Agile Office Environment

Implementing An Agile Working Environment To Create A Dynamic Workforce

I’ve always been indifferent when it comes to the office as a working environment. It’s quite possibly due to the office environments I’ve been part of. One was small, deadly silent and claustrophobic whereas the other was large, noisy and distracting. I struggled immensely to find a happy medium.  But this got me thinking ‘Am I the only person who struggles with the traditional office setup?’

There was a recent study which suggested that over 60% of office workers believed being in the office was no longer required to be productive. I would argue the point a little further and suggest that a static Monday- Friday office working environment could be counter productive on your overall outputs. So what’s the happy medium and is the office creating the dynamic, forward thinking workforce all companies crave? I would suggest not. Don’t get me wrong I’m not proposing the closure of all offices globally and a step towards Work from home. As a home worker myself there are aspects of the office I do miss and parts of work from home which quite frankly aren’t pretty. My proposal is more towards relaxing the traditional ‘We work from the office between the hours of 9 and 5’ and introducing a more agile working environment to galvanise the workforce. Working in the same office, around the same people, with the same distractions can lead to a static workforce and not one developing and creating change. My theory is simple. Remove the shackles on your workforce and create an environment which is flexible to the employee and their business deliverables. Is the busy office really the right place to be writing that strategy document? Why not offer flexibility on this?

Why remove the Static Workforce?:

The problem most businesses have with office workers is they become static. Routine can be deadly on productivity and the office can become a place where ‘shit isn’t done’. Maybe there’s a coffee break routine or theres a strong possibility that the guy you speak to about Football most days will still want to have the conversation whether you have a deadline or not. The environment you work is a huge factor in how dynamic you are as a worker. A siloed approach to your working environment can cause some of the following issues to occur:

Complacency:

‘An instance of contented self-satisfaction’ . Complacency is typically a result of the history of a specific office. An individual who is summoned to work the same hours, over the same periods with the same deliverables could become complacent. When you’re complacent you become static in your development.

Routine:

Work Routine

Work Routine

A static workforce gets used to a specific routine and sticks to that routine. If there’s suddenly a desire for quicker output due to a deadline then someone stuck in a routine will struggle with this. By creating an agile working environment where employees are encouraged to identity the best working condition for their specific deliverable you shake up the routine and inspire. Having the same routine everyday can be counter productive so by finding the best environment for the specific task at hand you have a workforce who are ready.

Same distractions:

Distractions are everywhere in an office. If you have something which is time sensitive then an office might not be the right environment for your employee to work. Do we continue to let the employee struggle with background noise or do we open the channel for them to work somewhere more viable for what they are trying to achieve? Where you work should be agile to match the demands of your specific daily/weekly task.


Offering agile working environments:

Agility and flexibility are the key terms here. Where we work and how we work should not be defined and should be driven by the demand of a specific task. Are the constraints of the office the right place for a brainstorming session? Equally is the home the correct environment to hold a meeting? Probably not. By creating an agile working environment for your employee’s businesses can improve productivity and output by finding the right surroundings for completing the specific task.

By placing trust in employee’s to make the decision based on the task in hand not only do you develop trust but you also create dynamic workers who know what’s required to get the job done. By helping your workers ‘get the job done’ you are essentially helping yourself. Business is about trust and these workers should be allowed to make the decision which is conducive to how they work.

What should be the options?:

For me to specifically state where you should work would be wrong. There’s not a one size fits all solution here it should be completely dependant on the task and job ahead. Let’s look at my own situation for example. When the weather is ok I move my work from my home office to the garden table for the afternoon working stint. Those last three hours are always the hardest part and I have found changing the environment of which I work in improves both my mood and my output. I have noticed an increase in productivity in the afternoon if I change the scenery around me.  Why aren’t more companies allowing this? Now as I’ve already stated there’s no one size fits all approach to where you should work and when. I think the question is more so ‘where shouldn’t you work when completing a specific task?’. Here are some of the options of where employee’s could take their work to maximise their output:

:The Office
:Work from home
:The Coffee Shop
:Drop in shared office spaces (Bounce ideas off fellow creatives, focus groups)
:Beers at the pub (Arguably some of the best ideas come over food or drinks. Stimulate the mind).

Loosen the noose:

Companies need to relax a little and give employees the freedom to express themselves in the environment which best matches their daily requirements. Not only does this approach result in a more inspired worker but it also makes business sense too. More companies should allow the working environment to become more flexible in an age when our business deliverables are more measured than ever.

Do you know any companies large or small who implement this working strategy? Are you a freelancer who works a number of different locations? Alternatively are you a believer of authority and that workers cannot be trusted to make these decisions?

Drop us a reply in the comments below.

Image Source: http://blog.mindjet.com/

About the author

Ryan Gibson

Hey! I'm a 28 year old digital marketing guy residing in Leeds, England. My skill is in search marketing and I have gathered over 6 years experience of working on large multilingual campaigns for a number of FTSE 250 Organisations. After accepting a role with a business based in Singapore I began questioning traditional business practice and employee retention. This blog GenerationY.com was therefore born with focus on Y in the workplace. A millennial child at heart I aim to provide a voice for the 'misunderstood' generation and my goal is simply to change perception and corporate mind set on work/life attitudes; inspiring companies and individuals to seek change.

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