• Vishal Singhal

Guide: Benefits & drawbacks of different work structure options

TL;DR Whilst remote only is the cheapest structure, the remote first and hub & spoke structures yield the best results when analysing different work structures across factors such as cost, in-person collaboration and flexibility for team members.


The guide below outlines the benefits and drawbacks of different options when it comes to office structures for your team.


In this guide, analyse 5 alternative structures for your team. The costs in brackets outline monthly cost estimates of each option for a 20 person team:

  1. Remote first (£2k) - the team works from home, but has access to hot desks, meeting rooms and private offices at multiple locations.

  2. Hub & spoke (£5k) - the team has a 'hub' office in the centre of town, and others work in 'spoke' locations (e.g. at home or co-working spots) when not in the hub.

  3. In-office everyday (£10k) - the full team comes into a single office location everyday.

  4. Work from home optional (£5k) - team members either works from home or comes in to the office.

  5. Remote only (£1k) - the team works from home everyday.

3 factors you likely care most about when it comes to office space include:

  • Cost: How much does this option cost my team members?

  • In-person collaboration: How often does my team work together in person, and thus benefit from in-person collaboration that isn't possible over video call?

  • Flexibility for team members: Does my team have access to whatever space they do their best work in?


Figure 1: Different workspace options


Remote first


Under the remote first structure, the team works from home, but has access to hot desks, meeting rooms and private offices at multiple locations. The team can work at a co-working space near to them on days where working from home doesn't suit. They can also pair up with a colleague at a co-working spot or come together in a meeting room for a few hours.


This structure gives team members the flexibility to work wherever they want and to collaborate in-person with team members whenever they desire. This option also widens your hiring pool as team members living further away only come in to meet others occasionally.


Pros

  • Flexibility for team members to work where they want.

  • In-person collaboration whenever desired.

  • Wider hiring pool.

  • Low cost.

Cons

  • No central fixed office location.

Cost for a 20 person team in London


£2k/month

  • 80 hot desk days for the team (~£25 / desk per day), which is 4 days per month for each team member.

Who offers this

  • Flexie offers this solution. You can find pricing here and view the different locations we offer here.

  • The WeWork all access pass gives you access across all WeWork locations.

  • The Regus co-working membership gives you access across all Regus locations.

Best for


Companies and departments where remote working is possible, but team members benefit from occasionally meeting each other and working at a location that isn't their home. The remote first option is also a great option for teams where there is a significant amount of business travel involved, such as consultancies.



Hub & spoke


Under the hub & spoke structure, the team has a hub office in the centre of town, and others work in spoke locations (e.g. at home or co-working spots) when not in the hub. Typically, teams organise access to the 'hub' location through rotational access for teams. For example, the sales team comes in every Tuesday, whilst other team members can either work at home, a co-working location near where they live or pair up with team members at mutually convenient location.


The key benefits of the hub & spoke model is flexibility this option offers and the structured in-person collaboration that is realised from bringing the team together into a central office location each week.


Pros & cons

  • Flexibility for team members to work where they want.

  • Structured in-person collaboration.

  • Wider hiring pool.

  • Mid-cost.

Cost for a 20 person team in London


£5k/month

  • 6 desk office at £500/month per desk (£3k/month total).

  • £2k on a hot desk package (~£25 / desk per day), giving team members access to 80 hot desk days (4 days per month per team member).

Who offers this


Flexie offers this solution. We can help you find your 'hub' office - you can browse some options here. We also offer 'spoke' access (e.g. hot desks and meeting rooms) across multiple locations - you can find pricing here and view the different locations here.


Best for


The hub & spoke structure is ideal for teams that want to maintain regular and structured in-person collaboration, whilst giving team members the flexibility work where they work best. Examples of companies that would work best under this structure include tech start ups and international businesses with a UK presence.



In-office everyday


Organisations that have an 'in-office everyday' policy require their office to have the same number of desks, as they have employees. As a result of this, the cost of their offices are typically extremely high. In London, companies can be paying between £500 to £700 (or higher) per desk each month.


The key benefit of this structure is the collaboration and engagement from team members that results from having everyone in the same location everyday.


Pros

  • In-person collaboration.

  • Enforcing & monitoring work.

Cons

  • High cost.

  • Flexibility for team members.

Cost for a 20 person team in London


£10k/month

  • £500/month per desk for a 20 person office.

Who offers this


Fully serviced office leases on flexible terms (6 - 12 month periods) are offered by many providers. The brands with the largest number of locations on offer include WeWork, Regus & Workspace. You can see who offers this through Flexie here.


Best for


Departments in organisations where remote work is not possible, such as pharmaceutical research labs or teams with regulatory requirements for work to be carried out in a set location (e.g. where VPN access is not possible).



Work from home optional


Team members can either work from home or come in to the office, it's their choice. Teams may leave home working optional on certain days - for example, team members can work from home on a Friday if they choose. Alternatively, they may have a rotational policy where certain teams come in on certain days, and on that day, other teams work from home.


Pros & cons

  • Average flexibility for team members.

  • Weekly in-person collaboration.

  • Mid-cost.

Cost for a 20 person team in London


£5k/month

  • The team takes 10 desks at £500/month per desk).


Who offers this


Fully serviced office leases on flexible terms (6 - 12 month periods) are offered by many providers. The brands with the largest number of locations on offer include WeWork, Regus & Workspace. You can see who offers this through Flexie here.


Best for


The benefits of the 'work from home optional' structure can be enhanced by a 'hub & spoke' model. Hub & Spoke provides the same benefits such as flexibility and collaboration, whilst remaining similar in cost to the 'work from home optional' structure.



Remote only


Under a remote only structure, the team works from home everyday and doesn't have access to quality physical space paid for by work. Typically, remote only companies supplement the home working experience by providing employees with access to accessories such as monitors, ergonomic chairs and a desk. Therefore, the cost of a remote only structure isn't typically nothing at all - although this is the cheapest of the 5 workplace structures.


The remote only structure enables teams to hire anywhere in the world, or at least anywhere within a similar timezone.


A drawback is that certain collaborative tasks such as brainstorming new ideas are typically better carried out in person. These tasks suffer as a result of a lack of access to physical space to collaborate.


Remote only structures also rely on team members having access to quality workspace within their homes.


Pros

  • Low cost.

  • Wider hiring pool.

Cons

  • No in-person collaboration.

  • Relies on quality workspace at home.

Cost for a 20 person team in London


£2k per month

  • This cost (£50/person per month) would be a stipend for home furniture such as a desk & chair and tech such as a monitor for home, and potentially high quality home wifi for team members paid by the company.

Who offers this


Home furniture and tech can be bought or rented from a number of companies, including Furniture Hire UK, Furniture Work and X2 Furniture.


Best for


Teams that are distributed across multiple geographies, with many team members based in non-urban areas.