As companies map out what their return-to-office (RTO) plan will look like, accounting for flexible workspace will be a crucial piece of the strategy. In this article series, Colliers’ workplace experts offer insights on navigating the dance of RTO, helping to define the next steps forward and set the stage for success.
The previous article uncovered what may be missing from the critical RTO conversations companies are currently having, and the question of flexibility is a key piece: Why should every company incorporate flex solutions as they bring their workforce back and plan for the future?
The Benefits of Flex
For many, the RTO narrative has hinged between two options: work from home or going into an office. The idea of flex introduces a third option that fulfills a variety of business needs:
- Financial: flex solutions don’t follow the cost structure of a traditional lease, eliminating overhead spend, equipment costs and more. Many use a pay-as-you-go model which provides greater cost efficiency for many companies that are unsure about what their office utilization will be in the short term.
- Operational: using a single flex supplier often creates several operational efficiencies due to the in-house services they offer.
- Data/Utilization Tracking and Metrics: With on-demand flex solutions flooding the marketplace, occupiers now have the ability to accurately obtain data and utilization metrics of their workforce. Capturing such data allows occupiers to make more strategic decisions regarding future occupancy needs.
Beyond the operational, financial and data-based benefits of using flex, companies are uniquely positioned to take advantage of the increased employee engagement and agility that flex can provide.
Boosting Employee Engagement
Today’s employees have more choice than ever in the marketplace. As companies look to attract and retain the industry’s best talent, offering flex work options, such as access to coworking spaces, can appeal to current employees and job seekers.
Many flex providers are experts in hospitality, with alluring amenities and stunning design that serve as a perfect middle ground for those feeling uninspired by the home office but not looking to go back to their cubicle full-time. These spaces are also typically available in several locations, reducing potential commute times. This workplace beautification and convenience of flex can empower current employees and draw new hires.
Remaining Agile in Fast-Paced Market Conditions
The last 18 months threw a series of curveballs for companies that work in offices. Information and forecasts continue to evolve at a rapid pace, making it hard for many to commit to long-term or traditional leases. The ability to remain agile in this period of uncertainty can be invaluable.
The competitiveness of the current job market makes for constantly changing headcounts, an unpredictability that flex can easily accommodate. If urgent space needs arise as a workforce expands or contracts, flex can fill immediate needs unlike the lengthier process involved with signing a traditional office lease. It also removes the costs and time associated with designing and furnishing a space.
Similarly, for companies that are focused on M&A expansions or growing in new territories, outsourcing to flex workspace mitigates risk during those phases of transformation.
As companies work to create their RTO choreography, incorporating flex solutions can help them find the perfect rhythm, moving with the ebbs and flows of the job market and staying agile on their toes during this time of ambiguity.
Stay tuned for the next article in the RTO series, which will provide insights on portfolio management.