What Is Flexible Office Space (+ 6 Flexible Workspace Design Ideas)

A flexible office is a type of full-service workspace that provides teams and individuals with different work options depending on their current needs. Employees can meet in a common space to kick off the project, split up with their team to plan the details, or move freely between break rooms, quiet zones, and collaborative spaces. It's up to them where they work best!

Flexible Office Space Explained

Flexible office spaces, also known as a “flexispaces," is an alternative to the traditional office space. They consist of everything found in a traditional office but are set up to be highly versatile. The concept aims to meet the diverse needs of employees and offer a wealth of other benefits in terms of culture, productivity and performance. A flexible office space is a fantastic way for businesses of all sizes to respond flexibly to business or economic uncertainties, prepare for employee growth, and adjust costs to match headcount.

But what type of flexible office space is right for you?

Types Of Flexible Office Space 

There are different types of flexible offices available. 

First, there is the coworking centre, which offers a creative and collaborative atmosphere. It usually consists of an open workspace with distributed desks, where each desk or group of desks is rented to another business. Coworking centres can also offer lounge areas and access to meeting rooms and private office space, and are a great solution for responding to cultural changes in the workplace.

Similarly, a serviced office centre has open-plan workstations and break areas, but the majority of the space is typically used as individual offices, meeting rooms and boardrooms. A serviced office centre also has a reception team, support services and IT, which takes care of any issues, making it especially attractive to those seeking seamless workplace management and a professional, business-oriented environment.

Finally, there's the shared office. In an office sharing arrangement, one company rents out its spare desks and offices to other companies, who benefit from the image advantages of a commercial office address. A shared office is often the most affordable type of office centre because you only pay a portion of the rent. It’s ideal for businesses that only need a space to set up shop and work in a professional environment.

That said, let's move on to the individual workstation that you can rent:

Dedicated Desk

A dedicated desk is a workspace that is just for you! In an open area, you share the common areas with the other members or tenants, but the desk and chair are exclusively yours, often with a lockable cabinet. You can put your things there for the duration of the tenancy and do not have to pack everything back up at the end of the day. This makes the desk a little more expensive than a hot desk.

Hot Desk

A hot desk is similar to a fixed desk, except you don't have an assigned workstation. When you rent a hot desk, you're paying for a desk (or group of desks) in an open area, and that space can change from day to day. Nonetheless, you'll always have a place to sit, and you can also take advantage of on-site amenities, such as meeting rooms, a kitchen, and break areas for leisure.

Private Office

A private office can range from a single office to an entire floor of multiple offices. The important thing is that the space is lockable and only you have access! A private office space is ideal for confidentiality and security. If you’re renting one in a serviced office, you can include additional services like mail handling, phone answering, and other administrative support in your package. 

Virtual Office

A virtual office provides business support and a reputable address without the need for a physical office space, and are the most affordable type of office space. Offered by serviced office centres, they are great for small businesses in need of a reputable business address at a cost-effective price. Virtual offices are also popular with businesses expanding into new markets, as the address can help build trust with locals.

woman at work talking to a virtual assistant

A Closer Look at the Flex Space Infrastructure

Essential Characteristics: Open-plan Designs, Focus Zones, Activity-Based Areas

It certainly whets one's curiosity – what makes an office space 'flexible'? Although there isn't a fixed blueprint (the irony!), three elements are broadly consistent across typical flex spaces.

The first among these is open-plan office layouts. By doing away with rigid partitions like high cubicle walls or fully enclosed private rooms - save for executive suites or confidential meeting areas - open plans inspire collaboration and fluidity. You're not bounded anymore by four solid walls; instead, you're part of a broader organizational ecosystem where transparency reigns supreme.

Next up in our trinity is focus zones. These are quiet corners peppered throughout the area where individuals can indulge in heads-down work without distraction. They are invaluable when concentration and solitude are top priorities.

Last but not least, we disembark onto activity-based areas. Here lie various specially designed spots tailored for specific functions - brainstorming sessions at whiteboard-filled tables or casual chit-chats over coffee on cozy couches in lounge spaces.

The beauty of such an office is the wedded bliss of freedom and function - you choose not just how you work but also where.

Shared Facilities: Meeting Rooms, Kitchens, Lounges

Another signature element intrinsic to flexible offices is shared facilities. As businesses increasingly lean towards efficiency and cost-cutting, having common resources helps keep overhead costs low while meeting employee needs.

Kitted out with state-of-the-art meeting rooms for formal team huddles or client meetings, comfortable lounges for relaxed discussions or coffee breaks, and functional kitchens to satisfy midday munchies - these spaces deliver on all fronts. A highlight here is often the networking opportunities these communal areas foster. It's no surprise then that according to research published in Harvard Business Review, employees at co-working spaces report levels of thriving close to an average of 6 on a 7-point scale—roughly one entire point higher than employees who work in regular offices.

Adaptable Furniture and Technology Integration

Last but not least, among the characteristics defining flexible office spaces comes adaptable furniture and innovative technological integration.

Integrating modular furniture like movable desks, adjustable chairs, or mobile dividers reflects flexibility even in material objects around you. The purpose? To tailor-make your space each day as per your evolving preferences.

Equally crucial is technology’s role — seamless WIFI connectivity across zones, user-friendly booking systems for meeting room reservations, and convenient plug-and-play stations are some examples. Such digital cornerstones empower those using flex spaces by ensuring smooth transitions between tasks and locations within the workspace.

Benefits of a Flexible Workspace

Still wondering what benefits coworking offers? Let’s see a few we’ve highlighted…

Low Start Up Cost

A coworking space or serviced office centre gives you the office space you need without the hassle and expense of a traditional office. You do not have to worry about real estate, equipment, furniture, contractors or planning your headcount for five years. Entrepreneurs, startups and freelancers can keep costs and risk low in the early stages of their business in this way.


Flexibility is an important factor in the growth of the coworking sector. Thanks to shorter, rolling month-to-month contracts, you don't have to commit for longer than you're comfortable with. In addition, you can increase, decrease or relocate as your business grows or changes. This also applies if you want to move from a desk to an office, from part-time to full-time, or add parking to your package!

Great Location

If you rent a traditional office space, you'll most likely have to sacrifice location for affordable rent. But with coworking options you'll likely be much more central, making the location attractive to employees and new hires. In addition, having an impressive address on your business card will enhance your business image, and your office will be easily accessible to clients.

Networking Opportunities

Many coworking options are specifically designed for collaboration and feature large break rooms, ping pong tables, and often an event programme with professional workshops and social gatherings. The networking opportunities can be a great benefit if you are looking to grow your business and expand your network. You might find potential partners, colleagues and clients… sitting next to you!

Better Work-Life Balance

Work-life balance reduces stress and prevents employees from burning out, while making them more productive. Coworking options offer a work environment that promotes a healthy work-life balance and offers plenty of break areas to relax and recharge. There’s usually free coffee, beanbags, social events and wellness activities, all of which make for a happy and enjoyable atmosphere. 

Cute little girl embracing working mother

6 Flexible Workspace Design Ideas

Here are some elements driving trends in flexible office space that you might want to look for:

Shared Resources

Shared resources that have the greatest impact on satisfaction include fully stocked cafes, comfortable lounges, and open areas where employees can stretch or move around. Regardless of who works where, everyone must have access to them. You should ensure that office procedures run smoothly.

Breakout Spaces

Despite the collaborative nature of flexispaces, employees need the ability to work in smaller groups or alone. They're a quick break from the generally noisy, fast-paced, agile environment. Quiet zones are also a must to balance the busy hum of open spaces; they allow for privacy and focused thinking.

Mobility Support

Employees should be able to do their work from anywhere, not just from their desks. Make sure there is reliable wireless connectivity throughout the building. Bonus points for chairs and desks with built-in power sources, which save employees from having to find an outlet or return to their desks to charge their devices.

Activity-Based Workstations

The most effective office spaces are designed to meet the varying desires and physical needs of employees. Some employees need a simple desk and ergonomic chair with adequate back support to focus, while others prefer to stand while working to improve circulation and avoid sedentary work. 

Flexible Furniture

Flexible workspaces and furniture greatly encourage collaboration. Employees will be more willing to collaborate if they can easily move chairs and tables. Look for modular sofas and stools, and large conference table that can be used for games during lunch breaks.

Open Plan Layouts

Flexible workspaces usually feature a basic open concept. On the other hand, long tables with closely packed employees are not ideal. Noise pollution leads to less work being done, which ultimately costs your company money. Instead, look for open plan offices with workstations for two, three or four people.

Key Considerations for Implementing Flexible Workspace in Your Business

As we delve into the practical aspects of introducing a flexible working space, let's discuss some essential factors playing pivotal roles in this decision-making process.

Assessment of Company Size and Culture Compatibility

To align with the proposition of transitioning into a flexible office environment, measuring its potential impact on your business operations is crucial. For small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), taking up co-working spaces might be an ideal alternative due to their lower setup costs and inherent scalability.

In stark contrast, large corporations typically have specific and complex requirements that could limit the appeal of shared office environments. Yet, they certainly can benefit from implementing elements of 'flexibility' within their premises to foster creativity and encourage employee collaboration.

The concept of a flexible workspace also presents itself as more than just physical adjustments—it also reflects your company culture. If adaptability, innovation, and collaboration are integral components of your organizational DNA, switching to flexible workspaces can be a solid testament to these values.

Establishing a Variety of Workspaces To Support Diverse Work Needs

A truly effective, flexible working space offers variety—which is essential. It recognizes the innate diversity within any corporate ecosystem where distinct job functions necessitate different work setups. Therefore plan for the following:

  • Personal desks for those requiring focused individual tasks.
  • Shared tables accommodating team collaborations or group projects.
  • Private booths act as quiet zones facilitating intense work periods or confidential meetings.
  • Casual lounge areas entice relaxed discussions during breaks or informal brainstorming sessions.

By combining all these disparate elements under one roof, you're essentially acknowledging and catering to your team's unique work preferences and styles, empowering them in the process.

ecmployees in a flexible office space having a break

Introducing Flexible Workspaces to Your Employees

The modern workspace is efficient and flexible – but only if employees buy in. To create a workplace culture that supports these values, introduce and explain the new, different workspaces to your employees and then let them discover their benefits. When the workplace adapts naturally to their habits and tasks, they will see it for themselves! 

The most important thing is to start: Give your employees the freedom to make decisions about their workspace, and they will soon adopt flexible working, while you benefit from the efficient use of space.

FAQ on Flexible Office Space

In recognizing the widely adopted shift toward more adaptable working environments, I'll address a few frequently asked questions. This closer look will inevitably shed more light on what sets flexible office spaces apart from their conventional counterparts.

What Is the Difference Between a Flexible Workspace and a Traditional Office?

First, let's compare flexible workspaces to traditional offices.

traditional office often follows a fixed layout with permanently assigned seating arrangements – closed offices or cubicles dedicated to each employee. It operates under long-term leases that can span up to 10 years or longer. The tenant is commonly responsible for utilities, maintenance, furniture, and other overhead costs.

On the contrary, a flexible workspace also called a flex space in business real estate, embodies adaptability in its design and lease terms. Renting flexible office space offers businesses an open-plan design imbued with shared facilities like lounges and meeting rooms, which foster collaboration and innovation among team members. Furniture is typically modular, making it easy to adjust based on the current needs of a business or team - break-out areas for brainstorming sessions today could be transformed into personal focus zones tomorrow.

Moreover, renting such a space gives businesses access to shorter lease terms backed by simplified monthly payments covering rent, utilities, and other related service charges - offering significant cost-savings over time.

What Is the Difference Between Flexible Office and Fixed Office?

The main differences between flexible (or flex) office spaces and fixed offices come down to three major components: spatial structure, leasing conditions, and overall culture:

  • Spatial Structure: A fixed office promotes permanent structures with designated sit-down spots for each worker, leaving little room for changes once set up. Conversely, flexibility reigns supreme within flexible spaces; various workplace settings are developed to cater to diverse work needs.
  • Leasing Conditions: Leasing generally entails prolonged contractual periods with full accountability for operational expenses falling on the renter in a fixed office setting. In contrast, flexible office space rental is typically underpinned by shorter, more adaptable leases, which often include all-inclusive packages covering the monthly rent and other associated costs.
  • Overall Culture: Fixed offices tend to foster an environment of isolation—a stark difference from the pronounced collaborative ethos that thrives within flex spaces owing to their design emphasizing shared resources and open layouts.

In essence, flexible workspaces unlock efficiency and adaptability—cornerstones that are increasingly appreciated in our modern business landscape geared towards agility and innovation.

Topics: Workplace management

Still using makeshift workplace
management tools?

Join the thousands of forward-thinking companies that use YAROOMS
to manage their workplaces.

Still using makeshift workplace management tools?
Join the thousands of forward-thinking companies that use YAROOMS to manage their workplaces.
Schedule a demo Platform Tour