If you have rank and file staff who are comfortable with their current office set up and are resistant to change, you’ll need to hone your powers of persuasion when planning commercial fit outs and design changes.
Many office and facilities managers have a forward-thinking vision for their office but don’t act on their ideas for fear of directors labeling them too ‘radical’. Take for instance agile working - a popular style of office design in London. This doesn’t mean nimbly leaping across desks but adopting a more flexible approach to office layouts and design. It’s a style of working that not everyone is convinced by but research has proven that an agile office is better for productivity and staff welfare.
Getting everyone onboard with agile working
If your job is to convince colleagues or the powers that be that an agile office is the way forward, you should read this report published by CIPD in association with The Agile Future Forum and pass it on to influencers and decision makers.
Swapping to an agile office brings the following benefits:-
- Improve staff motivation
- Increase productivity
- Reduce absenteeism and sickness
- Reduce staff turnover and help attract new talent
- Space save - allowing for expansion or the occupation of a smaller more cost-effective office
- Increase interaction and engagement among staff and departments
- Better match resources with workflow
- Allow the workforce to adapt to changing projects and workloads
- Give employees more control and a sense of purpose
- Increase staff effort and output
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A change is as good as a rest
We have already written about change management in a previous blog, which tackles the issue of how to communicate change to staff in a positive way. It’s a great starting point but for many, agile working is viewed as a radical departure from convention and can be a hard sell.
Don’t forget, your agile office can be designed completely for your company and your employees, taking into account their wishes and input. In fact, having staff help shape an agile environment will get them on board much quicker and lead to a far more productive workplace.
We’ve pre-empted the most common questions asked and supplied some handy answers:-
Q. Will I still have my own desk? If most staff place great emphasis on having a desk to call their own, this can be accommodated and desks with wheels can also be specified to give staff the mobility that agile working requires. If you’re convinced a totally mobile workforce is the way to go, staff can be reassured by providing personal lockers so they have a place for their valuable items.
Q. Will I have to sit on a bean bag? It’s a myth that agile working involves sitting around on bean bags. More unconventional seating options can be weaved into an agile design – most notably in break-out areas – but the value of a good office chair is never overlooked.
Q. Will the office be totally open plan? It doesn’t have to be. Good agile environments mix private meeting rooms, more relaxed break-out areas and open plan floors to suit the task in hand. Our 2D and 3D plans illustrate what can be blended together to create a happy, functional workspace.
Q. Isn’t an agile environment noisy? There are many different work stations available that allow the agile office to be a comfortable place to work in every sense. Work pods or booths are great for times when maximum concentration is needed plus partitions and retractable walls are sound barriers. And as above, not every agile office is an open plan one – there’s plenty of scope for dedicated rooms and enclosed areas.
Q. Will it cost more to create an agile environment? Any refurbishment budget is primarily influenced by the amount of ‘first fix’ work needed (such as electrical and data supplies, provision of new air conditioning and lighting, and any structural work). Cosmetic elements and specification will also affect the price but there are no extra special costs attached to an agile office refurbishment. In fact, it’s often cheaper, in the long run, to switch to an agile office as its versatility avoids the need to refit every time the company dynamic changes.
Ask us to create some agile space plans today – we’d be happy to present our 2D and 3D plans to stakeholders and business owners.