The nature of the workplace is rapidly changing and there are many factors behind that shift.
New technologies are making distance work more possible than ever, which ensures principles like agile working are easier to implement. The emerging millennial workforce is also more interconnected than ever, and agile working can be a great way to create a more stimulating work environment for workers from this generation. But what is agile working exactly, and what can it do for your business?
What is Agile Working?
In a nutshell, agile working is about changing the idea of a rigid workspace and making it more fluid by allowing the free flow of employees within the office. It also creates more possibilities for distance work. It allows for a more flexible workspace and one that is much less oppressive to workers. And, in many cases, it can even foster more creativity, facilitate the free flow of ideas, boost morale, and improve productivity.
Agile working is all about using the technology available and bringing people, places, processes and time together in order to find the most appropriate and effective method to carry out certain tasks. While many people associate agile working with remote work exclusively, it goes way beyond that. As a matter of fact, you can make your workspace more agile without allowing remote work at all.
Agile working can also lead to more leeway for your employees to make their own decisions, manage their time better, and work to their strengths. Performance is more focused on actual results over hours clocked at a desk.
Who is Agile Working for?
Tech firms have done a lot to popularise agile working and they are at the forefront of innovation in the sector. However, it doesn’t mean that only tech firms can benefit from this approach. Nor does it mean that agile working for them should mean the same thing for you.
In reality, almost any business can apply agile working principles in their environment. Copywriters, architects, contractors, designers, or any other type of work where some or all of the functions can be done remotely and independently can use agile working. And even in industries where tight collaborative work is needed, agile working principles can be applied to the office as well.
The main issue is really transitioning from a traditional workspace to an agile one and making sure that everyone from top to bottom is on board. The first thing you’ll have to do to make sure that they are is by making the benefits of going agile are as crystal clear as possible to them. Here are some of the benefits agile working can have for your workplace.
You’ll Attract Better Talent
Flexibility in the workplace is a major selling point for any position. Not only is it a great way to attract top talent, but it could soon become a necessity. As a matter of fact, a recent study by Ernst & Young found that a flexible workplace was one of their top priorities for millennials when looking for a position. In another study, 77% of millennials surveyed believed that a flexible workplace would make people in their age group more productive. Millennials are no longer simply favouringworkplaces that take an agile approach; they now expect it.
And since millennial workers are expected to make up for 75% of the global active workforce by 2025, businesses who are averse to change will soon fall behind and will fail to find new talent to replenish their staff.
Another major advantage of an agile workplace is that they usually have higher retention rates. A more agile workplace allows workers more freedom to travel or can be adapted to their life circumstances without the risk of them losing their position. Your employees’ skill sets can be developed and retained for years, while they become efficient team members in the process.
You’ll Attract a More Diverse Workforce
Part of building an agile workplace is acknowledging that the Monday to Friday, 9-5 lifestyle isn’t for everybody. That will allow you to gather from a much wider talent pool.
With an agile workplace, you’ll be able to attract talented people for whom flexibility is an important factor. You’ll be able to attract people like job-sharers, university, parents, all working together sharing their skills and experience.
You’ll Cater to your Employees’ Strengths
In an agile work environment, employees aren’t put in a box and they don’t have to fit a rigid job description. Instead, your employees will be encouraged to work together in a fluid and synergistic way.
With this approach, your employees will be able to build a wider set of skills, which will boost their productivity and morale as well. They’ll also have more freedom to pursue tasks that speak to their strengths and interest them the most, allowing them to develop skills that will be aligned with their chosen career path.
Less Money Spent on Commuting and Office Space
Agile work environments save money for everyone involved. Your employees spend less time and money on commuting, and you don’t have to deal with all the extra costs that come with maintaining a traditional “cubicle” office. Your employees can use shared workspacesor hot desks to work on tasks or even collaborate in remote workspaces, local cafes and/or parks.
How to Implement Agile Working the Right Way
Now that you have a clearer understanding of what your business has to gain with agile working, it’s time to implement it to your workplace.
The first thing you’ll have to do is know how to set clear objectives for teams. Agile will only work if you create an environment that favoursinstant work production. Management will need to be able to set goals and objectives for teams that can be met by a certain date. This will help to spread the responsibility and accountability to all team members.
You will then need to put yourself in your employees’ shoes and see how you can create a more flexible and collaborative workplace for them. And don’t just make assumptions. You might think that eliminating walls could make for a more open work floor, but it could also lead to more noise and distraction. So, you’ll have to weigh the pros and cons of each approach and ask your team for recommendations before implementing them.
In a space where your employees will have more autonomy, they’ll also need to be able to think for themselves and make decisions without constantly having to check with their superiors. This could be done by training your managers to become coaches instead of overseers and by encouraging more collaboration between team members as well.
Depending on your old setup, a number of changes might have to be made. If you’re using cable internet, then you’ll have to make sure that you offer good connectivity to your employees by allowing for Wi-fi access no matter where they are. You’ll also have to make major changes to your floor plan as well.
One of the first things you’ll have to do is move away from the traditional cubicle structure and move to hot desking. Hot desking allows your employees to use any available space on a desk instead of having a dedicated area. What this does is not only make the work more collaborative and open, but it allows you to save room by removing unused individual workstations.
However, to make hot desks work, you might have to use software that will allow for various departments and employees to stay connected, sothat your employees can feel comfortable working wherever they are, whether it’s in or away from your office. Agile Working tools like IOT Space, for instance, will allow your employees to check in advance which workspacesare available and reserve a spot if they need to. This is especially beneficial for employees who might need time to get acclimated to new floor changes and navigate easily.for
Apps can also be accessed from anywhere, allowing your employees to be connected 24/7 and stay informed about everything they need to know in real time. An app like IOT space will also facilitate communication between employees and key players in specific departments. This will eventually speed up projectand task execution. Booking meeting rooms will also be easier and you’ll be able to check which rooms are available from wherever you are. If you want to learn more about the IOT Agile Working space and what it can do for your business.
If you want to build a workplace that will attract top-notchtalent, boost productivity, increase retention rates, and boost morale, engagement, andcollaboration, going agile is the way to go. Make sure that you assess where you can apply agile working principles in your organisationand use the proper tools and methods to make the transition as easy as possible for you and your staff.