Flexible workspaces (also known as flex spaces) are on the rise as the hybrid workforce expands. These workspaces are attractive to employers who need to scale up or down based on who comes into work — and for those looking for more flexibility within lease terms. Flex workspaces are also attractive to employees who require collaboration-focused environments complete with flex space amenities: from conference rooms, to workplace technology, to other building amenities like fitness centers and convenience services.
The greatest benefit to flex spaces is, of course, the flexibility. And in order to create flexibility in the workplace, a modern toolset is needed. End-to-end employee experience platforms can ensure this success and create great user experiences. When companies partner with a platform that offers a best-in-class marketplace of technology partners, they can convert just about any space into a seamless community resource with relative ease.
What is Office Flex Space?
Flex spaces are fully equipped office spaces that offer the amenities of the traditional office with the flexibility needed for the hybrid workforce. Flex space can include everything from single desks reservations to a full-service suite, along with conference rooms, communal areas, and social programming. Additionally, one of the biggest benefits is the flexibility in both physical layout and lease terms — they support as-needed usage, substituting lengthy office space contracts and leases with short-term passes or memberships.
Prior to the pandemic, flex space was mostly limited to coworking locations such as WeWork or revitalized industrial buildings aimed at housing multiple early-stage startups. This was typically localized in designated innovation zones.
Today, the demand for flex spaces in commercial real estate (CRE) is on the rise everywhere as a result of a more dynamic hybrid and remote workforce. Companies have identified a need for investments in flexible customer services, and are expanding their offerings in 2022. These options allow tenants and their employees to choose how, when, and where they work. Additionally, flex space lowers the risk of return-to-office strategies in a post-pandemic world compared to longer-term leases.
How Flex Space Helps Attract and Retain Talent
A number of surveys have shown that employees feel that working from home offers the greatest flexibility and work-life balance. An HBR survey found that U.S. employees prefer to work from home two to three days a week, and 40% of respondents said they would start looking for another job or quit immediately if ordered to return to the office full time.
Not all employers agree, noting that they feel that full-time remote work negatively impacts team building or productivity. With these two competing factors and employees in the driver’s seat in the current job market, experts predict that hybrid work is expected to be the default model by 2024.
Thus, CRE teams must adjust to flex space demand to stay relevant in the market. They are making investments in their properties that foster a collaborative, flexible, and safe environment for tenants and their employees. These adjustments are part of a more comprehensive plan to invest in employee experiences, which in turn enable employers to attract and retain top talent through a mix of office amenities, wellbeing initiatives, and a physical workspace that encourages a strong workplace culture.
Technology Boosts Positive Flex Space Experiences
Technology is the bridge between people, places, and experiences in a hybrid workforce. The right tech will help you develop a flex space strategy that factors in the overall workplace and employee experience.
Flex space users want easy self-service tools that help with everything from accessing a room, booking a space, welcoming visitors, ordering food, to even submitting work orders. If set up correctly, technology will connect these otherwise disparate functions into a seamless workplace experience that elevates your property’s brand. Additionally, accessing all of these capabilities from a single building app will enable employees to easily manage their entire workplace experience.
The HqO Workplace Experience App provides a fully-branded building app that powers every type of flexible workspace. It also offers complimentary workplace solutions that contribute to a greater experience for traditional tenants, flex members, and tenants. These include digital events and programming, visitor management, food ordering, and community-building tools like direct landlord-tenant communications and social forums.
Want to learn more about creating flexible, competitive workplaces? Download our latest guide on flexible workplaces today.