• By admin
  • March 15, 2024




Flexible work arrangements (FWAs) are becoming more popular and widespread in many organizations, as they offer employees more choice and control over when, where, and how they work. FWAs can include part-time work, compressed workweeks, telework, job sharing, and other forms of work design that deviate from the traditional 9-to-5 office model. FWAs can have positive impacts on employee well-being, satisfaction, productivity, and organizational performance, as well as reducing costs and environmental impacts. However, FWAs also pose some challenges and risks for managers, teams, and individuals such as; communication difficulties, coordination problems, isolation, work-life conflict, and perceived unfairness. Therefore, FWAs need to be carefully designed, implemented, and evaluated to ensure that they benefit both employees and employers.

One type of FWA that has gained attention in recent years is the flexible workspace, also known as the activity-based workspace (ABW). A flexible workspace is a work environment that provides a variety of settings for different types of work activities, such as individual workstations, collaborative areas, meeting rooms, quiet zones, lounge spaces, and so on. Employees are free to choose the most suitable setting for their current task, mood, or preference, rather than being assigned to a fixed desk or office. A flexible workspace can enhance employee wellness in several ways:

· It can increase employee autonomy and empowerment, as they can decide where and how to work according to their needs and preferences. This can boost their motivation, engagement, and satisfaction with their work.

· It can encourage physical movement and activity throughout the day, as employees switch between different settings and locations. This can improve their health, fitness, and energy levels, as well as prevent musculoskeletal problems and fatigue.

· It can foster social interaction and collaboration among employees, as they encounter different people and teams in various settings. This can enhance their sense of belonging, trust, and support, as well as stimulate creativity and innovation.

· It can provide employees with access to diverse resources and amenities such as; natural light, ventilation, plants, ergonomic furniture, and technology, among others. This can create a comfortable and pleasant work environment that supports their physical and mental well-being.


However, a flexible workspace also has some potential drawbacks that need to be addressed:

· It can create uncertainty and confusion among employees about where to find their colleagues or how to reserve a space. This can hamper communication and coordination within and across teams, as well as affect employee performance and productivity.

· It can reduce employee privacy and personalization of their workspaces. This can make them feel less attached to their work environment and less able to express their identity and preferences.

· It can increase employee stress and anxiety about finding a suitable space or coping with distractions and interruptions from others. This can affect their concentration, focus, and quality of work.

· It can generate feelings of inequity or resentment among employees who perceive that some spaces are more desirable or accessible than others. This can undermine their morale and commitment to the organization.

Therefore, a flexible workspace needs to be carefully planned, managed, and evaluated to ensure that it meets the needs and expectations of both employees and employers. Below are some of the best practices for creating a successful flexible workspace:

· Involving employees in the design and implementation process of the flexible workspace. This can increase their acceptance and ownership of the change, as well as elicit their feedback and suggestions for improvement.

· Providing clear guidelines and policies for using the flexible workspace. This can reduce ambiguity and conflict among employees about how to access and share the spaces, as well as ensure fairness and accountability.

· Offering training and support for employees to adapt to the flexible workspace. This can help them develop the skills and behaviors needed to work effectively in different settings and situations.

· Monitoring and evaluating the outcomes of the flexible workspace. This can help identify the benefits and challenges of the flexible workspace for employee wellness and organizational performance.

A flexible workspace is a promising form of FWA that can enhance employee wellness in multiple ways. However, it also requires careful consideration of its implications for managers, teams, and individuals. OBG Virtual Office in Nairobi is a good example of how a well-thought-out flexible workspace can create and accommodate a healthy, diverse, and productive workforce.

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