One of the first things that I was introduced to at Hirons, besides the great people and adorable dogs, was the concept of flexible work spaces. The office has several different seating areas where employees can use their computers away from their desks. This ‘couch culture’ was a bit of a shock to me, having just wrapped up another position in a very traditional office weeks before starting at Hirons. Although I’ll admit that I was skeptical at first, I have grown to love the fluidity of the concept for a few different reasons.
Traditional business leaders might shudder at the thought, but I am a proponent of feeling at home in the workplace. Speaking from experience, the more ownership that employees feel over their work space, the more connected they will be to the company. In this way, being at home in the office space has allowed me to have a greater sense of responsibility over the work that I do for the company.
Working from a soft sofa as opposed to a stiff seat at a desk also allows employees to be more physically comfortable. It’s common knowledge that sitting at a desk all day can have a number of negative side effects. Poor posture, which is often associated with desk jobs, can lead to chronic pain and breathing problems. Flexible work spaces encourage movement by giving employees the freedom to move about the office and discourage hunching over a screen.
Communal spaces naturally lead to more conversation and thus more collaboration. Whether a group of Hirons employees are huddled up in the Think Tank on the first floor or situated on the rooftop sectional, communication in the office is generally unobstructed by cubicles or large desktop computers. The free flow of conversation allows employees to bounce ideas off of each other and easily answer questions that come up throughout the day, bolstering the sense of community in the office. As a relatively new employee, this environment made asking questions and gathering information from coworkers far less intimidating.
Flexible work spaces not only provide more areas for employees to sit, they also provide more opportunities for people to move. A 2014 Stanford study proved that walking, even as short of a distance from one side of the office to the other, improves creative thinking. In an agency like Hirons, where we pride ourselves on bold ideas, this is important.
Workers who utilize flexible environments such as those at Hirons can benefit from an increased sense of comfortability, collaboration and creativity. Many Hirons employees regularly take advantage of the couch culture, but it may not be everyone’s preference. Providing flexibility to work from a lounge chair or from a desk gives employees the freedom to be productive in whatever way suits them best.