As the modern workforce moves towards liberated work, the role of the office needs to change. Long gone are the days of partitioned office cubicles in uninspiring spaces that all the team has to turn up to every day of the working week. Now, work has become more hybrid and less centralized, seamlessly blending work, wellness, and lifestyle to provide a holistic experience. We call this a flexible workspace.
Flexible workspaces go beyond the simple provision of a place to get work done. They strip back the boundaries of vanilla office stock and instead provide a multi-dimensional space for all the ways one may work. Though typical CBD office occupancy trends are – understandingly – nowhere near reaching pre-Covid levels, coworking and flexible workspaces seem to be thriving.
It’s a critical time for flexible workspace providers as they pivot to meet the needs of a fast-changing workforce. While many may be tempted to throw an excess of amenities to occupants just to see what sticks, you’ll have far more success taking a measured approach and providing benefits that businesses and their teams actually want.
Based on my experiences operating 12 coworking spaces across Australia over the past 10 years, here are the amenities that I’ve found occupiers of flexible workspaces value the most.
Outdoor Spaces and Greenery
The outdoors do a world of good for wellbeing. Not only do they provide the opportunity to step away from the desk and reset, access to fresh air, greenery and sunlight has long been cited as the number one enabler of healthy, happy, and more productive employees. A good flexible workspace makes the best of urban green spaces, using outdoor terraces, rooftop spaces, and even an abundance of indoor greenery to boost morale and provide the opportunity to refresh and recharge throughout the day.
Food and Drink Options
Food is one of the few basic needs in life, so it’s important for it to be easily accessible in a space where people will spend over eight hours a day. Get a top-quality, easy-to-use coffee machine, and stock the pantry with ingredients and condiments that one would usually find at home.
If you have the facilities, an in-house café will provide the ultimate solution for elevating the workspace experience of occupants, as they won’t have to go far for a good cup of coffee or an afternoon treat. Consider providing complimentary breakfasts and Friday afternoon drinks occasionally, to give businesses and their teams the opportunity to mingle over food.
As a minimum, make sure your flexible workspace is located somewhere near café, supermarket, and lunch options.
Furniture that enables comfort and good posture is critical for office workers. To prevent muscle and back issues, ensure you’re providing a range of ergonomic furniture options, including standing desks and adjustable chairs.
Regularly remind people of the importance of good posture while they work using examples of what an ergonomic workstation should look like. If you can, provide monitors and ensure you’re also considering people who may have different needs and will be utilizing your space.
Seamless Tech and Security
Nobody likes slow or faulty tech, and both digital and physical security is something prospective occupiers will always look out for when considering a flexible workspace. Engage with programs and apps that make a typical workday easier, covering everything from booking meeting rooms to getting access to the space.
Your occupiers will be happy if they can trust they’re working from a space that’s not only physically secure – with secure passes, CCTV, and lockable storage – they’ll also take comfort in knowing any confidential digital material or documents they’re working on won’t be accessed by anyone outside of their business.
A Range of Collaborative and Private Spaces
At their core, flexible workspaces are all about providing a range of spaces to support the workday. People need spaces that allow them to work privately, brainstorm with their team, have uninterrupted meetings, and have a casual chat over lunch. Invest in furniture that is functional and stimulates productivity and creativity, including booths, benches, and whiteboards.
Ensure you provide ample ‘quiet zones’ including desks, phone booths, and meeting rooms. Encourage natural socialization using couches and tables, and make sure you add some artwork and the aforementioned greenery to help liven a space up.
Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list of amenities that are valued most by occupiers of flexible workspaces. Above all else, the best way to ensure you’re providing benefits that are actually desired is by regularly checking in with businesses and their teams who are occupying your flexible workspace to get insight into what they’re enjoying about the space, and what they’d like to see more of.