Refurbishing office spaces to dynamic offices: what to consider when adopting a flex-office concept?
The principles of a flex office are simple: dedicated spaces with self-service workstations in shared, open, flexible and connected office spaces. With reduction of costs, increased employees productivity, well-being and mobility, as well as digitalization of workplaces, the concept of flex offices has gradually entered within a lot of companies worldwide. This blog highlights some of the challenges as well of the wins some French companies went through when they stepped from a fixed workplace to a flex office.
The revolution of designing a digital workspace
When it comes to adopting emerging technologies and moving towards digital transformation, many French companies are still reluctant to change. Other companies on the other hand have recognized the need of flexibility, mobility of employees and have decided to embark the revolution of rethinking and redesigning traditional models in favor of open and efficient workplaces and digital experiences provided to their employees. This trend has been now set by companies such as Sanofi, Axa, Capgemini, Deloitte, PwC or Danone: all have focused on a true digitalization of their company and a transformation to flex office.
Marc Zuili, CIO, Deloitte France, recognizes that everything is digital driven nowadays and that this affects the way employees work and also what they expect from their companies in terms of services and experiences provided. Deloitte has totally adapted their workplace to be an flex office. They offer various services to their employees, so each consultant or partner can freely work in assigned working zone and control every service through smartphones.
At Axa France, open spaces and new meeting spaces are encouraging collaboration between teams and represent the start of a real cultural transformation. By now, more than 2,000 AXA employees have been encouraged and supported to evolve towards an activity-based spatial organization.
When moving to a new headquarter, Capgemini embraced the new ways of working and is one of the first flex office with desk sharing of Capgemini. This project. also called, “The 147” is a continuation of a global plan for the transformation and modernization of real estate, conducted over the last three years, consisting of consolidating the Capgemini Group's various sites to offer the functionalities and services corresponding to the real needs of employees.
The rise of the flex office: advantages of the offices of the future
New generation’s work mentality, as well as fast adoption of emerging technologies, have required a different rework of the workplace strategy and company culture, with real impact on the managerial dimension, HR and space utilization. What are the main advantages of switching to flex offices?
Imagine, computer and smartphone in hand, the employee moves to a different office every day and spends time in collective spaces like the cafeteria or lounge…. No more dedicated workstation for maximum flexibility. Employees are free to work where they want, in conditions that mostly suit them. It is the “no fixed office” which allows these daily exchanges between employees of different services, encouraging collaboration and improving creativity, which allows working in more pleasant and agile work spaces.
Cost reduction & efficient space
Shared office spaces are a way to optimize unused office space, which is for Paris for example estimated at 50% to 60% over the year. Adopting a flex office concept has therefore also economical implications and reasons: removing unused furniture and providing less workstations by diversifying work environments and focusing on zones and providing other services useful to employees (cafes, meet & co-working zones, relax- and play-zones, quiet rooms). When rethinking the workplace space, companies choose to focus on the well-being of employees.
Breaking the silos of departments
Beyond the gain in health at work and especially in cost reduction, flex office is based on a question of management and communication. Traditionally organized into services and distinct territories, companies that dare to flex office have had to “break the silos” existing: employees can regroup and meet based on the projects they are involved in and their availability.
Recipe for success: providing the right technologies
In order to have a successful flex-office, it is necessary to deploy the right technology and encourage all employees to make this change. From audio-visual equipment, options to work remotely, to platforms to control services in the building (light, temperature, space occupancy, colleagues findability), insight in desk occupancy, self-serviced dynamic storage - all of these smart digital tools are mandatory to enable on one hand employees move towards a flex office and help facility managers on the other hand manage efficiently this kind of office spaces.