An agile office design can significantly transform the capabilities of your organisation. In place of the traditional office space, agile workplaces offer more freedom and flexibility to support their workers.
- Trade traditional cubicles for dynamic and diverse floorplans. Discover ideas here.
- Allow workers to work in a way that suits them best (79% of workers prefer an agile culture).
- Offer flexible working hours.
We understand that stepping away from a traditional office space can feel intimidating. However, the results are in: an agile space boosts productivity, enhances and strengthens teams, and improves overall company morale.
This guide will explain the agile methodology and outline best practices. We have also created a plan to transition your business to this style of working, and it’s easier than you think.
(Related: Latest Work From Home Trends In Australia).
Is An Agile Work Environment Right For Me?
Melinda Harrington (Enterprise Agile Coach at Woolworths Group) highlighted, “There isn’t a single agile environment that organisations adopt. An agile approach would be to work collaboratively with the individuals to create an environment suited to their situation.”
(Related: The Hybrid Workplace Is Here To Stay).
Agile working environments are designed to be as flexible and open as possible while preserving employee productivity. It is a way of working that favours collaboration, autonomy, and continuous improvement.
Implementing this style of working may only be appropriate for some types of companies, but it is particularly suitable for those requiring workers to be physically on-site.
Agile workspaces are ideal for companies driven by clear objectives and adaptable processes, especially those in highly collaborative and sociable industries.
- Creative Design.
- Product Development.
Working In An Agile Environment.
The components of an agile environment are focused around the below:
- Access: Employees should be able to move around the office space completely without interrupting other teams or becoming caught in a traffic flow.
- Comfort: Employees should feel comfortable in the space; otherwise, they will spend more time dealing with distractions than working.
- Peace: Access to privacy and quiet is necessary for all workspaces. This can be more difficult to achieve in an open, agile workspace. However, we have some tips below.
- Adaptability: Consider furniture. It shouldn’t create barriers or confinement for employees or impact their work style in any way.
- Efficiency: Updated technology and systems should be in place to maximise team and individual efficiency. There should be transparent processes for booking meeting spaces or updating software.
Agile Workspace Ideas.
There are several types of agile workspace layouts available. The below are the most common. We encourage you to experiment with the area and consult your team for feedback.
This type of agile working space is by far the most popular. It allows all employees to work in the same area, typically with minimal walls or dividers.
- Are like a relaxed conference room.
- Encourage team collaboration.
- Enhance a sense of community and create cross-functional teams.
- Foster communication so that everyone is across project updates.
Establishing an open space with comfortable seating sounds like an invitation to chaos, but with planning, it can boost the entire office culture.
Quiet working spaces are an excellent option for hectic offices. You can dedicate these spaces to solo work, such as writing, planning, or tasks that requires intense concentration.
- Provide a refuge for employees who need to focus.
- Act as a breakout space or meeting room for larger office spaces.
- Can be dedicated to meditation or prayer.
Hoteling is a way of reserving a desk workplace for a designated period of time.
- Require employees to sign-up for areas in advance.
- Will assign any available workspace to the employee when they arrive.
- Offer single desks, meeting rooms, and phone banks.
You can pre-plan and collaborate with spaces like WeWork and Wotso to organise the type of space and resources needed for your organisation.
Benefits Of An Agile Workplace.
Various benefits can come with an agile work environment, not only for the employees but for the organisation as a whole. Some of these include:
- Increased collaboration: When employees can move around freely, teams are more likely to create hubs of dynamic working. They can share ideas between otherwise separated departments. It’s outdated to restrict work to a set room or desks.
- Improved employee retention: For 90% of millennials, the flexibility to choose how they work is more important than salary. By demonstrating agile values, you will attract and retain top talent.
- Space efficiency. The pandemic highlighted how much large corporations waste on unused desk space: billions of dollars annually. Transitioning to an agile workplace allows you to optimise your layout and clear spaces that are no longer needed.
- Better employee satisfaction. Adopting an agile mindset reflects a more significant company culture of trust and autonomy. By encouraging workers to approach tasks on their terms, you empower them to manage their workload effectively.
- Increased productivity: Reducing noise and distraction has an enormous effect on productivity, which is why many people work with headphones. An agile workplace provides a dedicated space for workers to find focus and silence.
- Improved innovation: Employees who feel supported, comfortable, and less stressed in their environment are likely to be more creative and experimental. Those immersed in agile spaces will find it easier to to brainstorm new project ideas.
(Related: Is The Five-Hour Workweek Dying?)
Challenges Of An Agile Workplace.
The agile method can significantly improve an organisation’s output, but it can’t occur overnight or through a few quick changes in the office.
This process fundamentally changes your company’s operations and should be treated with adequate planning.
We recommend that you:
- Involve your teams: You should involve the teams from as early in the process as possible. Ensure you address their concerns and reassure them that you will continue communicating the plans.
- Explain the new setup: Change is difficult for many. To mitigate this, you should know why the change is happening and what to expect. Every employee should have the necessary resources to understand the new process and adapt.
- Plan a timeline: We recommend that you don’t rush the transition. Where possible, make small changes to team workflow and introduce new spaces to the office layout.
- Account for noise and privacy: Part of the plan should involve focus spaces from the beginning to prevent the added noise that comes with opening the space. Employees should be more connected to others and not feel exposed and micromanaged.
- Address conflicting working styles: Some teams may require more space and resources than others. Be sure to place agile teams near one another and offer other autonomous workers the ability to remove themselves from open areas.
- Plan technicalities: You should ensure your IT department is equipped to handle the transition. If workers are a hybrid between the office and their home, their software and security systems should be up to date.
Hold planning days with your executive team to assess how it will affect workflow. You must be methodical when incorporating an agile working model.
How To Successfully Implement Agile Work Environments.
Follow the below steps as a guide when setting up (or transitioning to) a thriving agile work environment:
Step One: Evaluate Your Current Working Environment.
Take the time to truly understand your working culture before planning anything. Some elements are more necessary to preserve than others.
- Style of Working: if you work in a high-stress industry, quiet rooms might be one of the more critical changes for your organisation with less focus on open meeting rooms.
- Space: Consider new offices or storage rooms that you can convert with minor changes.
Step Two: Talk To Your Employees.
You should communicate transparently with your team throughout the process.
- Speak with your employees from the beginning.
- Explain what you hope to accomplish.
- Answer questions and concerns as you formulate a plan and initiate changes.
- Ask your team for feedback on their preferred workspace.
Consider building a short survey to consult your employees as you plan. Ask about their work processes, concerns about existing workspaces, and ideas they have to improve the environment.
Step Three: Test Different Concepts.
Test different working concepts and spaces within your workspace before making any permanent changes.
- Choose one space to adapt first.
- Test out a few different concepts to see which is most functional.
- Give each idea a few days for the employees to experience.
- Collate team feedback and adjust.
A combination of elements from the different tests will yield the best results.
Step Four: Train & Educate.
Educating everyone in the working environment to better their performance is necessary.
You should outline how the new model will work plus the added resources on offer to support them.
You can reward employees for embracing the changes and utilising spaces appropriately. Consider scheduling team meetings in specific rooms to encourage more team members to do the same.
Step Four: Monitor Progress.
Monitoring progress allows you to adjust working models and working plans when needed.
- Engage with employees regularly to determine what’s working and what could be improved.
- Monitor how your team uses the various spaces and how often.
- Track productivity and efficiency to compare it to previous numbers.
Be open to making changes based on feedback and productivity trends.
Implementing An Agile Work Environment.
Agile environments can provide significant benefits for individuals and organisations.
It’s important to remember that it’s not a one-size-fits-all concept. By consulting your team, collating ideas and planning effectively, you can create an agile working model that benefits the entire team.
You’ll soon find that this flexibility improves work efficiency, enhances collaboration, increases employee engagement and satisfaction, and boosts innovation.