing face of the office
The trend: Offices will never look the same again
As a broker you want to: ensure office space that is safe and comfortable for clients to use
The flexspace benefit in a nutshell: Flexspace gives your clients the support they need to enjoy a safe, more sustainable and happier way of working
The concept of social distancing is likely to have long-lasting implications on traditional office design. “The one thing we know for sure is that ‘back to normal’ in the workplace is going to be anything but normal,” Cushman & Wakefield CEO Brett White told CNBC. “The protocols that we’re going to need to implement in offices and industrial [and] retail buildings in which we operate are completely changing.”
“I think we’ll see wider corridors and doorways, more partitions between departments, and a lot more staircases,” adds Arjun Kaicker, head of analytics and insights at Zaha Hadid Architects, also speaking to The Guardian. “Everything [up until now] has been about breaking down barriers between teams, but I don’t think spaces will flow into each other so much anymore. Office desks have shrunk over the years, from 1.8m to 1.6m to now 1.4m and less, but I think we’ll see a reversal of that, as people won’t want to sit so close together.”
Yet, for many businesses, re-designing their existing office is not practical or affordable. “Even before the crisis, it was widely acknowledged that office space tended to be under-utilised,” reports Sifted. “A number of studies estimated that the average worker is at their desk just 40% of the time, while a 2018 study estimated that big businesses in England and Wales were wasting more than £10bn a year in under-used office space.”
This is where flexspace can help. IWG in particular has taken steps to modify its workspaces based on the WHO Safe and Healthy Workplace Guidelines. This includes enhanced hygiene and ‘professional distancing’, which takes the principles of social distancing and adapts them for the workplace. This covers how people move around the building in a clockwise direction, with clear information and signage, as well as the layout of open spaces, offices and meeting rooms.
The new world of work
The trend: The world of work is changing post-COVID-19
As a broker you want to: help your clients adapt to the new future of work
The flexspace benefit in a nutshell: Flexspace offers your clients the ability to reduce risk by enabling remote working on a global scale
Distributed workforces will be the new normal, as businesses reduce risk and benefit from remote working. “Ultimately, [the pandemic] might act as a catalyst for employers to allow more flexible working in future, given they’ll have adapted their capabilities to enable this now,” says Brendon Craigie, Co-founder and Managing Partner at Tyto, as reported in Forbes.
“The idea of having a big head office in the middle of a city that everyone travels to – and which sits half empty most of the time – will disappear,” says Antti Tuomela, cofounder of Tractr, a Finnish startup that provides tools to help property owners tools to help plan and manage their space. “There is growing pressure to use space differently and more effectively. People are looking for places to work closer to home.”
“In these unprecedented times, people and businesses all around the world are facing disruptions and uncertainty, leading them to embrace a new way of working,” adds Fatima Koning, chief sales officer at IWG. “Although the future remains uncertain, one thing is for sure: the world of work will be a different place once we go back to the office.”
Flexspace offers an easy way for businesses to support this new way of working. Not only does it help businesses provide more space to physically spread out their people while social distancing continues, but it can also provide a wide selection of office layouts depending on the company’s requirements.
For businesses needing the flexibility to scale up and down their office requirements, flexspace is the natural solution. Organisations can choose to take advantage of simply a meeting room or single desk, to entire floors of office space.
Furthermore, businesses may take advantage of additional office space in the same centre or in other locations. Depending on where workers are based, organisations may choose short-term space in a nearby location, or even regional hubs for different functions.
Flexspace can also help businesses via a range of professional services to support their home workers. This includes a business address for redirecting mail, local phone numbers with call answering and the use of local workspace whenever needed.
As the world’s largest provider of flexible workspaces and flexible workspace solutions, IWG is helping brokers and their clients maintain their businesses and get back to work as quickly and effectively as possible. Contact IWG for personal guidance and senior expertise on how to build a tailored corporate solution.