January 6, 2023
8 minutes

What is the flex desk?

The flex desk is a mode of organization, based on the rule of zero dedicated office. Employees work from different spaces, in the office or elsewhere.

What is the flex desk?

The flex desk is a solution that allows employees to choose where and how they want to work. If it improves the efficiency and productivity of employees, it also has its share of drawbacks, so here are the basic principles to implement the flex desk in your organization.

Definition of the flex desk 

The flex desk or flex desking is a synonym of flex officeA new way of organizing work based on the following principle: the absence of a dedicated desk for each employee (rather than assigning a workstation to each worker). The employee can then move to a different workspace each day: an open space, a meeting room, a bubble, a co-working space or even work from home.

The main implications of a move to the flex desk 

This new organization also implies a new management style based on trust and well-being at work.

Switching to flex desk mode is a crucial issue for real estate optimization: this new organization requires a reorganization of spaces with the objective of reducing space in order to save on land and energy.

Space occupancy can even be a performance indicator with the following lever: don't rent a space for nothing to cover the spaces left empty by absent employees (vacations, training, travelling, etc.). 

According to Sarah Proust, author of Telework, the end of the officeAccording to Sarah Proust, workstations are available 40% of the time on average, between the generalization of telecommuting, RTT, other travel leaves or trainings: No need to have huge offices scattered around almost half of the time!

What type of employee is the flex desk for?

This new organization is not adapted to all professions or employees: professionals requiring specific equipment to work (multiple screens for example) will not be the best candidates for the flex desk.

In contrast, those who work in a project mode or in an external intervention, will be more willing to change positions within the office.

The flex desk is used in companies seeking to offer flexibility and mobility to their employees or encourage a more collaborative work culture. The flex desk is also an interesting solution for companies seeking to reduce costs related to office occupation.

This mode of work organization can also be used by freelancers or entrepreneurs looking for a temporary workspace or a shared office solution.

Is the flex desk a good choice for my company?

The advantages of the flex desk

Flex-desking has several advantages, including making it easier for employees to return to the office. 

After a long period of distancing imposed by the health crisis, everyone was able to experience flexibility at work and work-life balance. 

The flex desk responds to these new aspirations of flexibility.

Fostering collaboration and innovation

Designed in flex mode, the new workspaces increase creativity and open-mindedness by encouraging interaction between employees. More mobile, the different teams are more in contact: the flex desk improves collaboration and encourages exchanges between employees.

Higher productivity 

Letting workers choose their own hours and work style can increase their motivation and productivity. The flex desk makes it easier for employees to focus and be more productive because they are free from the distractions of working in a traditional office environment.

The flex office allows a gain in productivity of 50%.

Financial and environmental gain

The flex desk is an interesting solution for companies seeking to reduce the financial and energy costs of partial occupancy of offices by promoting density within their premises, so that structures can close off unoccupied spaces - floors, trays, rooms. Also, the savings in travel for telecommuting employees can reduce the organization's carbon footprint (depending on the type of transportation chosen by the workers). 

Flexibility in work

Flexible office employees enjoy greater autonomy and agility in their work organization.

Employee well-being

The flex desk allows you to break the rhythm, to avoid a routine and finally, offers comfortable workplaces. Being able to choose one's space improves the quality of life at work and allows for a better balance between professional and personal life.

The disadvantages of the flex desk

The flexible office has some drawbacks for employees and employers.

Professional discomfort

The flex desk is often criticized for depersonalizing work relationships. This mode of organization also requires a strong capacity to adapt. These two factors can compromise the feeling of well-being at work. Moreover, working from home, inherent to the flex desk, can be a source of isolation for employees. These two factors can slow down the creativity and productivity of employees.

Rigor and organization

To avoid psycho-social risks linked to the flex desk, it is necessary to accompany its transition internally: it is necessary to propose to the employees solutions to reserve a space or to declare their presence in advance in order to avoid various inconveniences (lack of space, overbooking, discomfort, discontent...). The Offishall Planning tool allows users to easily organize the flex desk in companies. 


It can be more difficult to communicate between colleagues or members of the same department because of this new organization where we see each other less. This can affect team cohesion and the feeling of belonging to the company. The use of internal messaging or other collaborative solutions can make exchanges between employees more fluid. 

Environmental impact

The development of the distributed enterprise also represents an energy expense due to the energy needed to run the servers that host the data, which is increasing with the digitalization imposed by this way of working. There are ways to simple techniques to limit its carbon footprint but they may not be sufficient.


Success factors for implementing the flex desk 

A well thought-out layout

The success of a flex desk organization relies largely on an adapted layout and the creation of different spaces that punctuate the daily life of the teams. The flex desk should not only be considered as an opportunity to reduce costs: it should be designed as a qualitative environment providing employees with a rich offer of spaces adapted to their uses.

It is possible to propose an adapted layout by observing upstream the occupancy behaviors and the associated statistics thanks to a presence declaration tool.

By 2030, 40-50% of companies will be Flex Desk.

Adapted equipment and spaces

For an adequate flex space, companies have an interest in offering a range of equipment and adapted spaces: 

  • easily accessible electrical outlets, 
  • a quality internet network, 
  • Lightweight computer equipment to facilitate transportation, 
  • individual lockers,
  • possibly workstations dedicated to certain missions (for example, large screens for accountants, designers, engineers, etc.), 
  • meeting rooms, 
  • private spaces when needed (with associated reservation systems), 
  • places of relaxation, restoration, 
  • bathrooms and kitchen...

Clear communication

With agile human capital and shifting workspaces, it's critical to be clear and transparent in internal communication. Here are some tips for planning good communication:

  • Provide tutorials on how to use the booking tools and applications available to evolve in the distributed enterprise, 
  • Make visible maps of where to find equipment or spaces, 
  • notify or alert upstream of the state of occupancy of the plans  
  • create rules of life for employees (how to behave in common areas, rules of conduct regarding hygiene or silence, etc.), 

Finally, it can be interesting to conduct satisfaction surveys so that employees can share good and bad experiences.

Optimized office occupancy

In order to make the organization more fluid, there are systems for declaring presence and reserving spaces or services. The use of this type of tool limits and prevents the inconveniences linked to the flex office, in particular the feelings of confusion or frustration linked to the choice of who settles when and where. Thanks to these solutions, managing the presence of employees and the use of spaces is simplified. 

Office reservation solutions enhance the environments in which employees work and collaborate, providing greater flexibility to choose a workspace that best suits the needs of each employee based on work situations. These tools also reduce the administrative burden of using the space and services provided.

By following the tips above, you can be sure to deliver an innovative and satisfying experience for your teams.

Offishall is an employee presence management solution that aims to support structures in the implementation of flex office. Every day, this tool allows thousands of users to know who is where and when, and thus to find their way around the office (better). Workstation, meeting room, meals, equipment: Offishall Planning allows employees to reserve a space or equipment in a flexible context.  
Lorraine Laviale

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