How to Create a More Flexible and Cost-Efficient Workplace

Business Insights

If ‘unprecedented’ was the buzzword of 2020, then the term ‘hybrid’ is a surefire contender for 2021.

After much experimentation with working from home, many businesses are now switching to a hybrid work model. This gives employees greater flexibility over their working week and enables them to split their time between working from home and their regular workplace.

Of course, this still comes with challenges. For those who spend 2 or 3 days working from home, there is the troublesome reality of home-based distractions, unsteady WiFi connections, and isolation.

It also poses the problem of wasted office space. Companies that can’t safely accommodate all of their staff in their offices are continuing to pay for workspace that is heavily under-occupied.

That’s why organisations are seeking to ‘right-size’ their workspace.

One research study by The Instant Group and Hickey suggests that corporate headquarters are expected to shrink by as much as 40% in the coming years as business leaders shift to flexible, hybrid work patterns.

The study found that UK businesses could save up to 23% on average by adopting a right-size approach and reducing wasted space.

Of course, there are advantages for employees, too.

The report found that the average London employee could save £2,200 a year in commuting costs by working closer to home. It’s no surprise that 57% of employees want an office that is closer to their home, while 77% say that a more conveniently located office is a must-have for their next role.

It’s clear that by accommodating their people’s needs, companies stand to improve talent acquisition and retention in addition to cost savings.

So that’s the ‘why’. What about the ‘how’?

Almost two years on from the onset of the pandemic, many companies are still unclear about how to manage their flexible workplace requirements efficiently.

A key consideration is whether your business still requires a head office and if so, how can you make it more flexible and cost-effective?

Right-size your head office for a flexible workforce.

Analyse your space requirements with your hybrid workforce in mind. If 50% of your team work from home each day, you can potentially reduce your office space by as much. This process of ‘right-sizing’ reduces waste and improves cost-efficiency.

If you’re unable to reduce your space (for example due to lease restrictions) consider repurposing vacant office space into collaboration or meeting space. That way your head office can become more of a collaboration hub and a place to reaffirm company culture and values.

Switch to a flexible agreement.

Traditional fixed office leases are understandably a concern for businesses while the current situation is so volatile. That’s why flexible office agreements are gaining in popularity.

One report found that demand for flexible workspace in the UK increased by 37 per cent in the first half of 2021 when compared to the same period in 2020.

Flexible office space is operated on short or mid-term agreements, typically ranging between 6 months and 3 years. It provides a private workspace in a staffed business centre with shared facilities including meeting rooms, business lounges, kitchen areas, and reception services.

There are different sized spaces in the building, which gives you the option to easily change or upgrade your space as needed.

Consider a hub-and-spoke model.

In this model, the hub is your head office and the spokes are smaller workspaces located close to employees’ homes. This gives workers an easily commutable escape from home distractions and isolation.

You may also consider removing the physical office space altogether in favour of a virtual office. This provides a business address with mail redistribution, receptionist services, and on-demand access to meeting space or collaboration hubs.

What’s best for you?

A JLL survey of 2,000 office workers revealed that two thirds want to work from different locations post-crisis.

Before you change anything, speak with your team to find out how they wish to work moving forwards. The results may surprise you, and it could certainly help your company reduce wasted space, save money, and retain your best people.

For help and advice, speak to a member of the team at UBCUK. We provide flexible office space and collaborative hubs in 7 locations across the UK, and help companies of all sizes adapt to hybrid work arrangements. We provide part-time access, on-demand meeting room rental, and even virtual offices for truly remote teams. 

Find out more at; or arrange a tour -- we’ll happily show you around in-person or virtually.