More and more companies are looking to implement shared office spaces. These can be a huge cost saver, reducing office size and desk space. Shared office spaces can also build relationships between co-workers, creating a more collaborative working environment and a greater sense of community within the organization. While there are countless benefits to a shared space, it can be challenging to implement. We will discuss five ideas to help you optimize your shared office space, cultivating the productive and collaborative workspace that you are striving for.
What Is a Shared Office Space?
A shared office space consists of various workstations that can be used by many employees at different times. For example, instead of sitting at a dedicated desk every day, a person can occupy the shared office desk as soon as another one leaves the table. This setup is most commonly used in coworking spaces but recently, more and more companies have been looking at it as an effective cost-saving measure. Shared office space designs are known to balance limited available space while allowing team members the flexibility and capacity to work in an area that best suits their tasks and preferences.
What Is the Difference Between Shared Workspaces, Shared Offices, and Coworking?
Before starting with tips and tricks, we should address popular misconceptions that tend to arise when talking about shared office spaces or, in other words, shared workspaces. As described above, it refers to an unassigned seating policy when one workstation can be used by many employees at different times.
Shared workspaces should not be confused with shared offices. The term describes offices in which all workstations are shared. An office should not be classified as “shared” if it offers a selection of common workstations as well as private, dedicated desks and rooms.
Although coworking literally happens everywhere - even virtually - the concept popularly describes an arrangement when two or more businesses start operating in a single office space. This way, the parties benefit from sharing the costs, such as rent, bills, and overheads. In a similar manner, coworking spaces can offer a work environment not only for teams, but also for self-employed professionals.
5 Ways to Optimize Your Shared Office Space
With flexibility and optimization, your shared office space will thrive in an environment of creativity and collaboration.
First and foremost, you should implement a shared desks policy if you have not already. This office organization system involves multiple workers using a single physical workstation or desk throughout different periods of time. This allows team members to rotate through workstations throughout the day, taking full advantage of their shared office space.
Desk sharing provides team members the flexibility to choose their workspace according to their activity. If one team member has a call with a client or a highly-focused task in which they need silence and privacy, they can choose to switch to a workspace better suited to their needs. Alternatively, if a team member wants collaboration for an assignment, they can choose to work in an area that faces co-workers to communicate easily while working. Essentially, team members will be able to move throughout the office, sharing desk spaces with one another to use the office space efficiently. While shared desk office design could be cause for concern in a pandemic, there are ways to ensure that it is done safely, which brings us to desk booking software.
Desk Booking Software
While sharing a desk at work is extremely beneficial, it can be challenging to put into practice, especially when safety is a concern. As with any shared space, employees will have to communicate with one another to coordinate a switch in seating to ensure there are no conflicts. Furthermore, you do not want your employees standing idly while trying to find an open workspace. For this reason, smart office providers offer shared office desks’ booking solutions. This allows an organization to upload the layout of their office space to a system to be used as an interactive floor map with real-time space usage tracking.
Using a desk booking solution, team members will be able to view all workspaces at a given time and book a space available that suits their needs. This reduces the confusion of sharing desks, ensuring a seamless shared workspace environment. This way, team members are guaranteed the workspace of their choice through self-assigned seating. Alternatively, management has the ability to assign seating, ensuring that team members are only able to book their assigned desks. This software also includes room booking features, providing private rooms for meetings, conferences, and collaborative projects.
These features are extremely valuable in a shared workspace, guaranteeing that team members can share desks without conflict or confusion. Another significant benefit of desk booking software, especially today where office safety is a priority, is capacity management. You can define the maximum capacity of a workspace, ensuring that you are within your company's team member capacity regulation. Furthermore, you can block off specific desks or areas to guarantee a socially distanced office, making employees comfortable to come back to work at no health risk. With desk booking software, you can spread employees out and leave time between team members using a desk to ensure that the area is sanitized and safe.
In addition to desk booking software, there are countless other technologies to optimize your shared desk office. AI and IoT integration can simplify the management of a workspace and connect remote team members to those in the office. With remote access capabilities, team members can access shared data from any location, whether they are in the same office or not. A great feature of IoT is sensors, allowing facilities managers remote access to the office space at any time. This could include occupancy sensors, equipment monitoring, and even air conditioning and lighting. These technologies ensure that your workspace is being managed at all times, guaranteeing optimal working conditions for team members both remote and in-office.
For even more shared workspace optimization, you can equip workspaces with flexible features that cater to your location and adapt to team member's needs. A feature that many team members have taken to utilizing is adjustable standing desks. For many, sitting at a desk all day can be unproductive and even uncomfortable. Standing desks allow team members to work while standing, keeping them more active and engaged in their work. Users can adjust the desk to their height, promoting good health and an active mind. Another great feature is privacy desk panels. This can allow users the privacy they may need for tasks that require heavy focus, blocking out distractions. In smaller workspaces with limited rooms, this is a great tool allowing team members to create their own cubicle without needing a private room.
The same idea goes for small phone booths. Often team members need to make important phone calls with clients, and a busy office can be loud and disrupting. Providing team members with phone booths gives them a quiet and private area to conduct phone and video calls with no external disturbances. These features are easy additions to any workspace and can make all the difference to team members, creating a flexible office space.
Our final idea to optimize your shared workspace is not exclusive to team members in the physical workspace. With limited seating and safety concerns, it may not be optimal to bring every single team member back to the office. With hybrid offices, team members can choose to work in-office or remote. This allows greater flexibility for the needs of your team members and will limit needed office space. Because capacity is a concern, reducing the number of employees in the office will ensure that you are within office capacity regulations and can socially distance team members at work. With the help of smart technology, you can manage an inclusive and safe workspace, allowing team members to collaborate from any location, at any time.
Shared office spaces are great for cultivating flexibility and collaboration within your office. Using these five ideas, you can optimize this space to be as efficient as possible. Prioritizing the comfort of your workspace will result in more productive and engaged team members, which translates into success for your company. No two employees are the same, so there is no single approach to office design. Incorporating an array of workspaces and flexible office features will ensure that all team members have a workspace that suits them. With personal touches and flexible options, your organization will thrive in an environment of creativity and collaboration.