A major change to arise in recent years is a shift in workplace management. Traditional office layouts are on the wane. The modern office is evolving all the time. Businesses and organisations everywhere are making changes and these changes are strongly linked to employee retention. By focusing on boosting flexibility and wellbeing in the workplace, employers are reaping the rewards of greater productivity and staff retention.
Studies have shown a relationship between workplace wellbeing and productivity. Personal factors, job roles and importantly, working environments all affect the productivity levels of individual employees and as such, the overall performance of organisations. With the modern workplace constantly evolving, following the latest developments in workspace thinking could have an impact on the wellbeing of staff, as well as on the business’ bottom line. Take a look at our jargon-busting explanation of some of the most popular, modern ways of working.
UK employees are legally entitled to request flexible working arrangements from employers. As such, measures to help employees maintain a healthy work-life balance are important. Remote working offers one solution to achieve this. Whether heading to a café for a few hours or spending the day working from home, employees have the option to be out of the office while getting work done.
Similarly, flexible working hours can be an alternative arrangement. Working hours and patterns can be agreed upon, on an individual basis, to offer enhanced flexibility. This enables employees to meet other commitments. In some cases, it may be as simple as attending a personal appointment and making up the time elsewhere.
Businesses that enable flexible working tend to recognise that, while work is a priority, it can’t always be number one. Flexible working can be equally beneficial to business. With fewer dedicated desks and equipment for example, running costs can be reduced, which has a positive impact on office overheads.
Hot desking typically involves one or more employees having no set workspace or allocated desk. This can be for a certain period of time or it may be a permanent arrangement. Instead, employees use the same workspace at different times. In this way, the floor space that’s released through hot desking can be used to provide alternative work areas.
Hot desking can often enhance communication and improve professional relationships. Working alongside different people allows relationships to grow across both the immediate and wider business. Thus enabling enhanced collaboration.
Activity-based working is based on the premise of providing staff with a choice of work settings to suit different activities. In a similar vein to hot desking, while workstations are commonplace, employees do not have a dedicated desk. Instead, the broader workspace provides employees with a variety of predetermined activity areas.
In this way, staff are able to work in an area that is most suited to the task at hand. The concept recognises that through the course of a day, employees engage in a variety of different activities. From working collaboratively to individual activities requiring focus, different types of work settings are designed to suit different tasks.
Creating office spaces that offer staff a range of ideal working environments encourages greater well-being and enhanced job satisfaction. In turn, this generates improved performance and productivity.
Render designed by Officescape LLP
Agile working takes activity-based working one step further. It’s all about offering maximum flexibility while keeping constraints to a minimum. It’s a way of working which allows employees to work where, when and how they choose.
Different working areas are created within an office and teams are assigned to those areas. Again, in a similar vein to hot desking, individuals are not allocated specific desks. They have the freedom and flexibility to work where and when they want. Whether at a workstation or at an alternative workspace, such as the home, agile working enhances employees’ autonomy.
Break-out spaces are a common consideration when designing agile working environments. They offer employees an alternative area to use during their working hours. Ideal for informal meetings or tasks that negate the need to be seated behind a screen, break-out spaces offer staff a relaxed and comfortable environment in which to work.
Offering a workforce the freedom to make individual choices inspires creativity and intuitiveness. From generating fresh ideas to enhancing communication between different departments, agile working can have a positive impact on productivity.
Many world-class organisations incorporate agile working environments into their offices. This often helps to attract and retain top talent, which brings positive and measurable results to the business. For agile working to function efficiently, incorporating the appropriate technology and flexible IT infrastructure is essential.