Flexible Workspaces: How Desksharing Works

Tim Fischer 8/16/2023

Here you will learn how companies and employees benefit from flexible workplaces and which tools help in the implementation.

Table of contents
  1. Flexible workplace: definition
  2. The pros and cons of flexible workplaces
  3. How can flexible workplaces be implemented in the office?
  4. Which tools are suitable for flexible workplaces?
  5. Flexible workplaces - the growing importance of new ways of working

In the age of New Work, it is about creating the workplaces of the future. This includes flexible workplaces, also known as "desk sharing", where no specific workplace is assigned to employees. Instead, they can determine their seating arrangements daily, as all data and applications required for work are provided digitally. In this post, we take a closer look at what characterizes flexible workplaces, the pros and cons they offer, and how you can introduce them in your company.

Flexible workplace: definition

When no fixed workplaces are assigned to employees in a company, this is referred to as "flexible workplaces". There are no fixed seats, as the desks have the same equipment. The goal is to enable employees to work from any desk. All they have to do is log in and they will have direct access via cloud systems, for example, to the applications, projects, and documents that are relevant to them.

Flexible workplaces are part of the so-called New Work - a term for letting go of outdated ways and structures of work on the path to a new world of work. The concept of flexible workplaces is also known under the terms "desk sharing", "flexible office", and "shared desk".

Desk sharing, however, is not just about seating arrangements, but also about keeping office spaces flexible. They are divided into different areas, which then serve different work requirements. Examples of these are special areas for cooperative working and meetings, but also quieter areas for concentrated operations and telephone calls. Moreover, working from home and co-working spaces can also be referred to as forms of flexible workplaces.

The pros and cons of flexible workplaces

As the term implies, flexible workplaces offer employees more freedom. However, there is also a flip side. Let's take a close look at the pros and cons of flexible workplaces in detail:

Benefits

1. Cost savings

If your company employs many part-time workers or people working from home, many desks remain unused. Flexible office concepts and well-planned seating arrangements can help employers counter this and save costs.

2. Promotion of creativity and productivity

In order to be able to work creatively and focused, the brain needs new impulses. Therefore, it is important that your employees get new impressions through new seat neighbours and a progressive working environment.

3. Cleanliness of the workplace

Flexible office places have the advantage that they are kept cleaner than is the case with fixed workplaces. There is often disorder in the form of piles of paper, folders, bottles, and other belongings. With changing workplaces, the desk has to be tidied up every evening, which simply does not allow for a pile-up of paper.

4. Positive impact on the company climate

When you set up flexible workplaces in the office, employees sit together who may previously have had little contact. This can improve the working atmosphere as well as the information flow among each other. The employees feel more like a part of the team and develop a different attitude towards work.

Disadvantages

1. Competition for the best seats

The free choice of workplace is not advantageous for all employees. While some don't mind where they sit, others work best in familiar surroundings. Ultimately, the free choice can lead to a competition for the best seats.

2. Impersonal workplace

In order for employees to feel comfortable at their workplace, they often personalize their offices. They put up family photos or figures, for example. However, this is not possible with desk sharing, as the desks must be cleared of all notes and sticky notes every evening.

3. Makes certain team work more difficult

Depending on the seating arrangement, desk sharing can make teamwork more difficult. Example: an employee receives an order at the last minute that requires brainstorming or group work. If the surrounding tables are already occupied and their actual team members are not sitting nearby, they can only exchange ideas with difficulty.

How can flexible workplaces be implemented in the office?

Introducing shared desks can lead to increased productivity and lighten the work atmosphere. However, this requires quite a bit of preparation, efficient implementation, and of course some time to get used to. With the following tips, you can develop a good concept for implementing flexible workplaces:

Communicate with your employees

Your employees should understand how flexible workplaces function. Therefore, they should receive clear guidelines for booking desks and keeping the workplace clean. Encourage them to communicate openly and give feedback. This is the only way they can work together to optimize the desk-sharing experience.

Introduce a booking system

To avoid several employees wanting to use the same desk at the same time, your company should use a booking app. This is usually part of an IWMS (Integrated Workplace Management System). In any case, the selected tool should allow employees to reserve shared desks, check their availability, and coordinate with other team members.

Digital Infrastructure

A booking app is just one part of the digital infrastructure that is a prerequisite for flexible workplaces. All workers should be able to access all data and tools needed for their tasks.

Encourage your employees to personalize their workplace

Even if it is only their workplace temporarily, you should encourage your employees to design it according to their ideas. This can contribute to them feeling more comfortable and less isolated and ultimately boosting their productivity.

Equal workplaces

To prevent a race for the best places, you should equip all desks equally. After all, all employees should be able to perform their work from any place. No one should be disadvantaged, otherwise a competition may arise.

Offer storage options

Provide your employees with storage options such as lockers or cabinets to keep the workplace tidy. This reduces the risk of desks being overlaid with personal items and thefts or losses occurring.

Cleanliness at the workplace

This tip ties in with the previous one - your employees should attach great importance to the cleanliness of their workplace. After all, nothing dampens the mood more than arriving on Monday morning at a cluttered workplace where the bread remains and the coffee mug of the colleagues are still present. Always provide cleaning supplies and make sure that the employees have clear instructions on how they should leave their workplace.

Set up areas for specific tasks

In flexible offices, it is important that there are separate areas for special tasks. There should be rooms suitable for discussions, presentations, and brainstorming. There also needs to be areas where quiet, concentrated work can be carried out.

Keep the home office option open

You should allow your employees, if possible, to work from home. Especially for flexible jobs, where constant presence is not needed, this benefits your employees. If they can't concentrate at their new place, for example, they have the option to switch to the home office.

Introduce rules for noise levels in the offices

The office should not be completely noise-free. However, it is also not a place for loud music or alarms that go off every few minutes. Ask your employees to mute their personal devices or reduce the volume before they come to the office. Calls that are not related to work should be taken in a different room.

Which tools are suitable for flexible workplaces?

On OMR Reviews you can find detailed evaluations and comparisons of many Workplace Management Tools. These help you manage desk booking and enable smooth cooperation of employees, among other things. Here is an overview of the best software with which the implementation of flexible workplaces becomes a breeze:

Flexible workplaces - the growing importance of new ways of working

Various studies prove it - more and more employees are no longer bound to a fixed workplace in performing their work. Examples are desk sharing in flexible offices, working from home, and digital nomads. A large share of this is, of course, due to technological innovations and the debate sparked by the Corona crisis about what modern and crisis-proof workplaces should look like.

A flexible workplace is therefore a workplace that is not tied to a fixed location. Cloud systems and Workplace Management Tools contribute to supplying employees at each desk with the programs and documents relevant to them. This results in many advantages, such as cost savings, a better company climate, and increased productivity. In contrast, there may be a potential competition for the best seats and a less personal workplace.

Tim Fischer
Author
Tim Fischer

Tim ist ein freiberuflicher Journalist / Content Writer, der OMR Reviews in den Bereichen Marketing und Softwares unterstützt. Seit seinem Onlinejournalismus-Studium schreibt er unter anderem für Computer Bild, XING und Finanzcheck.de. Wenn er nicht gerade am Texten ist, spielt er auf seiner Stratocaster die Klänge von Hendrix, Frusciante und Gilmour nach.

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