By Esmée Hardwick-Slack
As we all adjust to the new normal, and businesses adapt and overcome in order to continue operating during lockdown, many workers are realising that their role has always been possible to perform remotely. The impact of coronavirus will change the landscape for businesses and employees forever, with more pressure on employers to approve flexible working requests than ever before.
Not only will this new world of work offer benefits for individuals, but savvy business owners could turn it into a positive for the company as well. Sadly, few businesses will come out of this pandemic completely unscathed, and many will need to find areas where costs can be cut and overheads reduced. What if, instead of making redundancies and thereby reducing your capacity for client work, you considered downsizing your office space, shrinking your rent or mortgage payments, allowing staff to work remotely and hot desk, removing the physical barriers to exponential growth?
Remote working could save you and your staff money
Recent years have brought a lot of changes to the office environment, particularly as technology develops and the next generation of employees has come through to management. This new generation of managers brings new thinking about the modern office environment and what it should be.
For example, if a workforce of 100 has, on average, only 80 people in the office on a given day, those 20 empty desks take up space and are not being efficiently utilised. A hefty portion of business overhead is dedicated to office building space and maintenance. By trimming furniture and hardware costs, some of that wasted space can be better used as a meeting or project development space, saving money and benefiting the bottom line.
Hot desking can boost morale, improve company culture and inspire your staff
If your employees hot-desk, they tend to socialise more. Employees who sit beside someone different every day interact more, converse with a greater number of departments, and can find inspiration where it wasn’t possible to before. More interaction with a wider variety of people can lead to greater company cohesion and increased collaboration.
Employees will tend to optimise the space around them for productivity and might select a space that meets their needs for any given day. If they have conference calls on their schedule, they may gravitate towards a small meeting room or less-crowded alcove. If they are collaborating with colleagues on a specific project, they may choose to work in a room with presentation software and large screens, rather than huddling around a single desk.
Flexible working could be the key to success
When your office design allows for employee flexibility, your workers who thrive on mobility and independence are happier and more productive. They will find a way to optimise their office set-up for each and every day.
So, perhaps modern businesses are better off having flexible, open and collaborative offices rather than relying on the more old fashioned approach of assigning each employee a fixed desk. As an added bonus, the business may be able to reduce office overhead costs as office space can be used more efficiently. Alternatively, you might decide to reduce the square footage of your premises or move into a smaller building, further shrinking your overheads. With the availability of video conferencing, cloud-based project management software and remote desktops there’s no reason why your entire workforce need to be in the office and meet face to face every day.
The future is flexible.
How has your business adapted to the new normal of remote working? Has the coronavirus pandemic forced you to consider the future of your own business premises? Let us know your thoughts on flexible working and hot desking in the comments or on Linkedin.