Every day, employees walk into work, grab their first drink of the day, then head over to their usual spot in the office and they make themselves comfortable at a desk where they’ll spend the whole day. If they find time, they might squeeze a sandwich in at their desk for ten minutes.
Sound familiar? It doesn’t have to.
This typically exemplifies a rigid working environment, where everyone knows their place and is rooted firmly in their comfort zone. It doesn’t exactly paint a picture of an engaged, innovative employee, does it?
So, what’s the alternative? Well, if you want an engaged, agile workforce that is motivated to come to work, you need an environment to match. In this blog, I’m going to show why this type of workspace is exactly what you need to maximise the performance of your staff.
Let’s get started...
1. Agility Means the Freedom to Find Systems That Work
The essence of agile working means that you’re afforded more freedom in the way you and your teams operate. You provide the opportunity and give your teams licence to discover their own way of working.
With an agile team workspace, and the freedom it can bring, you aren’t restricted to operating in any single way. There’s not much point in inspiring your team to use their initiative and go the extra mile, only to tell them they’re not allowed to leave their desks.
Doing something as simple as providing your employees with the option of working in different locations, such as coffee-shop style lounge areas, multi-functional spaces and meeting pods, you empower them to work in a more relaxed, productive manner.
Practically, this means that rather than making do with an office design that limits creativity and champions inefficiency, you’re free to reorganise the real-life layout of your teams and implement increased flexibility.
When you are free to explore the different options available within the workspace, you can find an optimum style that is the perfect fit for everyone while keeping it fluid enough as your workforce evolves over time.
2. You’ll See an Increase in Innovation
As mentioned, when you switch to an agile team workplace, you can find the perfect system for you. With this, comes a new way of working and, ultimately, a new way of thinking.
Simply by changing up the way you normally do things, you’re able to inspire creativity in your staff. By doing things the same way, day in and day out, you lose the ability to see things differently and you fall into a dangerous spiral of one-way thinking.
Try this now: get up from your usual spot and work in a different area of the office than you normally would. You’ll start to see things slightly differently and it might even start to inspire a new, better way of thinking.
Of course, if your office is nothing more than a traditional line of desks, you’ll likely feel a little awkward shaking up your routine. This is how outdated working environments make staff feel - embarrassed to step out of the crowd and try something new.
When you give your employees the freedom and confidence to work with fluidity, not only do you change the way the organisation operates, but you create a shift in their individual roles and help to drive creativity, thereby increasing innovation and performance.
3. Agile Working Boosts Engagement
How can you expect your employees to thrive when they are constrained to a rigid way of working?
By opening up the opportunity for them to dictate the way they work through an agile team workplace, you give them more control over their working day and, in turn, help to increase their engagement. This goes hand in hand with driving innovation.
Think about the example, at the beginning of this article, of the employee walking into work, and only moving again when they leave work. Does this sound like an engaged worker to you? If it sounds like the way your employees arrive each day, you seriously need to think about a change to increase their engagement.
When your employees are given more freedom in the way they work, they feel more engaged and perform better as a result. Say goodbye to that lethargic employee and watch them grow into a dynamic team player that’s always aiming to improve their performance.
4. Office Utilisation Will Rise
An agile workspace doesn’t just open up new avenues for your employees, your actual office space benefits too.
At the minute, you might be looking around the office at all the empty space you’re paying for and wondering, “am I making the most of this space or is it going to waste?”. This is because you’re restricting your staff to working in specific areas and not allowing them the freedom to explore and make use of every inch of the space.
When you give your employees free rein to discover an area of the office that hadn’t been utilised before, you’ll find yourself creating a culture where they are inspired to look for new pathways and to redefine the boundaries of their roles.
It’s also worth pointing out that different spaces suit different frames of mind. Chaining someone to their desk and asking them to be free-thinking and creative just doesn’t make sense. If you want maximum efficiency from your workforce, let them run free.
By implementing an agile working system, where you make use of every inch of office space, your working environment will be a more efficiently utilised place and your teams will perform to a level where you’re not worrying about a lack of motivation.
5. Staff Are Able to Collaborate More
It might not surprise you that an agile team workspace can help to increase teamwork and collaboration. It’s in the name ‘agile team workspace’.
By redesigning the order in which your employees are positioned and giving them the opportunity to be fluid in the way they work, they are better able to communicate with one another and work effectively as a team.
With the old way of working, your employees are limited to working with those in their immediate vicinity, or forced to collaborate under a manager’s watchful eye in inefficient team meetings. With a more flexible style of office that uses elements like communal bench seating, you open up the possibility of collaboration between different teams.
When we’re able to collaborate more and solve problems effectively as a team, we are our best selves. Without knowing it, you might be preventing your employees from engaging with each other and discovering a more collaborative spirit.
6. Agile Workspaces Attract the Best Staff
Agile working is in fashion at the minute for good reason. Multiple industries are following the lead of giants like Google and moving to a more flexible working style.
Because of the increase in performance that agile working can bring, the trend doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. As such, this is a factor you should be considering when trying to recruit staff.
The best candidates these days aren’t satisfied with the offices of old. They don’t want to sit at a homogenous desk with partitions erected between them and their coworkers. The very best candidates are looking to join a company that is innovative at every level of their operations, especially when it comes to the workspace.
You might not consider yourself to be competing with the likes of Google but as the landscape changes and companies in your industry begin to follow this model, you need to be able to keep up or. If you don't, not only will you miss out on the best candidates, you’ll start to lose your existing staff to competitors as well.
Stop missing out on bringing the best people into your workspace who are going to take your business forward.
So, agile working can help to improve engagement, innovation and collaboration. But you don’t really need to implement it right now, do you? The short answer is “yes, you do”. After all, your competitors won’t wait.
The great thing about an agile team workspace is that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. It can be shaped around you and your team as you find the best way of working. That means your office can become a real representation of the uniqueness of your business.
Remember that no two teams are the same. The unique individuals that make up your workforce all have different ways of working and different needs from everyone else, so why would you inflict an uninspired workspace on them?
Give them room to breathe and space to discover their own, optimum way of working. You’ll soon see them flourish into a high-performance team.
If you want to learn more about how to turn your office into the kind of space where your business can truly flourish, give us a call on 0161 402 3340 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.