Activity Based Working (ABW)
Activity Based Working (ABW) is a term being used in the United States of America, South America and Asia.
Activity based working is used to describe a work model 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.
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 effective workplace management.
The benefits of activity based working...
First, activity based work models allow organizations to take a fresh approach to organizing working processes, workflow and the structuring of workplace experiences.
This nature of work will require a supportive office design which enables people to work in a model fashion, wherever is best for them (both in the office and out) and 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 a work environment that is both bright and free of visual or audible distractions. It gives total control of the workplace experience and work settings 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 minimize 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 rise of ABW across the globe has lead to an increase in ‘work form home jobs’ and remote working. Many organisations are planning to implement this work model as it has had major success in boosting employee satisfaction levels.
The second benefit
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.
We have found that in organizations where people ‘own’ their own desk, it creates huge inefficiencies leading to desks and meeting spaces often being utilized less than 50% of the time they are available. By implementing smart working and sharing space, you’ll effectively be making better use of it. ABW environments usually allow companies to avoid office relocations and new real estate purchases as they find their current size fits.
We use Workplace Utilization Studies to determine how well your space is working for your organisation and its business strategy. We use this tool to measure 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
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.
An activity based workspace is a 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 workplace 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, workplace design, technology, behavior and workplace culture to ensure a successful implementation of agile and ABW ways of working.