Guest post by Melanie Jones, Regional Business Development Executive, CORT Furniture Rental

Flexibility is the ability to be easily modified or the willingness to change or compromise. In today’s workplace environment, flexibility is being applied to allow companies to customize workspaces based on how their employee prefers to work and what types of activities they conduct throughout the day.

Activity-based work is driving the need for lightning-fast customization and accommodation. Meanwhile, as technology to monitor space usage has become more sophisticated, there’s more data that companies can access to optimize their office spaces. With flexibility and data, the sky’s the limit.

The need for flexibility is ultimately human-driven, and people are demanding more control over their space than ever before. But just knowing that you need your space to be flexible is the first step. How do you do it? Here are three tips to make the workplace more flexible:

  1. Allow Employees to Feel Heard

Research into the modern workplace indicates that not only is there a problem with employee engagement and satisfaction, but the lack thereof can be costly. A recent study from Gallup showed:

  • Only 32 percent of workers feel engaged at their jobs
  • Actively disengaged employees cost the U.S. up to $605 billion each year in lost production
  • Happy workers are 12 percent more productive than the average worker and unhappy workers are 10 percent less productive
  • Companies with happy employees outperform their competition by 20 percent, earn 1.2 – 1.7 percent more than their peer firms and are 2.1 percent above industry benchmarks

So, how can workplace setup and flexibility impact job satisfaction? Employees who feel heard, included and appreciated in a process tend to feel satisfied with their work, and as a result, are generally more willing to collaborate with colleagues.

With the latest technological advancements in the workplace, employers can understand how their employees operate within a space. New IoT platforms, such as Tapdn™, use sensors to harness and analyze real-time data to provide a clear indication of where employees spend their time and who they spend it with. With objective and unbiased results, businesses can make confident decisions when it’s time to adjust an existing workplace setup. With an optimal, flexible work environment, employees will be positioned where they’re the most satisfied, and ultimately, productive.

  1. Incorporate Resimercial Design

Resimercial design is a new office design aesthetic, combining “residential” and “commercial” furniture to create a cozier, more home-like workplace environment. But just what does this style look like, and how can it benefit your business? Instead of stark rows of cubicles and fluorescent lighting, you might see comfy upholstered seating and brightly colored artwork punctuated by stylish tables and floor lamps. These more residential elements merge with traditional office pieces like desks and gathering tables to create an inviting – yet productive – work environment.

According to a recent workplace survey, 48 percent of respondents said the design and layout of the room in which they were interviewed would influence their decision to accept a job offer. On the other hand, recruiting experts also note that a workspace that doesn’t fit the way your staff prefer to work is one of the most common reasons employees leave.

In addition to enabling the hiring and retention of top talent, resimercial design offers other benefits as well. For instance, the creation of a better work-life balance and increased wellness. After all, if people are spending more time at work, businesses need to create environments where employees can be productive – but in order to be productive, some relaxation must take place. That’s where plush seating, soft lighting, and indoor plants can really have an impact.

  1. Apply the FaaS Approach

To make a workplace more flexible, some companies simply attach casters to all their furniture to keep the layout fluid. While being able to physically move furniture is a start, just imagine if you could update your furniture at the drop of a hat – without having to purchase new furniture or find a way to store the old.

With Furniture as a Service, or FaaS, your flexibility can reach new levels. Sure, it’s great to move chairs and desks around to new spots, but wouldn’t it be nice to change up the functionality of the item, as well as where it’s located? FaaS, which focuses on access over ownership when it comes to furnishing space, let’s you do just that.

For example, Sierra Wireless, a multinational wireless communications equipment designer and manufacturer headquartered in Richmond, British Columbia, worked with JLL to create buzz around their vacant Atlanta sublease. In an effort to quickly lease the space and free up capital, JLL recommended that Sierra Wireless work with CORT to apply the fast and flexible FaaS concept to their vacant space.

“Our decision to apply the FaaS approach was based on creating a hip, plug-and-play space centered on flexibility and access. It’s not necessarily about the cost-savings, but the reduced time investment. At the end of the sublease, I don’t have to worry about selling or storing the furniture, and that’s a big plus for me,” said Treena Nelson, senior facilities manager, Sierra Wireless.

Remember, the way people work is evolving. Individuals who once needed to sit for long periods in an enclosed space might now want to take work calls in an environment that offers more comfort, collaboration, and mobility. To accommodate this shift in how work is being completed an employer needs to change not just the position of the desks, but the desks themselves. With FaaS, those stationary desks could transform to mobile sit-to-stand desks or comfortable meeting spaces, enabling your employees to change not just where they work, but how they work.

Melanie Jones

As needs change, FaaS enables you to use what you need, when you need it. You can then swap or return items that no longer fit your needs. How’s that for flexibility?