Is agile working?

4 September 2019

Flexible working. Activity-based working. Remote working. Unassigned seating. Recognise these office design buzzwords? Has your company embraced any of these concepts in order to create an environment that supports you to be happier, healthier and more productive?

Whilst many argue that the adoption of agile working practices is simply a way of reducing the property overheads of a business, the benefits to people are well documented. With the cost of UK commercial real estate rising, particularly in the capital, it is true to say that businesses should consider agile working as way to cut costs whilst improving their ability to attract and retain staff, as well as maximising their productivity and enhancing their wellbeing.

Nordic Nation leading agile practices

It turns out that Finland is leading the charge on adopting agile working practices. The BBC notes that “the country’s deep-rooted culture of trust, equality and pragmatism.” has meant the nation has been well suited to the agile approach.

This approach to striking the ideal work-life balance has led Finns to embrace a more active and sociable lifestyle, with the nation’s people doing statistically more exercise than any other country in Europe.

Does ‘agile’ work?

Neil Usher, Chief Workplace Officer at GoSpace believes that the current approach to agile working might not be getting it 100% right. Usher believes that the current approach to agile working focuses too much on the individual, and that companies – and their staff – would benefit from a more team-centric approach which better aligns with our human propensity for socialising and collaboration. This point is emphasised through recent research which shows that 21% of remote workers say that the biggest struggle of working remotely is loneliness.

The role of technology in transforming the agile workplace

Slack’s UK chief Stuart Templeton highlights the fact that “nobody wants their work phone buzzing while they’re reading a bedtime story” and in order for agile working to be most effective, it is all about striking the right work-life balance. Technology is a huge part of this and even features in the following definition by The Agile Organisation:

“Agile working is about bringing people, processes, connectivity and technology, time and place together to find the most appropriate and effective way of working to carry out a particular task.”

Technology plays a pivotal role in enabling the ‘work anywhere at anytime’ approach and has a huge impact on the design requirements of a 21st century office. Building management systems, room occupancy data and desk utilisation analysis is uncovering emerging patterns and trends in how we use, and don’t use space. The Leesman Index has been recently established as “a global business intelligence tool that captures employee feedback on how effectively the workplace supports them and their work, and provides your organisation with critical insight into how your building is performing.”

Here at Kerr Office Group we offer a comprehensive workplace analysis and change management programme that seeks to uncover the needs of your staff and your business to design a workplace that not only drives tangible growth in your business but implements innovative working practices that unlock the potential of your people, allowing your organisation to flourish. If you’re interested about learning more, get in touch.

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