The plight of the coronavirus pandemic has brought the world to a standstill. The economic topsy-turvy has forced businesses and organizations to adapt to new ways of working. Although the pandemic has popularized the ‘work from home’ culture, the question arises- can home offices substitute regular offices? Do you need to commute to your office once situations are normal? 

While a lot of us will agree that home offices are way more convenient and inexpensive, let’s not forget about the fact that not everyone has a convenient work-friendly environment at home. In a sense, remote working has turned out to be a boon for most office-goers. You are no longer stuck in the monotony of your cubicle or work desk every day, thus reducing your chances of burnout. 

But will remote working continue to ensure employee productivity, loyalty and cultural fit? How do you preserve the essence of remote working, but also integrate the positives of the conventional corporate workspace? 

Here is a deep dive into the evolving corporate workspace design, vis a vis flexible workspaces and the coworking office layout. 

 

Why Coworking Office Layouts and Flexible Offices?

Are you someone who dislikes stepping into your regular boring workspace every day? Are you someone who finds work from home extremely monotonous? Does your drab working atmosphere and workload make you feel like Atlas with the burden of the world on your shoulders?

Here’s a one-stop solution for all your problems. ‘Flexible workspaces’ have changed the entire concept of office culture. The traditional office set up is more of a white elephant today. Companies are now focusing on shifting to an informal, hybrid, and futuristic office set up that is beneficial to both the employer and the employee. A coworking office layout is a game-changer in the world of remote culture. Apart from the plethora of benefits that it comes with, coworking spaces and flexible offices are perfect to maintain a healthy work-life balance, making it less hectic and more productive. 

Why Does Your Office Layout Matter?

Who would’ve thought office designs and layout can influence the overall productivity and well-being of an employee to the extent that it does? How “open” the layout is, the functionality vs comfort factor, the colour pallet, direction of traffic, provision for recreation, and so on, have a huge impact on the collaborative spirit, productivity, and morale of your workforce.  

Here are a few recent models of corporate workspace designs and design factors which have proven to be effective:

 

Decentralized Office

The conventional office follows a strict and rigid office hierarchy. In contrast to that, the new and improved flexible office layout emphasises decentralised office spaces to avoid employee gathering at particular hotspots and also extends the management, ideation, and decision-making away from the “centre”. 

In a centralised office setup, a single executive group exercises authority and decision-making power. The flow of information and orders is unidirectional, flowing down hierarchically from the top down to the lower levels. 

In a decentralised office, smaller focused teams or individuals are treated as autonomous units, and function almost independently under the umbrella of the same organisation. The flow of information is more fluid and front-line employees and individuals have the authority to make strategic decisions. 

Coworking office layout is an example of the decentralised model, as it is anti-hierachy by nature and allows for ideation and execution in smaller groups or as individuals.

 

Hub and Spoke Model

The traditional corporate layout is linear and point-to-point in nature, which does have its own benefits but can also contribute towards dragging down efficiency. The origin of this model is in the transportation industry, but it fits perfectly into re-organizing the traditional corporate workspace layout as well if implemented creatively.

A hub and spoke model has a central office (or “hub”) but also provides smaller satellite offices (or “spokes”) across several cities to ensure better decentralisation of authority and work. In fact, you can even consider remote teams as “spokes” with project management softwares for allocating tasks as the “hub”.

The hub and spoke model was originally developed to boost efficiency while preserving resources in the transportation industry, and its benefits stay intact when you implement it to streamline your business as well. 

 

Multiple Work Headquarters

Having multiple headquarters, also known as “split-operations” is the perfect solution for a business that is stagnating due to lack of room for growth, both literally and figuratively. Having multiple “work” headquarters allows expansion of infrastructure, operations, consumer-base, while allowing you to recruit more talent without overcrowding. Multiple headquarters can cross-function under a single leadership and “brand”, while enhancing productivity and collaboration between semi-autonomous teams.

 

Hybrid Office Structure

A hybrid office structure has multiple reporting structures, typically combining the ‘functional’ and ‘product-based’ structures, in a workplace. In this setup, employees work on multiple projects while reporting to multiple managers, creating a dynamic and collaborative workplace. Each employee is utilized to their maximum, conserving resource while allowing them flexibility and variety in their work atmosphere.

 

coworking office layout

 

The “Post-COVID Office”

After the lockdowns due to the pandemic, we are used to working from the comforts of our homes or cafes- snacking, taking breaks, socialising, or napping when work gets the better of us. Going back to a traditional office scenario seems like a nightmare now. 

Even from a managerial point of view, the conservation of resources and streamlining of operations that the WFH model proved possible was an eye-opener. It is no wonder that many think that the “office” is a dying concept.

As the world is opening up once again, the office layout will have to evolve as well. Here are a few trends that seem to be doing wonders in revolutionizing work-culture in the post-COVID world:

 

1. Decentralisation is Key

The various office models we discussed earlier are all examples of decentralisation or semi-decentralisation. These, along with the coworking office layout, are coming into favour with most organisations today. These setups are going to be key in maintaining social-distancing while streamlining operations. 

2. Resize and Renovate

Resizing and changes in office designs can sound challenging but if it can positively affect the growth and productivity of your company, why not? Incorporating quirky designs and layouts will boost employee energy and make them feel that their work is meaningful. Coworking office layouts grant employees freedom to work at their own pace. At the same time, you can save on office lease and other resources which coworking spaces or hybrid offices provide.

3. Recreation Matters

The corporate world no longer lives up to the robotic dreary workplace stereotype. Especially post-pandemic, the focus on relaxation and mental health is at the forefront. 

Breakrooms, amphitheatres, designated conference rooms, nap rooms, even gyms and cafes, the post-COVID workplace does its best to create a healthy room for work-life balance even within the workspace. 

A happy, relaxed, and rejuvenated employee is a productive employee is perhaps a much-needed lesson the lockdown has taught the corporate world. Coworking office layouts and hybrid layouts are perhaps the champions of this mantra. 

4. Safety First

Most importantly, an employee must feel safe and secure in their respective workspace. Running an organization can be an uphill journey. Thousands of employees interact and work towards a specific goal. But what a company does for its employees and how it treats them is something we often neglect. Coworking office layouts with a well-ventilated pollution-free environment, clean sanitised furniture and appliances, and hygienic washrooms are a few provisions that companies can no longer compromise on, especially in the post-COVID world.

 

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Coworking Office Layout: The New “Office”

A flexible workspace adheres to strict guidelines regarding cleanliness and sanitisation in these times of crisis, yet does not fail to encourage socialization amongst employees. Open floors and open office designs create a lively and collaborative work environment that pushes employees to strive for better productivity. Whether you are a freelancer or a data analyst, coworking office layout is for everyone.

Apart from being beneficial for the company’s reputation or brand value, it promotes a sense of oneness and builds better work connections, which is quite underrated. Coworking office designs will encourage you to think out of the box, making your company stand out and different from others. 

 

The Bottom Line

If you were sceptical about switching to a coworking office layout or decentralised office, hopefully, these tips and hacks have made it a more enticing and logical prospect. In a rapidly developing world, coworking office layouts and flexible workspaces will help you fit into the corporate culture without any inconvenience. 

After all, man is a social animal and being confined within four walls can affect him both mentally and physically. Most companies that have opted for coworking office layouts have noticed a drastic positive change in employee productivity. 

Having said that, it’s safe to say that flexible office designs and coworking office setups are a blessing in today’s world, a world that gets more competitive and tough to survive with each passing day.