Commercial real estate: the flex office redesigns the office



At Five, its new headquarters in the heart of Paris which also serves as a showroom and laboratory, Moore Design, specialist in the layout of workspaces or hotels, has put its flex office philosophy into practice. On the menu, open meeting rooms, workstations alternating with rest areas, concentration areas, telephone bubbles.

Two types of lockers meet different needs. The individual versions with name or photo adjoin the coffee machine to make it a meeting point. Connected models that can be booked remotely make it possible to accommodate the luggage of sales representatives based outside Ile-de-France when they come, or to store bulky equipment from time to time.

A ratio of 0.5 to 0.8 reinstalled for 1 existing workstation

With the generalization of a flex office organization in companies, the entire office layout is being rethought. The number of square meters dedicated to workstations is decreasing, with a ratio of 0.5 to 0.8 reinstalled for 1 previously existing, according to Julien Diard, founder of Moore Design. But new spaces are created – adapted to uses: rooms for two or ten gatherings, places to work in peace

“A company headquarters is redesigned like a shop. The employee’s journey must be studied as closely as that of the customer. How is it received? How does he find his colleagues? The workspace hybridizes ”, estimates the expert.

The latter notes the increasing power of modularity. For a large group of consumer goods, the agency has installed tables on casters, so that they can be repositioned according to times and uses, and partitions that are easy to move. As for the demand for project spaces, dedicated to creativity, it is only growing.

“The flex office alone makes no sense. It must be accompanied by collaborative spaces – to meet, debrief, create – and service spaces, ”confirms Julie Pychardy, architect at Deloitte. And for the new arrangements to be coherent, it is necessary to involve the main parties concerned upstream of their design… namely the employees.

“Before the Covid-19 epidemic, when some companies tried to set up a flex office organization, employees first felt a certain discomfort. Because they no longer had their small office with their family photos and their green plants, to which they were very attached, ”she notes.

Collaborative spaces

In his own company, Deloitte decided to conduct “learning tests” to make the best choices. Respondents, the majority of employees considered that the partners should be affected like the others by the flex office, for the sake of equality. But the test showed that “there was suddenly a lot of restraint and a great silence on the set”, laughs the architect.

In order not to spoil the atmosphere, the employees finally preferred that the partners keep their offices closed. But these are not individually assigned, and may occasionally be used for meetings.

“Each company has its own challenges,” she continues. In a law firm where the work of eloquence seemed essential, Deloitte has created a special room where two people can debate standing face to face.

Places must also have a “signature” and reflect both the activity and the culture of the company. “We are not going to design the same premises for Bouygues Telecom or for Sephora,” she summarizes.

For start-ups, Moore Design has installed climbing walls, nap areas with hammocks and even a very long microwave wall to heat the dishes delivered every noon. “You have to adapt to the DNA of French Tech,” notes Julien Diard.

Cost to be expected

All these rearrangements obviously have a cost, but it can be limited. “Transforming your premises, bringing a little warmth to it, can simply involve a few changes of wallpapers, lighting and moving partitions. A company can also go much further and there it could cost it up to several hundred euros per square meter, ”says Bruno Amsellem, partner at Deloitte.

Julien Diard, at Moore Design, considers 1,500 to 2,000 euros per shift for a global redevelopment. But in case of move, the establishment of a flex office is done at the same cost.

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