If you’ve been researching the latest trends in office design recently, you will no doubt have heard the term “agile working”. This style of office design is growing in popularity because of the many advantages agile working environments offer individuals and businesses.
Agile working should not be confused with flexible working hours. The former focuses on creating a work environment which allows employees to work in different areas of the office that are specifically designed to enhance the job they are performing.
Flexible working, on the other hand, is a work pattern that allows employees to choose the hours and location they work to help them organise a work-life balance.
This is especially true for millennial workers. Generation Z employees that are entering the workforce right now share the same mindset, but also recognise working from home does not necessarily benefit the work-life balance lifestyle.
Captains of industry, especially in tech-startups that rely on innovation, also find flexible working hours stifles collaboration, hinders spontaneous ideas and makes it more difficult to organise meetings – especially impromptu or “emergency” meetings. Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo! famously recalled the company’s work-from-home employees back to the office for similar reasons.
In one sense, agile working environments have been inspired by the growing popularity of telecommuting and the desire to cultivate a work-life balance. It encourages collaboration and innovation whilst also helping employees find equilibrium between the work life and social life.
What is Agile Working?
Agile working aims to empower employees by giving them a choice of where and how they work in the office. A well designed agile working environment gives employees the flexibility to work in various parts of the office by taking advantage of wireless technologies, sound-proof booths and adjustable furniture.
The overriding benefits of an agile working environment are that purpose-built workstations improve the efficiency and thus the productivity of your employees. Our white paper explains all the design concepts you can use to achieve this.
But agile working environments promise much more than profit-making. When employees enjoy the office environment they are working in, they come into the office more regularly and stay with the company for longer.
Advantages of Agile Working
Together with work-life balance, health and wellbeing are a priority. The World Health Organisation reports work-related stress is a worldwide epidemic. According to researchers, the stress factor is exacerbated by open-plan offices.
The noise and lack of privacy in conventional offices have been found to have a negative impact on cognitive function, impair concentration levels and causes dissatisfaction.
Even the belief that open-plan offices would ignite collaboration and innovation has not fulfilled its promise. Anybody that works in an office knows they are more likely to hear the latest drama in a soap opera than a morsel of inspiration.
Agile office designs take into account mental and physical health. They install dedicated quiet-zones so people can focus on their work, encourage people to move around the office and take the stairs instead of the lift.
Some companies are even incorporating gyms or recreational areas into the office space. Taking a break from work helps to reinvigorate the mind. The best surface when the mind is given the time to relax.
Appealing features in an office are proven to increase engagement levels. They are also more likely to help your talent acquisition efforts as well. Recreational features in the office do not have to be as elaborate as slides like Redbull HQ, but they do need to show you have the health and well-being of staff at heart.
Because agile working environments offer so many benefits, it’s no surprise that more companies are redesigning their offices to incorporate features of agile working.
To learn more about designing an agile working environment, download our free pdf . In this document you will discover fresh insights, facts and inspiration of how your company can benefit from an agile office. When you transform your office, you transform your business.