Everything is evolving, fast paced and on the go. We are now in a generation that everything has changed, from “how” we work and even physical places “where” we work. One factor that affects staff’s productivity is the workplace. Development in technologies are helping and creating more smarter and more flexible techniques for workspaces. So, you think you might want to change your traditional office into an agile workplace but have no idea how or where to begin.
First, let’s define Agile workplace, the concept is activity-based working space and making the work space flexible. It is an office hoteling reservation technique or set up in a workplace. It is a way of utilizing a work area more efficiently, utilizing non-assigned seating arrangement and desk-sharing to maximize and creating collaborative spaces.
According to Allwork.space, an online news publication about trends, tips and insights from the flexible workspace industry; agile working makes sure to combine efficient use of the space with collaborative working and the need to recognise concentration and contemplation, through agile working principles, it shows how to create and allocate space and furniture according to the tasks to be performed rather than status or rank. They also mentioned that there are five main components to an effective agile office:
- An open floor plan. This physical openness allows for easy collaboration between employees, increases the amount of natural light to enter the workspace, and is an extremely efficient use of space. However, the cons of an open floor plan include the potential for an extremely loud environment, distractions from deep work, or difficulty with private conversations.
- Breakout areas. These are spaces that can be used for many purposes and are intended to foster creativity beyond the confines of a typical conference room. They allow space to eat, relax, and create areas for employees to have ad-hoc brainstorm sessions. Again, potential negatives could be difficulty with confidential conversations or noise if clear guidelines of use are not put into place from the start. Areas like these could consist of tables, booths, couches, collaborative desks, etc.
- Quiet zones. These are also known as hot spots for focused projects, on-demand concentration, or confidential conversations. Quiet zones require careful oversight so that they are respected by all members of the team. These areas should have some kind of boundaries, like cubicle walls.
- Touchdown areas. These are spots for overflow workers to utilize, especially if they’re only in the office periodically. They can be used for short tasks, like answering email or knocking out quick assignments. These touchdown areas could consist of bar stools along a counter or a shared couch., Keep in mind that these workstations are not ideal for long periods of sustained work and are not designed for that purpose.
- Easy access to resources. Employees should have easy access to essential resources like physical documentation, equipment, supplies, printers, and copiers when needed. However, be cognizant of where these resources are stored; in an agile workspac,e it’s important to eliminate as much noise intrusion as possible. Ideally these won’t be set up too close to work areas.
How will Agile Workplace benefit your business.
Big chunks of the business’ money go to the space – spaces that are under occupied. Practicing agile workspaces are resulting to significantly cheaper expenses in terms of fit-out and occupational costs. It can free up space for other work purposes.
Increase in productivity and efficiency.
It providing an activity-based working environment that allows your staff to work from any arrangement they choose and creates combination of focused, collaborative, creative work that leads to more productivity. Your business will have the ability to work when, where and how employees find the most suitable and comfortable. It will also help reduce absenteeism, by enhancing your workplace, you are also improving staff motivation and enjoyment at work, it lessens burn out and boredom at work. It makes them more energized and excited. By giving your staff the freedom to choose and to be flexible with their expertise, tools and specially workplace, it will allow them to make good decisions that lead to improvement of their performances.
Getting and retaining best talents.
Great examples are companies like Google and Unilever, they have the outstanding reputation as employers. They achieved this by inspiring a workplace and how they value their workers, in return they get loyal employees and performers.
Improved Employee Performance.
The foundation of a successful workplace is its well-designed environment. Strategically designed workplace will help your team to be more dynamic through allowing members to choose the best place and time to perform their duties and tasks. It also impacts Employee Engagement. It boosts the flexibility in communication and staff engagement.
It can adhere to your changing workforce.
Whether business expansion or contraction, your business is very well prepared with all of fluctuation because of its flexibility.
How will you transition your traditional office to an agile office?
From the experience of businesses that have successfully performed the transition, we’ve collected some steps that will help you.
Do Your Research.
Research on the Internet net and learn about the types of companies that have make successful transitions. Look for ways where your business is similar and ways in which it is different. Do a study on your office over the period of a week or more and assess the actual occupancy. If you find your company office space has 20% or more vacant on average, then this may be a good alternative for you. The higher the normal vacancy rate, the better suited to office hoteling. If you find you run 50% or more vacancy, it only makes good sense to implement office hoteling.
Identify Employees Not Suited to Office Hoteling
Look at your skill mix. Few companies have 100% of their employees away from their traditional workspace the majority of the time. Your receptionist, office manager, some executives and management are in the office on a 90% or greater basis. The traditional office is where they perform their jobs. Those workers should be included in the office hoteling plan as permanent on-site and should remain with their traditional assigned workspace. Choose employees available for agile working is the key to making work more efficient for the hoteling workers once the transition is made.
Determine the Maximum Employee Density on an Average Day
Having looked at average occupancy vacancy rates previously, you should be able to translate that study into a highest average occupancy rate. The lower the occupancy, the more money you can save, but you need to be careful to provide enough hoteling workspaces. If not, you could find unhappy employees standing around waiting for workspaces. It is far better to set up an extra workspace or two to be on the safe side. Office hoteling workspaces don’t have to be large or take up a lot of square footage. Better too many than too few.
Choose an Easy to Use Office Hoteling Reservation Software
When employees choose to come in to utilize a workspace or conference, they will need to log into a control system; the office space hoteling reservation system. By entering a unique identifier, they can pick any available workspace to use for their time in office. They can reserve a meeting room if a client gathering is their purpose, even reserving those spaces several days before the meeting. When the employee has finished using the space they reserved, they simply log out of the office hoteling reservation system, or in the case of a meeting room, might close out their meeting room use and select a workspace to make calls or type up minutes of the meeting. A good office hoteling reservation system will even know which workspace they are using and allow the receptionist to route their calls to where they are at work. Here are the different types of tools that are very helpful to achieve an agile workspace.
• Room booking tools: Bookings can be done in a common system or terminal or through an internet portal. It automates the task of booking meeting rooms, displaying the status of rooms at all times.
• Desk booking tools: same with room booking tool, automation can also be applied to the task of assigning shared desk resources. Staff can book a desk remotely and can secure a space when they arrive. Usually, digital displays on desks can also automatically indicate its availability.
• Digital Sinage: there are installed digital signages in the office that assists employees working from different offices and locations find their way to departments, meeting rooms and other facilities. The signs can be changed easily when needed.
• Occupancy sensors: providing a real-time data on spare capacity levels, it can also help the monitor activity level and can help capacity planning.
The most commonly used software being used by larger organizations is the Microsoft Outlook. Internal IT Team can help to set up by adding rooms as “resources” in outlook calendar. It’s very user-friendly, in your own calendar, you can easily check if a room or a workstation is in use, blocked or available.
There is Help
Office Hoteling is not a new field and there is help available. There are consultants who specialize in this field and can help you with the transition. it is not necessarily inexpensive to implement an office hoteling system, but it results in savings on average of 30% – 40% of your office rental costs. It is well worth the effort.
IF you need help finding office space where you can create and agile workplace, we are here to help.