The explosion of social networking has created new needs, but also opportunities, to re-imagine and re-invent the traditional workplace. People work from home, while commuting on the train, while having a coffee inside a bar or in hotels during business trips.
Flexible working practices have now become widely accepted. They have also led some progressive companies to re-interpret their spaces in creative and unconventional ways. Through flexible spaces, employees choose to either collaborate together in open plan or to get their heads down in more solitary spaces. The belief is that the physical environment impacts hugely on employee productivity and engagement. Space – and how to get there – affects all of us deeply; our moods, our behaviours and our ability to connect with others.
With that said, a whole new movement is gaining ground – the fluid space. The phenomenon sees temporary co-working spaces, offices, meeting rooms or private desks being used by mobile workers and teams. While fluid spaces are certainly appealing for freelancers who are detached from a corporate institution, many big enterprises have started investing in them as well.
Businesses like NearDesk have seen the potential of this movement and are capitalising on it.
Founded by Tom Ball, NearDesk defines itself as “the flexible working passport that lets people work near home.” It means that you can work in a professional office environment wherever you are. So you can separate work and home and be around other people without commuting to your main office every day.
At present, the company provides working spaces in 150 locations across the UK. All of their buildings have an open-plan area with hot-desks where people from different companies can work in the same space. Some locations are within established serviced offices and others are in dedicated co-working spaces. Like hotels, each location has its own personality.
Ball believes there are a number of benefits that employers, teams and individual workers can gain from this new way of working:
1. Productivity and continuity: it enables people to continue to work productively and professionally from wherever they need to be;
2. Innovation: it is an innovative solution for today’s stressed and time pressured commuters;
3. Increased creativity: it empowers greater collaborative opportunities and exposure to new ideas by mixing with people outside of the core business;
4. Talent: organisations can gain and retain the best people by providing them the ability to choose where they work from;
5. Retention: employees have greater control over where and how they work;
6. Geographic expansion: it reduces the reliance on geographical location of employee; it increases socioeconomic and cultural diversity;
7. Work-life balance: it is an easy and professional way to enable people to work closer to home as and when they need to;
8. Inclusion: if travelling to the central HQ everyday wasn’t a pre-requisite, what other talent might a company be able to attract to its business?
9. Trust: it propels greater employee engagement by demonstrating trust in staff to be in control of their work; “just because they are sat behind their desk in HQ doesn’t mean they are working”
10. Reduced health and sickness issues: commuting adds to the length of the working day and increases stress. Working in distracting office environments can also impact employees’ health as they can not feeling valued. Absence due to mental health conditions are the single most widespread cause of long term absence and 82% of employers use flexible working as the key way of managing stress and anxiety in the workplace;
11. Remote working: it is much easier to support the company’s remote and flexible working strategies;
12. Integration: easy to integrate with existing intranets and employee social networks;
13. Flexibility: it increases or decreases the size of the workforce dependent on requirements without taking out long term leases;
14. Convert fixed costs to variable costs by renting out spare space and only paying for space when needed. It also allow to better use existing assets;
15. Carbon reduction: providing a “near to home” alternative just a few days a week will significantly reduce a company’s carbon footprint;
16. Local communities: NearDesk local hub programme sets to rejuvenate local communities, “potentially breathing life back into High Streets and providing a “life line” for municipal buildings;”
17. Cost effective: an easy and cost effective way to demonstrably reduce carbon, be more inclusive and contribute to local community development.
This article originally appeared on simply-communicate