What is Agile Working?

By Pat Lewis, Source One Consulting

Creating agile workspaces certainly isn’t new to the office industry, although, it has become generally more accepted over recent months due to the pandemic.

Published in Suffolk Director Magazine, Summer 2021
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Sharing Experience: Source One Consulting

Originally conceived in the nineties and defined as “the ability to work in a place and at a time most appropriate for the task in hand”, agile working has been given many monikers. These include new ways of working, better working, flexi-working, smart working, and my particular favourite, Martini working (for those old enough to remember the ad slogan: “anytime, anyplace, anywhere”).

Yet, whatever it’s called, it’s really about a fundamental change in interaction, collaboration, and how we as business leaders can manage our working environment, staff and their wellbeing. It’s providing an environment where your staff are trusted to make the right choices, and how the office workspace, post COVID-19, can offer flexibility whilst improving productivity and continuing to provide our clients with the service they expect.

Why agile working?

Many businesses realise that the ‘stratified’ ways of working are no longer relevant and don’t really get the best out of their workforce. Revolutions in technology and the way we communicate, combined with the availability of high quality, high speed devices and wireless access, have made decisions around agile working easier to make.

What types of agile working are for me?

Hot desking / desk sharing: Making better use of space, workstations aren’t allocated to individuals but to a team on a shared basis. Lockers are usually provided to house personal effects and your sandwiches!
Flexible working: Offering flexible working hours that are task dependant rather than job dependant and may sit outside the conventional 9 to 5 working day. This option works well when paired with desk sharing.
Remote working: Working anywhere that is away from the office and the rest of the team, but where there is access to a secure internet. This could be at home, a business centre, a coffee shop, or on a train, although caution should be taken if using a public Wi-Fi.
Mobile Working: A combination of remote working and flexible working, this is where you work from one office location (base) but also work remotely from the main office on a regular basis due to the demands of the job role.
Home working: A form of remote working, specifically undertaken at home; probably the most common over the past year….and may be more so in the future.

So what’s right for me and my team?

There are no easy answers. As is life, agile working is a combination of a number of types, considerations and compromises will be required.

Undoubtedly though it has proved to have significant benefits for all. Boosting morale, changing the culture to be more friendly, collaborative and innovative, as well as empowering staff to manage their days and tasks better, results in a happy and productive workforce. This means that staff are more loyal, therefore staffing costs and churn are lower.

It isn’t as hard as you may think, and it definitely isn’t rocket science, but correct implementation and consultation is key to its success.

For more information on agile working visit bakerstuart.com/what-is-agile-working

Pat Lewis is Founder and Chairman of Source One Consulting and Source One Associates. T: 08456 031 585 E: pat@sourceoneconsulting.co.uk
Visit: sourceoneconsulting.co.uk / sourceoneassociates.co.uk.

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We work with a wide range of businesses and have provided interior solutions for offices, commercial and retail spaces, as well as education (schools & colleges) and health sectors.

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