It’s no secret that technology has transformed the way we work. From set desks with filing cabinets and cumbersome computers to lightweight laptops with an internet connection. The ability to work remotely has created vast benefits for businesses. Nowadays, many businesses are looking to complete a comprehensive office design project to turn their space into an agile working space. But how is this really done?
What are the Benefits of Agile Working?
Without the need to create set desk spaces or private offices, businesses are increasingly opting for open-plan offices where staff are no longer bound to one set space. By providing more freedom both in and out of the office, businesses are seeing an improvement in cross-team collaboration and communication. In fact, the large majority of the office refurbishment work we complete involves creating open plan office areas.
It also helps to improve staff retention levels. With the ability to work from home or off-site, staff are empowered to work as they please. In a recent survey, 57% of millennials said that work-life balance is a key factor when applying for jobs. When remote working can be incorporated into their job role in some capacity, they get the flexibility they need to achieve that all important balance.
Another key benefit for employers is reduced office rates. With ever-increasing rent overheads, agile working can help to downsize physical footprints. According to Global Workplace Analytics reports, employers would save on average $11,000 per person each year if staff were permitted to work remotely for half of the working week. Furthermore, when 1,500 technology professionals were quizzed about flexible working, 37% said they would accept a pay cut of 10% if they were able to work remotely.
By offering hot desks instead of assigned spaces, businesses can reduce the amount of space and equipment each employee needs. Collaborative spaces and larger tables enable staff to plug and play anywhere in the office.
Given the benefits this type of working can offer, it’s no wonder that an increasing number of businesses are introducing it into their workplace.
So how do you create an office for agile working?
Consider Every Staff Member’s Needs
Agile working can be a key bonus for staff when applying for jobs. However, it’s important to remember that it may not suit everyone. So when designing your office, it’s important to consider the needs of all staff members.
New members of staff may require support from other team members during their first year, so keep this in mind. Talk to team leaders or managers and ensure they will stick to set hours or days when they can be with their team members during working hours – whether this is virtually or in person.
To really capture everyone’s individual needs, consider holding a session with your entire team or department heads. Ask them wheat features (within reason) they would like to see in the agile office. Some may request set desks and it is important that you consider this to make sure the new office set-up is as conducive to productivity as possible. It is also worth having a conversation with your fit-out company, if you are planning an office refurbishment, if the plans you have set out are feasible.
Create Different Zones
As a business owner, you’ll know that your office has multiple purposes. From hosting clients to holding collaborative sessions. It’s therefore important to incorporate different zones for these purposes. If you don’t have the space to include a meeting room in your plan, create an area where you can hold semi-private meetings and welcome external clients.
When planning out your zones, it’s also important to consider how your staff work. Some may prefer a quiet, traditional desk set-up, whereas others may work better in a more collaborative space where ideas can be easily shared.
Here are a few ideas:
- A large, kitchen style table for collaborative work such as projects and team meetings
- Quiet desks or spaces for work which requires more concentration and reflection
- Break-out spaces where staff can hold informal meetings or just unwind during breaks and lunch
- Private meeting rooms to host external clients or hold more formal internal meetings
Provide the Right Technology
Something that can be neglected when designing an agile office is ergonomics. Bean bags and reclining chairs may look great but if staff use them, hunched over a laptop, for long periods of time it can lead to health problems or what’s commonly referred to as ‘tech neck.’ Whilst more chilled zones may be ideal for collaborative meetings and mind mapping, try to encourage staff to use an ergonomically correct set-up when working alone.
For this purpose, it’s always good to incorporate desktop screens for staff to plug their laptop into. This will help them to adopt the correct posture when working.
Opt for Open Plan
An agile office offers the opportunity to open up your space. This provides far more opportunity for collaboration amongst staff members. Although some businesses may benefit from private offices, others can reap the rewards of having all staff members in an open environment.
To Sum Up
Agile offices may not work for all businesses and it tends to depend on the nature of your work. If all staff need is a laptop and internet connection, then you could benefit from reduced office rates and a higher staff retention amongst other bonuses.
Firstly, we recommend talking to your staff members about what they’d like to see. This will help you to create an office space designed to maximise productivity.
If you’d like some more advice on how to design an office for agile working, give us a call on 0115 939 7572. Alternatively, drop [email protected] an email. We cover Nottingham, Derby, Leicester and surrounding areas!