Nurture an Agile Work Environment
In a world that changes rapidly, businesses need to respond with agility, and being able to adapt to changing circumstances is more important than ever. The traditional nine-to-five workday is no longer the standard. Employees are increasingly working flexibly and outside of conventional office hours. This challenges managers to create new procedures for productive and efficient work environments.
Standing still is not an option and increasingly, businesses are choosing to create an agile working environment to embrace recent workplace changes and encourage creativity and collaboration. The rise of the agile working environment is widely regarded as one of the best ways to build a business that can respond quickly and effectively, putting people first and fostering a productivity-focused environment. But what is an agile working environment and how do you plan for one that is right for the business?
What is an agile workplace?
Agile workplaces are spaces designed for maximum flexibility. One that is set up for the different ways people work now, especially with the recent increase in hybrid working. They empower employees to work how and where they choose, and give them all of the technology and tools they need. Agile workspace designs are not just about creating a cool new vibe for your workplace. The agile concept is about generating higher levels of output in quantity and quality of work.
Recent research into working practices shows that agile teams are up to 25% more productive and up to 40% faster to market with new products and services. An agile business brings people, processes and technology together to find new ways to complete tasks. In agile workplaces, the majority of employees don’t have assigned desks, and some teams may be seated in designated clusters of workstations. Generally, workers are encouraged to choose whatever setting best suits the activity they're doing at any given time. The workplace facilitates this approach and makes time spent in the office more productive and enjoyable for employees.
The key to an agile workplace
The key to an agile workplace is flexibility. And that doesn’t mean getting everybody in the office a new yoga mat! Being flexible at work has nothing to do with physical flexibility. An agile work environment is a flexible workspace that goes beyond the current status quo for flexible working. Flexible working options are an increasingly popular workplace trend and undoubtedly part of the future of workspaces. But where flexible working mainly focuses on giving employees flexibility with working hours, agile working goes further.
Agile working finds ways to remove boundaries between employees and goals to make the team as productive and efficient as possible. By implementing a system where employees can work according to their own schedules and tasks, the company will enjoy far greater productivity. Agile working creates an environment where every team member can thrive — whether they’re an early bird, night owl, or something in-between. By creating this environment, innovation and creativity levels will likely rise alongside staff retention.
The best teams are made up of employees able to perform their work at the times and locations that suit them. Businesses encouraging employees to use office spaces and office furniture when and where they’re needed and for specific purposes. The agile workplace offers certainty and control over what could be a chaotic process and creates the capacity to deal with immediate needs as well as longer term demands.
The benefits of agile working
From an employee perspective, people have never been more receptive to flexible working and agile workspaces that allow them to get the best out of both home and office working. This is proven to improve work-life balance, increase job satisfaction and general wellbeing. Indeed, an agile workplace may be the magnet for attracting reluctant employees back into the office where a day of creativity and collaboration provides a welcome change from intent focus at home.
For employers, a happy employee is a productive employee, and an agile workspace can actually boost creativity and collaboration, and nourish a company culture if done properly. The financial benefits lie in making the most of the available space in an office, with the potential for downsizing and saving money in leases and power for example. For the planet as a whole, it can reduce the environmental impact of a business with fewer people consuming resources on site and those resources being used more efficiently.
Agile working environments
Not every agile working environment looks or feels the same and there are a number of options available to create a space that works for a specific business. These options include:
Soft seating areas including sofas, modular seating or meeting booths for collaborative discussions, informal meetings, or just for taking breaks during the day.
Quiet spaces such as individual workstations or acoustic hubs may be chosen for private study work or for an intensive focus to complex tasks and problems.
Desks are always a requirement for the main work area, but height adjustable desks can help to transform the workplace with healthy flexibility with employees alternating between a sitting and standing position.
Worktables offer companies one way to reconfigure their workspaces with a focus on collaborative spaces while offering unassigned individual workstations.
Dining or poseur tables with chairs and stools are not just suitable for the office canteen and kitchen area, but they can also be used for team project work and small meetings.
Small and large meeting rooms can still be used for more formal meetings with a range of boardroom tables or modular meeting tables with comfortable seating options.
Furniture solutions for all types of agile working environments can be found in the Social Spaces product portfolio. Social Spaces is a collection of innovative, contemporary furniture designed to transform the office environment into a modern, multi-functional, agile workspace where people can work, relax, meet, collaborate or dine in comfort, all designed and manufactured in the UK by Dams.
Embracing a modern way of working
While agile working is a proven way for many companies to empower productivity and increase employee happiness, it may not always be the right solution for all businesses. Transforming a business from a traditional office environment to an agile workplace can be a challenge and may take a little time, so it If may be that gradual implementation is the best idea, starting with a hot desking area and breakout spaces rather than redesigning the office all in one go.
It is also essential to get employees on board at the start of the project, or else grumbles can quickly turn into resignations as people could feel uncomfortable with the seeming lack of control they have over their working day. However, if companies are looking to break free from the constraints of a nine-to-five business and foster creativity, collaboration and motivation amongst the workforce, then the agile workplace should be a serious consideration.