With an unprecedented number of people now working from home, many employers are rethinking the future of their physical workplaces.

For retailers, restaurants, entertainment venues, and other consumer-focused businesses, most of the decisions are based on timing and health. They need to determine when to bring employees and customers back and how to do so in the safest way possible. But for countless other companies, decisions about returning to the office have the potential to be broader and more transformational.

If the global pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that workers can remain productive and businesses can remain profitable when they are decentralized. And that has led to questions about the efficacy, cost, and role of physical office spaces.

Rethinking physical workspaces

Rethinking office spaceWith a unique work environment in Boca Raton, Florida, Flagler Technologies offers some insightful answers.

“We’ve never had a traditional office,” says Ken Wagner, VP of sales at Flagler, a Cisco Premier Certified Partner that offers infrastructure, cloud, security, and data services. “But we have a physical space.”

That space was established two years ago, well before the global pandemic and widespread shift to remote work.

“Our employees aren’t tied to a desk and the same is true for many of our clients,” says Ryan Hicks, CTO of Flagler, noting the use of Cisco Meraki, WebEx, and Security technologies. “And OEMs have been closing offices and reducing their campus footprints for a while. So we saw the writing on the wall and decided to do things differently.”

Physical spaces still offer plenty of business value, both Wagner and Hicks insist, but how those spaces are utilized will continue to evolve.

Transitioning from office spaces to a collaboration spaces

Flagler’s headquarters, for example, is less of an office and more of a collaboration and meeting space. Instead of small rooms, cubicles, and workstations dedicated to specific individuals, the space features a large conference room and other communal areas that can be utilized by anyone.

“Our office isn’t really there to support the day-to-day work of our employees,” says Wagner. “It’s there to facilitate in-person interactions, meetings, and collaboration with our partners and customers.”

Those partners and customers can drop in any time to use the physical spaces as well as the WebEx Room Kits, WebEx Room Phones, and Meraki guest Wi-Fi within them.

“People still want and need to get together, especially in today’s environment when we’re more mobile, distributed, and in some cases isolated,” Hicks says. “By providing a space for our partners, customers, and employees to collaborate, we add some value, stay top of mind, and hopefully get pulled into conversations that would otherwise happen elsewhere.”

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Taru Khurana

Marketing Manager, Product/Systems