Let’s start off by first stating that “Activity based working” and “Agile’ working methods are terms that tend to be used interchangeably in the world of workplace strategy. Both workplace options describe different ways of working that enable people to choose where, when and how they work, according to the needs of themselves and their team. The idea behind behind activity based working (ABW) is that it frees up office space, provides an appropriate range of places to work and helps get maximum usage from each type of space.
The underlying concept behind this workplace culture is that employees no longer “own” a specific desk in the office, but are instead empowered to choose the best place for them to undertake particular tasks. Activity based working has been a workplace management concept for over 40 years, and in the experience of Advanced Workplace Associates (AWA), can lead to significant improvements in collaboration, productivity, efficiency, sociability and more.
Activity based working requires a certain level of commitment and engagement from staff and/or departments in order for the initiative to enhance performance. For the change management strategies to be effective and for the overall transition to be a success, a dedication to the cause must be embedded into the employee cultures, behaviours and processes. Additionally, the right support and options must be available and encouraged in order to speed up the adoption. For example, if flexible working is introduced as part of the new activity based working style, then it is important have the proper office design and policies to support the change.
Organisations typically consider activity based working when faced with a real estate event – a lease break or expiry, or in response to “running out of space” in their existing location. All of these situations provide an opportunity for a business leader or workplace strategy consultant to think differently about how space is used and how much is needed. Commonly, AWA workplace consultants find out through workplace utilisation studies that often only 50% of the workspace is being used – so there is definitely an opportunity to make savings on real estate and also provide something more effective for the workforce. Alternatively, when undergoing a relocation project, it provides business leaders with an opportunity to take a step back and think about what can be improved – perhaps a workspace strategy that can target specific objects is necessary. For example, if an improvement in workplace efficiency is sought, then activity based working could certainly be a worth considering?
Finally it is important to consider the future of work and what it may look like. Activity Based Working / Agile Working open up exciting new processes, experiences and office design ideas. When implemented successfully, the employee should be placed at the heart of the process to deliver them the opportunity to do their best work every day.
If you would like to discuss an aspect of implementing, maintaining or training for activity based working, please call an AWA workplace consultant so that we can help you formulate the right approach for your business. To get in contact please call +44 207 743 7110 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We are also happy to book an appointment at our UK based office at 40 Gracechurch Street, London EC3V 0BT.