The office layout and management within it continually evolves, from the cubicle structure and hierarchy to the open-plan and linear. Emerging trends such as ‘hot desking’ and ‘activity-based working’ are becoming increasingly popular, and so below we explore the power of agile working.
Agile working is defined as “a way of working in which an organisation empowers its people to work where, when and how they choose – with maximum flexibility and minimum constraints – to optimise their performance and to do their best work”. In comparison to this, flexible working concentrates purely on flexible hours. Agile working goes beyond this and allows employees to work where, when and how they choose, managing their own time and workload. Workplace consultancy is a method that can determine what works best for the company and team, by analysing how your office space is currently used.
The agile office design
An office designed for agile working steps away from individual desk allocations. Many modern workers don’t sit in one place; their diverse range of tasks requires different hats, and therefore the space should be adapted for this. Spaces are created that cater to these tasks; in layout, technology, acoustics, space. This also requires a change in structure and management, in accommodating a more dynamic way of working.
Benefits to the employee
A key benefit to the employee is the responsibility to work when and where they are most productive. Therefore job satisfaction should increase, leading to more motivation, which has a knock-on effect with commitment to the organisation and absenteeism. By working in an area specifically designed to the task, distractions should be minimised and skills maximised. Besides this, it improves the work/life balance and wellness for the employee in completing the tasks when best suited.
Benefits to the employer
A principal benefit to agile working is that office space and equipment can be used efficiently, without space staying redundant when staff are in and out of the office; also resulting in cost-saving benefits. There is an increased ability to attract and retain talent, particularly if working hours are flexible. This can be an attractive proposition for all, especially the more qualified employees that normally need the flexibility. Commitment is then boosted and therefore turnover is reduced, meaning less training costs. By working when most efficient, the best work should be produced.
Agile working can give your company a higher level of collaboration, communication and connectivity. If agile working is implemented and managed correctly, it can be an effective and attractive proposition for both the employee’s and employer.