Flexibility is vital in today’s workplace. Years ago, permanent layouts dominated the commercial office space. Today, modular and agile furniture is key to ensure that office components can be mixed, moved, and re-utilized to grow and change with the company.
A flexible environment doesn’t necessarily mean a completely open office environment. Instead, it is a hybrid that supports all types of work within any given organization. The workplace of today is a combination of closed offices, cubicles, and open collaborative areas.
What enabled this surge of open and flexible environments? The answer is technology. Years ago, computers tied us down to permanent desks. Work surfaces were larger to accommodate large computer monitors, and our stations required much more paper storage. Now, thanks to laptops, tablets, and phones, we can work wherever our technology takes us. Instead of investing in large desks and cubicles, organizations are taking advantage of employee mobility and creating a variety of spaces within the larger office space.
So why change to a flexible environment?
Tall panels, closed offices, and ridged barriers are the thing of the past. Many employees feel that this type of environment creates hierarchy and makes employees feel less important and involved. Open collaborative layouts can make employees feel more included, involved, and appreciated. This means that today’s workforce is looking to work in an environment that will provide variety of spaces that support the types of tasks they are focused on throughout the day. A well-designed flexible environment will support personal concentration, meeting areas for large and small groups, and relaxation by providing inviting and comfortable lounge areas. If your office isn't aligned with these things that new, younger generations want in a work place, your organization will have a hard time attracting the top notch talent you want.
In today’s world of technology and information, teams within organizations are more organic and change more frequently to meet the ongoing changes in business needs. A workplace should support these constant changes. By planning and designing your workplace with agility in mind, facilities departments can work more quickly and more efficiently to make changes within their buildings. By creating a flexible environment, you can change the space to fit your needs as they change, rather than moving to a new facility or doing a complete remodel.
In order to achieve a successful flexible workplace, balance is key. Not all employees are extroverts, and some need more privacy than others. All of us require some heads down time and private space at times. Create balance to help diminish visual distractions and allow people to get away from the noise of the open office, while still supporting collaboration throughout the workplace.
For more information about creating a flexible work environment, contact ISCG to chat - we'd love to help!
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