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Author: Hayley Francis | Category: Powell News

Agile working – you may have heard this term used in the industry a lot by now, but still haven’t had a solid explanation of what exactly it is, and why it’s so beneficial.

Put simply, agile working is the process of adopting a flexible and productive working environment, by creating a space that utilises technology and customisation. In an agile working space, an individual can work where they want and how they want, depending on how it best suits the task at hand. The idea is to maximise flexibility and minimise limitations.

The ‘Agile Office’ is designed to encourage the flow of ideas and improve productivity through less rigid structures and processes.

 

 

What are the benefits of Agile Working?

It’s no use just knowing what Agile Working is, without understanding what benefits it can bring to a company structure. Here’s some of the benefits that Agile Working can bring:

  1. Space Utilisation

    – Implementing hot desks and other agile furniture means you don’t need a static desk and PC for every single employee. You can have what you need, and it works for people who may be out of the office most days or for people coming and going. This makes your space more cost effective and frees up valuable space.

  2. Increase productivity and creativity

    – It has been proven that an agile office environment gains on average 5 extra hours of productivity per week, per employee (The RSA, 2013). This just goes to show how much staff utilisation can be gained from making your space work for you, as your business becomes more competitive.

  3. Create an eco-friendlier office

    – Investing in a new agile office design opens up opportunities for you to take on greener, cleaner, and smarter choices when it comes to furniture, space planning and technology.

  4. Attract and retain new recruits

    – Because agile working is built to work for employees’ productivity, comfort and schedules, having an agile structure in place is very attractive to potential recruits. Not only will you attract new talent with a modern looking space, but you will keep them with an adjustable structure that suits the style in which they work most effectively. Group collaboration style is also encouraged with an agile design.

How can you implement an Agile Working environment?

 

Whether you want a total overhaul of your processes and structure or would prefer to simply trial some agile practices to see how they benefit your company culture, here are a few questions to ask yourself:

 

Is it the best time for the company.

If you’re just looking to try a few new technologies, there’s no better time than now. However, there are some perfect opportunities to consider a complete structural overhaul. If you’re planning an office refurbishment or relocation, going through a change in leadership, or have plans to expand and grow your company and space to match, then it’s probably time to seriously think about agile working.

Is it the right time for staff.

Of course it’s important to address the potential barriers that can stop a company adopting agile working. Whether there is a fear of change among the managers or employees, a concern for loss of privacy or even territory, these can all aid in an unsuccessful transition. At Powell, we believe communication is key in encouraging staff to join in the journey without fear of change and moving forward. As part of our design, space planning and furniture selection process, we encourage collaboration with staff, so they can feel proud of their new home, resulting in a space designed for them.

What are the essential ingredients.

Technologies such as Cloud services, video communication software and high-speed connectivity are all important aspects of agile working. In terms of physical assets, a typical agile design will house aspects such as:

  • Sit-stand desks
  • Collaboration areas
  • Touchdown zones
  • Informal and formal meeting areas

You may see furniture like soft seating and team benches, all of these contribute towards an agile working environment.

How will I know if it's worked.

There are plenty of quantitative and qualitative ways of measuring whether these agile style implementations have benefited your culture. Whether you have reduced tenancy costs due to better space utilisation, or energy saving, or even just a notice in the change of your team’s attitudes towards projects, collaboration and general work life; you’ll find out why agile working is quickly becoming a mainstream concept.

If you’d like to start making your office more agile, either through furniture or a full office re-structure, Powell can deliver an integrated solution to help you in improving your workplace to suit your needs. Check out our recent project at Welsh Government Merthyr Tydfil and how we helped in this agile working pilot.

Sources

https://www.thersa.org/globalassets/pdfs/blogs/rsa_flex_report_15072013.pdf