There is no doubting the interest that various professional groups and management gurus have in the term of “Agile Working” or “Agile Workplace”. Advanced Workplace Associates (AWA), Graham Jervis, Director at AWA, examines the terminology.
What is an Agile Workplace? What does it all Really Mean for Workplace Strategy?
The CIPD has linked agile methodology to productivity improvements. Others have seen it as a means of manipulating office space and real estate to ensure people work more productivity with minimal working space. This includes workplace strategies such as desk sharing, reducing floor space, providing enhanced opportunities for collaboration, personal choice, better work-life balance, remote working, flexible working and providing low cost rapid business change.
The term clearly means different things to people, and these differences are a result of what specific benefits people and organisations seek.
I would contend that agility goes much further than these individual perceptions. In the context of business and society, it is a fundamental organisational competence. Daily we are challenged with unpredictable events that rock our view of the world and make it more difficult to accommodate the rapid changes that are taking place. We no longer can forecast with any surety what our businesses or governance structures will look like in 5 years time or possibly less.
We all have to “think agile“ not just be agile in the workplace. Our government structures, business models, management mindsets, workplace experiences and personal attitudes all require to be challenged to the test of:
- How quickly could we make changes to the way in which we do business or work if the most disruptive event to us were to happen?
- How much would it cost to make those changes?
But “agile thinking” offers more than a means of a reacting to negative changes, it is also a positive competency in reacting quickly to opportunities and in providing the fleetness of foot that characterise the small entrepreneurial business.
So when we start on Agile projects, whatever they may mean to you in the short term, think a little broader into what else they could contribute to future organisational success.
For more information on agile working and agile workplaces, you can contact a workplace management consultant on +44 207 743 7110. Alternatively you can email firstname.lastname@example.org with your inquiry. Advanced Workplace Associates (AWA) are based in London, United Kingdom but now work internationally across the United States of America, Asia and Europe.