Before founding Flexspace, I worked in product management for most of my career. Today as we build a platform to help companies activate their remote and hybrid work environments, I keep noticing similarities between how we build and implement software and how companies are building and implementing their workplaces of the future.
It makes sense: SaaS software is a part of a company’s “operating system,” and so is the way its people work and the processes and guardrails around that. Flexibility has long been a word associated with SaaS software, and now it’s a term fully connected to our workplace too.
So, as companies build their future workplace strategy and figure out how to implement it, there are some helpful lessons we can learn from SaaS software (and our friends at The Office) to guide the way:
1. It’s ok to decentralize:
One of the biggest fears IT teams had about SaaS was losing control of the servers their software lived on. Yet today, a company having its software instances on its vendor’s servers around the world is an advantage, not a risk. Company leaders can use this same mindset with their workplaces: there does not need to be a central location or HQ. The same way your software lives on NA5 or EU20, your company’s nucleus is either in the cloud, or, wherever your employees decide to meet.
2. Push updates regularly:
It’s possible you don’t get your workplace policy exactly right the first time. Or, your employees’ and company’s needs might change, requiring a shift in how you work. The beauty of SaaS and the modern flexible workplace is that you can regularly push updates to improve the product and address customer/employee requirements.
3. Test new features:
The same way you can easily push updates to SaaS software and flexible work models, you can also take them away. Or you can even test them with a small sample of your company to see how it works before rolling out to the entire organization. Testing is an integral part of SaaS software development and innovation, and it should be the same for your workplace too.
4. Give employees autonomy:
SaaS software enables employees to take their computers and company operating system anywhere. They can more easily customize how they organize, view, and track their work. It gave employees control over how and where they use technology. Company leaders can extend this type of autonomy to how their employees work too. Part of workplace flexibility is letting people make their own decisions about where they work, what hours they work, and when they need to meet in-person. High performing employees will most often make the right decisions for themselves, their careers, and their company.
5. Value comes from adoption:
We have all heard the stories about companies buying a best of breed software but getting no value out of it because employees didn’t use it. Well, the same goes for a flexible workplace. When it’s implemented correctly and everyone is on-board with how your company works, flexibility is a net benefit. But when we hear about big companies rejecting their flexible work models with stark requirements about where and when people need to work, it’s because they didn’t have a strategic policy or buy-in from employees. Getting people on-board is equally as important as the workplace policy you create.
I’m sure there are more parallels between SaaS and flexible work (and The Office), these are just a few that seem important and relevant as companies navigate the early days of a remote and hybrid world. What other similarities between SaaS and flexible work can you think of? Let me know in the comments!
Eyal Lasker, Co-founder and CEO @Flexspace