Flexible Workspace Does Not Just Boost Employee Morale And Productivity, It Saves Money
When it comes to running an office, flexibility does not just benefit employees. As the global workforce embraces remote work and the freedom to choose when and where to do it, office managers have been able to cut down on operating costs. Businesses wanting to save money by choosing flexible work locations was one of the main drivers behind the growth of the market this year, according to a study from Regus.
From increased employee productivity to less upkeep, flexible workspace has started to make more financial sense for companies with employees looking to take control of their schedules and work-life balance.
No longer tied down by technological constraints and traditional nine-to-five work schedules, the proportion of business people globally working outside one of their company’s major office locations half the week or more has reached over 50%. Many businesses have introduced remote workdays. The reduced office population allows companies to lease smaller offices.
In the U.S., Chicago-based National Equity Fund opted for a smaller office after allowing remote work. The reduced footprint saved the company $2.5M over the course of its 10-year lease.
Mobile technology makes remote work possible. In the U.K., 91% of 18- to 44-year-olds use smartphones. Apps on devices can extend working hours to when employees are at home or out of the office, and Voice over Internet Protocol technology can connect remote team members over video conferencing. Employees can check in on work email or hold meetings anywhere and at any time, and companies no longer have to supply teams with computers to complete work.
Improving employee morale can also impact the company’s bottom line. According to Regus, 27% of workers regard their commute as a waste of time. Lengthy travel between the office and back keeps staff away from families and limits leisure time. The cost can be quantified. Australian workers produce $110B in unpaid overtime every year, according to the Australia Institute.
Having employees work from home, while theoretically an effective way to slash operating costs, does not solve the problem. Only 36% of workers report that they work exclusively at home when remote. Family distractions, difficulty concentrating, a lack of reliable office equipment and personal financial cost top the reasons why many workers avoid setting up a home office.
In the U.K., 35% of workers want to be close to home while working remotely. According to the study, working closer to home but from a professional location provides access to technology and helps workers make useful business connections.
Twenty percent choose business centres as an alternative, and only 13% report working from cafés. Offices are not disappearing, but have instead transitioned to an on-demand model. Work is no longer defined by a space, but the activities that happen within it.
Flexible workspace offers an affordable middle ground, and small companies are not the only businesses taking advantage of the reduced fixed costs. While 28% of business professionals expect the growth of these offices to specifically affect small companies, another 18% think large companies will downsize from expensive assets and move staff to more flexible locations.
Companies can also avoid lengthy lease contracts with flexible workspace. In the U.K., 33% of business professionals surveyed expect more businesses of all sizes opting for flexible work locations rather than fixed-term leasing contracts.
Hot desking, unassigned workstations, communal areas and multi-use furniture can maximize efficiency and cut down on fixed costs. Flexible workspaces take care of office setup and encourage collaboration and the freedom for employees to manage their own time. In these spaces, neither desks nor employees' time go underutilised.
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