“Agile” is a word that’s used in a lot of business contexts these days, from IT development to project management to supply chains and a thousand other settings. But what about the places where much of this work takes place? Can workplace environments be agile too?
Table of contents
- What is an agile work environment?
- The elements of an agile working environment
- What do you get from an agile work environment?
What is an agile work environment?
Sure they can. If the agile approach is about optimizing processes, flows, and efficiency, workplaces might even be the ideal setting to demonstrate its value.
Just think about your own workspace. Can it easily adapt to changing circumstances? Can it flexibly accommodate sudden spikes in demand for a particular asset? Is it easy to adapt your office space to changes in the daily routine?
Remember, agility isn’t about the ease with which you can move around an office space or how quickly you can move from one part to another, it’s how the office space itself can be adapted to what the occupants need at a particular time.
The elements of an agile working environment
Adaptability is the first measure of an agile workplace. With hybrid work models now affecting how many people come into the office and for how long, spaces need to be able to host one kind of arrangement on one day and a different arrangement on another. Agile working environments are elastic spaces that can adapt as staff levels rise and fall.
Agile offices also offer a balanced selection of different types of workspace. One person might need a quiet space for a phone call, a small group might need a small space for a brainstorming session and still, another group might need a larger space for a presentation. The ability to accommodate different needs is a key aspect of an agile workspace.
Another crucial element is the inclusion of collaborative space. Not every meeting is planned in advance and when they just suddenly come up in the course of a typical business day, there needs to be a space to go to. This is about more than having a space that can be booked on short notice, it’s about having spaces that don’t need to be booked at all.
Truly agile workspaces are human-centric and this might take a bit of explanation. All of the points we’ve covered so far have the same goal in common – to make the workplace more comfortable for everyone. This goes beyond physical comfort to psychological comfort as well, a state of mind where employees feel relaxed and able to devote their full energies to the task at hand at not, for example, searching for a place to sit and talk or wishing the loud conversation next to them would finally end.
Putting the employee experience at the center of everything is the whole point of an agile workplace. It’s about creating an environment that is preferable to other options they have, including staying home, and that provides the best conditions possible for them to work.
The final component of an agile workplace is the technology that allows for analytical insights into how the space is used. This could include a number of different form factors but they all monitor how space is utilized, enabling a number of applications that optimize workflows and processes. Replacing guesswork and estimates about how often areas are used with precise data is an absolute must for any agile workplace.
What do you get from an agile work environment?
So what about the concrete benefits of prioritizing agility in the workplace? What do you get out of it? Let’s start with this list:
- You can be more confident that your office can handle changes in staff size and still be able to comfortably accommodate their needs. This is good not only for possible future growth but for the current and probably permanent hybrid work models that so many employees follow.
- When you know exactly what your spatial requirements are and you have the historical data to back it up, it’s much easier to align your real estate spend with your needs. Are you spending too much on extra space you don’t need? Go agile and find out.
- When it’s easier for employees to collaborate, their output and productivity improve as well. The general employee experience is improved by an agile work environment, leading to greater satisfaction, more time spent in the office, and lower turnover.
- Recruitment is also made easier by the workspace’s reputation spread by current employees. People talk about a space they like and others listen when they’re making career choices.
Going agile is about making your space work for the people who work in the space. An agile workplace is a more comfortable place to be and work and that makes it a more productive workplace.
Are you somewhere on your own path to an agile workplace? Thinking about how changing workflows can boost productivity and improve your employee experience? Our Rethinking Workspaces whitepaper is the perfect place to start. You’ll learn more about:
- Use cases showing how space optimization delivers specific benefits
- How technology is meeting the challenges in how corporate real estate is used
- The real defining characteristics of “smart” buildings and much more!
Download it today and move your office space a bit further down the path towards the benefits of an agile work environment and more!