Since 2020, telework – partial or total – has been a reality for millions of service sector workers around the world. If it is synonymous with flexibility and freedom for some, many employees want to return “to the office”. But a different office. More flexible, more collaborative: the flex office or flexible office seems to meet the demands of employees – and companies.
Telework consists of working outside the office, at home or in “nomadic” mode in a connected way, thanks to remote communication and collaboration technologies.
The flex office is a way of organizing workspaces without an assigned workstation. It takes place, most often, within open spaces and allows to maximize the occupancy rates.
In Europe, before the health crisis, less than 5% of employees teleworked regularly. Today they are more than triple . Some countries, such as Finland, now even reach 25% of “distance” workers.
Telecommuting has many advantages. It can save time and increase productivity by doing “deep work” . Indeed, away from the office, employees in certain trades would be more efficient. Studies note that an employee in an open space is interrupted more than 130 per day. At home, it would thus be easier to concentrate on the missions of reflection: writing, analysis and modelling.
In addition, working from home saves travel time. When we know that on average, a Parisian employee spends 1h30 per day in transport, it is a significant gain. Thus, 95% of teleworkers claim to benefit from a better quality of their personal life . They no longer waste time on transport but can also better organize their working day. Early risers connected from 8 a.m., athletes who take advantage of the lunch break to run or night owls who prefer to work in the evening: they can all, in absolute terms, work at their own pace.
Conversely, teleworkers can quickly become very isolated – especially when all social interactions are limited. A phenomenon that weighs on the mental health of workers all over the world. More often than not, people working from home also feel a disconnect from their colleagues and their company. Out of sight out of mind ? It is more difficult to project yourself within the group when you are no longer a “group”.
In addition, several negative effects of teleworking can appear in the long term. While many companies feared a drop in the productivity of their teams, we note that employees are working as much or even more than before. In fact, remotely, it 's even harder to disconnect . Above all, it is complex to differentiate between work time/space and personal time/space.
Overall, remote work requires a lot of self-discipline : knowing how to disconnect, knowing how to find a suitable place / time for each mission. That's why many workers don't want to spend most of their time remotely.
Nevertheless, we note that employees now expect more flexibility in their working day. This also involves the “spatial” organization of work. Working in a group in a place of ideation, isolating yourself in a telephone bubble or quite simply finding yourself in an open space shared with your colleagues: for each mission, its place. This is the principle of flex office.
Anne-Sophie Winiszewski, Director at The Boson Project , companies that plan to implement the flexible office “must carry out a thorough reflection on the flexibilization of their organization and what this implies for the teams ”. Indeed, redesigning and redistributing spaces has an impact on office relationships. Management, team cohesion can be turned upside down.
This is why employees must be involved, or at least informed, of the evolution of working methods within the company. For AS. Wineszewski, employees could indeed turn away from it "if they perceive it only as a tool for saving money for the company".
At home, in a coworking space and even in their offices: the employee becomes a nomad . It can change place or even place during the day. What matters: his connection. But also the ease with which we can communicate with him.
Indeed, in a changing world, it is even more important to display the “rules” of new organizations but also to give everyone tools to organize themselves and communicate easily . Thus, teams favor solutions allowing them to know “who” is “where” and to reserve their workstation simply.
The Witco solution helps employees organize their working day. It also allows space managers to know, in real time , the occupancy rate of each type of place . Key data to adapt the office to the reality of the situation (health, economic, internal).
Such a tool makes it possible to support the implementation of flexible working in order to remove the barriers to the adoption of employees. Indeed, if the flex office makes it possible to respond to the objections made to teleworking, it also encounters detractors. Loss of bearings, time, lack of visibility… However, a dedicated app offers transparency and efficiency.
Flex office and telecommuting are two modes of flexible work organization. Both experienced meteoric growth during the health crisis. Today, they seem well on their way to becoming key features of the world of work. Indeed, both require adaptation on the part of the Company – at the level of its offices as well as its teams. Today, it is therefore not a question of opposing “flexible office” and “telework” but of choosing and supporting the implementation of the method that best meets the needs of its organization and its employees.
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