What Is An Agile Working Environment And Why Should You Care?

what is an agile working environment and why should you care
Agile working environments include brainstorming areas and informal meeting space.

This article was written by Instant Offices

Agile working creates an efficient business environment by giving employees the freedom and flexibility to work in different areas of an office, or remotely via hot-desking, when and how they choose. With less constraints and more flexibility, the focus is more about performance and quality and less about where tasks are undertaken.

What is Agile Working?

By looking at work as an activity, rather than a place, agile working focuses on eliminating any barriers that stand in the way of achieving objectives. 70% of organisations are predicted to adopt some sort of flexible working by 2020 and agile working is at the heart of this transition to a more adaptable way of viewing the workplace.

Benefits of Agile Working

  • Improved quality of working relationships, both internal and client-facing
  • Reduced costs
  • Increased productivity
  • Talent acquisition and retention

In recent years, the demand for more flexible ways of working has increased, and the Manpower Group’s workspace research shows quite definitively that 79% of employees want the option at their current company and this number is even higher among younger generations of workers.

Research by the Agile Future Forum (AFF) found that agile working practices saved 3 -13% of workforce costs, with the potential to increase that from 3% to 7% where agile working practices were implemented more considerably. The AFF also shared a case study which saw the productivity of Black Horse Finance’s new business and fleet operations department grow 10% following the introduction of agile working; colleague engagement also rose by 7%.

Flexible Working Options

Agile working is just one of the ways that employers are offering more flexibility in today’s office environments. By introducing agility to their team and workspace, businesses:

  • Give employees the freedom to work in the best location, utilising their time and resources most efficiently
  • Reduce the amount of time spent travelling, by not having to always return to your desk to work productively
  • Employ recent technological developments into the office to improve efficiency and creativity, e.g. individually kitted-out workspaces for specific work needs, like brainstorm and presentation rooms
  • Allow individuals and teams to work closely with one another, improving cross-collaboration on tasks
  • Give workers the freedom to develop new, non-traditional working practices, that can improve the way the business operates, e.g. by spending less time in the office, teams have more time to spend with their clients
  • Encourage team work in a more open, collaborative space – which does wonders for communication and trust across the team too.

What Does an Agile Working Environment Include?

Common amenities in an agile working environment
Regular working: Workstation
Hot-desking
Regular meeting: Brainstorm area (small)
Informal meeting space (large)
Formal meeting: Boardroom
Audio-visual rooms
Video-conferencing rooms
Glass meeting rooms
Production areas: Photocopy room
Designated phone call area
Private booths
Area for short-term activity
Refuelling/relaxing: Kitchen
Cafeteria
Outdoor lunch bench set-up and relaxation area
Bar area

Agile working isn’t a “one size fits all” theory, but can unlock value for both the employer and the employee, and with occupier enquiries for flexible workspace having increased 20% year-on-year across the UK in 2016, it’s clear that more businesses are interested in alternatives to traditional office space.

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Business Benefits of Agile Working

Employees love agile working because it allows them to be more creative and focused and Powwownow’s research shows it, with 70% of workers viewing a job with flexible working options as more attractive than one with a traditional environment. Research also shows that 30% of employees would choose a flexible working environment over a pay rise.