By Dave Clifton
Content Strategy Specialist
The concept of free addressing is booming in workplaces, driven by the benefits of flexible seating. Companies are discovering that, given the chance to choose their own seat and work autonomously, employees respond positively. They get more done, work more efficiently, and collaborate better with peers. The benefits don’t end there, either. There are bottom-line benefits to flexible seating, as well as positives for the workplace environment.
Is flexible seating good? While it depends on the structure of your free addressing system, it’s hard to ignore the many benefits associated with the rise of flex spaces and agile workplaces. Here’s a look at 11 benefits that accompany flexible seating and why they’re worth reconsidering your current floor plan in favor of free addressing.
- Space optimization. It’s vital for companies to maximize their real estate ROI, especially during COVID-19 and limited occupancy guidelines. Flexible seating turns static desking into dynamic workspaces, to encourage better use of available space. More important, flexible seating allows a single space to serve multiple purposes, for even better accommodation of employees and tasks.
- Social distancing. With flexibility comes distance. Employees can transition between spaces as-needed, without impeding the personal space of their coworkers or over-occupying a particular workspace. There are also opportunities to rebalance capacity across the workplace as employees come and go from individual workspaces.
- Change of scenery. Monotony is a killer of productivity. Allowing employees to choose their desking arrangement for the day gives them the ability to break the monotony that can come from the same seating assignment day after day. A new view might inspire a new mood that promotes positivity, which channels into better morale and productivity.
- Workplace agility. Flex spaces correlate with agility and adaptability, which are vital in today’s fast-paced workplaces. Flexible seating allows the physical workplace to keep pace with employee demands in real-time, whether they need a specific type of workstation or multiple workers need to relocate in short order.
- Power of choice. The simple act of allowing employees to choose their own seat or workstation is empowering and shows trust. Employees appreciate the ability to self-govern, and the power of choice gives them this control at a fundamental level. It’s a simple way to empower productivity.
- Enhance comfort. Rather than taking them out of their element, the ability to choose where and how they work is enough to ease many employees into their comfort zone. When they’re not forced to adapt to a specific work style, they’ll gravitate to the one that works best for them. The results are beneficial for employees and employers alike.
- Improve collaboration. Social work environments become more pronounced in a free assigned concept. Whether they enjoy the camaraderie or need to collaborate on a project, employees more freely sync up when there’s nothing tethering them to a specific desk or seating area.
- Foster teams. Alongside a greater sense of togetherness, teams are more productive in collaborative environments of their own design. Flexible seating allows groups to adapt to the demands of their work in real time, which improves every team member’s ability to contribute in a meaningful way.
- Reduce costs. Whether by shrinking the total size of the workplace or by improving the utility of existing real estate, there are bottom-line cost reductions to consider in flexible seating. Cost-conscious companies should evaluate new workplace occupancy limits, as well as the demands of their workforce, to see if there are cost-shrinking opportunities associated with a free assign or agile concept.
- Spatial benefits. Does your office feel cramped? Though we’re (hopefully) removed from cubicle farms and other close-quarters workplace designs, traditional desking can still feel clunky and cumbersome. Flexible environments need to remain agile, which equates to minimalistic, streamlined design that brings a certain breathability to workplaces.
- Boost autonomy. When they’re not anchored to a desk, employees more freely navigate the whole of the workplace. This not only leads to better utilization of all facility amenities, but also a better understanding of how to operate within the workplace. This autonomy translates into a more confident and productive workforce—individuals in their element.
These benefits and others like them are only attainable when you’re committed to a free addressing strategy. A half-hearted attempt isn’t going to cut it. From hot desks to agile workspaces, hoteling to benching, ask yourself: what does flexible seating mean to you? Identify the free addressing concepts that work with your workflows, implement them, and take advantage of the many benefits of flexible seating.
Keep reading: 10 Traits of Distributed Agile Teams