Activity Based Working (ABW) is a term being used in the United States of America (USA), South America and Asia to describe a way of working in which people are provided with mobile technology that allows them the freedom to work in different places depending upon the tasks they perform. In the UK many people refer to this way of working as agile working, although the term is increasingly used here too.
Activity Based Working encourages and facilitates a new workplace experience that is innovative, more productive and smart. To support this way of working, the workplace needs supportive technology, a well planned office design and workplace management.
The benefits of activity based working are several fold. First it allows organisations to take a fresh approach to organising workflow and structuring the workplace experiences. This nature of work will require a supportive office design which enables people to work where is best for them (both in the office and out) that is best suited to their tasks and work duties. For example, if an employee is needing to concentrate on detailed tasks with a great deal of focus, they may need an environment that is both bright and free of visual or audible distractions. It gives total control of the workplace experience to the employee.
On the other hand, if your employee is working informally and collaborating with their team, they may require a more conventional meeting space with a screen on the wall and a network connection (to minimise distraction and noise). Or they may need an informal space simply to brainstorm and discuss work issues if privacy and lack of distraction are less important..
The second benefit of activity based working is that it enables office space to be used more intensively and efficiently – enabling more people to be based at a building than in a traditional model. Advanced Workplace Associates have found that in organisations where people ‘own’ their own desk, it creates huge inefficiencies leading to desks and meeting spaces often being utilised less than 50% of the time they are available. By sharing space and making better use of it, office relocations and new real estate purchases can often be avoided. AWA use Workplace Utilisation Studies to determine how well your space is working for your organisation by measuring the usage of every workplace and space over a two week period – giving a good understanding of the supply and demand of different areas.
The third benefit is that people can work with the people they need to when they need to. This can lead to the development of stronger teams, improved social cohesion within and between teams and employee collaboration. The perfect approach to help your employees re-group and re-shape in minutes as their needs dictate. The workplace experience will become more collaborative, more productive and easier.
At Advanced Workplace Associates (AWA) we undertake studies to help clarify the feasibility and benefits of applying activity based working. We help our clients deliver a multi-faceted change programme involving space planning, office design, technology, behaviour and workplace culture to ensure a successful implementation of agile and ABW ways of working.
Get in contact with a workplace consultant by calling +44 207 743 7110. Or, to find out more about Activity Based Working, email firstname.lastname@example.org with your inquiry. Advanced Workplace Associates are based in London, United Kingdom but now work internationally across the United States of America, Asia and Europe.