In a previous article “Getting Back To The Workplace” we looked at the challenge for businesses presented by Covid-19 in enabling staff to return to work and helping them to make a safe transition from home working back to office working. One of the things we briefly talked about was adapting the workplace to implement new safety standards. In this article we look at how the agile office can play an important role in helping with this implementation in the future Kent and London workplace.
A More Agile Office
Covid-19 has fuelled the immediate need to move towards a more agile office. So what is an “agile office”? The term agile office is very often interchanged with the term hybrid office but there is a difference.
The objective of a hybrid office is to enable staff to work remotely some or all of the time. An agile office is an office space that is designed for maximum flexibility and which can be arranged, organised and changed on demand, as and when required. It can easily and simply adapt to any given circumstance so it can cater to business needs both now and into the future. An agile, flexible office design facilitates and enables staff to choose where they want to work in the office.
Why Is Agile Office Space Becoming More Popular?
Office space adaptability will enable a business to react to a change in circumstances be it a contagious virus, an increase or decrease in staff numbers, a change in business processes or how individuals or teams need to work. It’s a way of future-proofing your office so it’s easy to see why it is becoming increasingly popular in a world where the ability to change quickly is ever more important.
Given the circumstances we find ourselves in today the ability to make changes will clearly be a big plus however an agile office also comes with many other positive aspects over and above the ability to quickly adapt. Some of the many benefits include:
- Many businesses under utilise the office space they have and find it hard to pivot office space to new uses or requirements when they need to. By being agile an office can change in the way it is used and maximise the space available to provide a working environment that adapts as required.
- Agility can lead to increased efficiency and productivity. We know that office space can have a significant impact on staff health and well-being which then plays into staff motivation, energy and productivity. Having a space which can be used for multiple purposes, and which is easily changed to meet those purposes allows staff to work in an environment that better meets their needs.
- An agile office is key to creativity as well as productivity. By adapting to the needs of staff and their job requirements the “perfect” working environment can be provided that engages, inspires and provides employees with the necessary workspace to stimulate and encourage their creativity. Flexibility also allows businesses to use technology for different situations and which can adapt to the staff that use it.
- An agile office promotes agile working which allows for a greater flexibility in where staff work within the office. Workplace flexibility is a main driver of job satisfaction and has been shown to increase job satisfaction resulting in higher productivity.
- The ability to move around the workspace as required, to areas that are more conducive to working individually or with a team will help individual productivity and teamwork. If staff are more easily able to come together, when they usually work in different areas or departments, collaboration will also be more easily achievable.
- As mentioned previously staff like the flexibility to choose where they work. In fact data has shown that “81% of UK employees feel that flexible working makes a job more attractive to them, 79% believe flexible working would make them more productive and 92% of millennials identify flexibility as a top priority when job hunting.” By having an agile office businesses are more likely to retain and attract employees.
- Agile workplaces often require less square footage thereby helping to reduce costs. The ability to optimise the use of your office space and use it to its full potential will give a better ROI. Wasted space is wasted costs.
- An agile office can also help to reduce your carbon footprint if it is created to be greener and smarter leading to improved sustainability.
Adapting To An Agile Office
Although an agile office comes with a great many positives and in today’s ever evolving world it’s going to be vital to be able to adapt and move quickly to changing circumstances, like any other change in life a move to an agile office working environment will require time and planning. It’s not something that can happen overnight with a few quick changes to office layout. So take some time to plan how you’ll adapt your current space to move to an agile office space. Here are a few ways which will help you successfully adapt:
- Look at all of your business processes and work out what designs and layouts will work best for your business and staff.
- Put together a step by step plan on how the changes will take place. Making the move to an agile office can be done to a timescale that best meets your needs. Don’t try to shoehorn the changes into someone else’s timescales. Take incremental steps and make changes in phases if this is what will work best for you and your business. At each step check that the changes are aligned to your businesses processes and goals and meet your initial requirements.
- Don’t forget to involve your staff. For changes to work you’ll need staff input, after all they are the ones that will be using the workspace and will know from experience what will work for them. Involve staff as early as possible in the planning stage. Address any concerns and get staff buy in to the changes. This will make the move to an agile office go far more smoothly and it’s far more likely to be successful.
- Communication is key. Change is difficult. Make sure changes are effectively communicated.
Moving to an agile office may also require a shift in company culture. Initially staff may find it difficult to adapt but in the longer term the benefits should be clear.
How Can JBH Refurbishments Help?
JBH Refurbishments have over 30 years experience in office planning, design and build. From your brief, to putting together a project plan, to developing your agile office design and layout that meets or exceeds your needs to delivering your office fit out JBH Refurbishments will provide piece of mind.
To find out how we can help us via our contact form or by calling us on 0333 207 0339.