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Physical floor space: does your business need it?

With the adoption of technology and the growing demand for virtual workplaces, many companies are downsizing or eliminating their physical office space.

The last few years in particular have seen more companies looking into their options when it comes to office spaces. The COVID-19 pandemic saw many businesses become accustomed to and enjoy a remote working situation. Last year, Australia’s office market vacancy increased to 11.7% – the highest it’s been since 1997.

This has many CEOs and managers wondering if they need to keep a physical office entirely.

Some companies are moving to a more flexible model with an open floor plan while others are eliminating their physical office space altogether and focusing on virtual work environments.

However, there a number of factors you need to take into account when considering downsizing or eliminating your office space.

Cost-effective

It’s a no-brainer: eliminating a physical office would save your business a lot in rental fees, bills, and IT infrastructure. Physical offices are expensive to maintain and manage, and keeping overheads down is a crucial consideration.

Lowering your outgoing expenses could be simplified by reducing or altogether eliminating your office space.

However, you will still be responsible for your employees’ work devices, from mobile phones to desktop computers. Maintaining and replacing these devices is vital to ensuring a smooth working experience for all, and can be difficult from remote locations.

Business image

A physical office location promotes your company’s image and puts a face to your name. Clients can drop by to meet you in person, which is ideal for building professional relationships. A strong business image helps to create trust between you and your customers, and enhances your company’s reputation.

In a digital workspace, your interaction with clients and potential leads will be limited to emails, phone calls, and video chats. It is entirely possible to conduct all your communication this way, but the personal touch is left out.

Technology

As we have seen in the last two years during the COVID-19 pandemic, technology has adapted in leaps and bounds to help us adjust to remote working situations.

Microsoft’s Modern Workplace combines a set of apps and tools that enable your employees to work securely from any location, on any device. It allows for a seamless communicative and collaborative working experience.

However, digital technology is not the only factor in working from home; internet speed and subpar user devices can majorly impact your employees’ efficiency and productivity. While subpar laptops can be replaced, it’s not quite so easy to fix slow internet speeds, and your impacted employees may spend more time trying to resolve their tech issues than working.

Productivity

Working remotely has boosted productivity among office employees. A recent study showed that over 60% of workers believe they are more productive given flexible work options.

Remote workers are less stressed, have higher levels of self-esteem, and are more likely to stay with their company for a long period of time, compared to those who commute from home or work in an office.

Use and flexibility

Assisting your employees to maintain a healthy work-life balance is important, both for their mental well-being and company loyalty. Allowing for flexible working options could see the majority of your staff choosing to work remotely in order to save time and money commuting, or simply to work in surroundings most comfortable to them without disturbing any co-workers.

If most of your staff are opting to work from home, your physical office space could become largely unused. Discovering how many of your employees plan to return to the office is a critical step before making a decision regarding the floor space.

Communication and collaboration

Collaborative work environments are crucial for success, brainstorming, and support between co-workers. Physical office spaces have made communication effortless; co-workers can simply call meetings in a board room at the drop of a hat, or walk several feet to another office for a brief word.

Reducing or removing physical offices will naturally take away this simplicity.

However, a number of digital platforms were designed with remote working capabilities at their core, such as Microsoft’s Modern Workspace. These platforms contain a number of apps and tools that allow for communication between employees – including phone and video calls, and group chats – and collaboration on documents together in real-time.

Discover the right office solution for your business

Whether you decide to retain your physical office space, reduce it, or eliminate it entirely will depend on your business needs and employees’ functionality. All options have their benefits, but one thing is certain: adapting to new working model expectations is critical in keeping up with this digital age.

Fortunately, the digital workplace consultants at Linktech Australia can help you find the best office solution for your business, no matter how complex your company needs are. Talk to them today and get started on a flexible, scalable work environment that suits your business and employees.