Tag Archives: agile workplace

The Office Workplace is Changing. Don’t Get Left Behind

Changes in the work patterns that today’s workforce employs to excel are evolving at an amazing pace and leading to the creation of agile workplaces. It is an employee driven phenomenon, courtesy of the new generation of knowledge workers, that can benefit all generations in the workforce.

It seems that there is one article or another telling us how this company or that company cut the amount of office space they need by 50% and became more productive and profitable. However, many office workplaces are adjusting at a slow pace or not at all. Unless employers realize and adapt to these changes, their businesses will fall behind the curve, losing the cream of the crop employees; resulting in lower profits.

Focusing on reducing square footage in leased office space is one tactic, but should not be the primary goal of adapting to the new workforce work patterns. Increasing productivity and profit should be primary goal. With the changes in work patterns, the result is usually a reduction in office space. It is a byproduct of the improving productivity and profit and also in attracting and retaining the best and the brightest of the new generation of knowledge workers.

Changing Work Environments

Much work is performed today in places such as airports, home, coffee shops, in vehicles stopped along the way to the next meeting, and a plethora of other third-party workspaces.

Businesses are adjusting by implementing agile workplace technologies such as office hoteling to reserve office space, conference rooms, equipment and services as needed for employees, rather than maintaining a desk space for each employee. This is one step toward adapting to the changing work patterns of today, but alone, it is not enough. Flexibility is critical because today’s empowered teams form and evolve as needed, often without the outdated management direction.

Work Pattern Changes Reduce Costs

Management empowering employees in how and where they accomplish productive tasks is critical. The acceptance of mobility can lead to reduced costs, not just in office space square footage, but in reduction of reduced other occupancy costs such as furniture, communications, tenant improvements and the like.  Near-shoring, meaning choosing the least costly means to accomplish tasks, can save by adding contract employees or freelance subject matter experts to be employed as needed. This can cover work without the overhead of increased permanent staff. This doesn’t mean that you have to go offshore and reduce jobs in a specific country, you can find near-shore staff locally or across the US — or even by moving a task to a lower cost position in your own organization.

Work Pattern Adjustments Increase Productivity

In a study by TomorrowLab, four factors were identified that  can  significantly improve workforce productivity and create a more effective virtual team. These factors are:

  • Shared Vision and Process
  • Great People
  • Effective Communications
  • Appropriate Technology.

By combining these proven factors, a collaborative work environment can be achieved. This is a crucial factor to increase innovation, quality, and productivity.  Collaboration, virtual or face-to-face, bonds workforce members into putting the right heads together when needed to solve problems or accomplish goals.

Providing amenities at the office, such as snacks in the break room or fitness center membership (or if practical a large company  might offer on-site workout equipment), encourages people to share information when they are not “at work” and the spontaneous ideas resulting from this relaxed interpersonal bonding can lead to innovations above and beyond expectations.

High tech mobile equipment allows collaboration when working outside the office. A recent trend of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device e.g. computer or tablet)  is gaining popularity. Many of the younger generation use their devices for more than just business purposes.

Occasional workforce gatherings maintain contact and informs workers what progress and ideas other team members have produced, but weekly staff meetings can be seen as time-wasters. In many cases, it is best to hold these gathering less often or when there is big news to discuss or share will

Benefits of Changing with Work Pattern Changes

Organizations that are open and flexible with work pattern changes provide environments for employees to grow and prosper. Recruiting and retaining the best employees is expected to become more difficult in coming years, so creating a work environment that earns the organization the reputation of being a great place to work will pay off when recruiting and retaining the best and the brightest.

We can help. Contact us so we can get you started finding out about creating an Agile Workplace and how it might work for your company.

Re-Imaging the Office Workplace Into the Agile Workplace

Here is a great video on the changing office space workplace and the re-imaging of the office workplace that is in process. You will find it is 9 minutes well spent and is entertaining in addition to educational. It is a great overview of the emergence of the Agile Workplace and the changes that are needed to allow knowledge workers achieve maximum productivity with a good work / life balance.

Thanks to Duke Long for pointing out this video in his blog.

We can help. Contact us so we can get you started finding out about creating an Agile Workplace and how it might work for your company.

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Find Office Space

By: James Osgood

Current Trends in Office Space Planning

So, you are out looking for new office space rental or maybe you are renegotiating your office lease and want to make sure your space is as productive as possible. Here are a few of the current trends in office space planning:

  • High panel cubicles are out. Benches or open work areas are in.
  • Headphones have become the new office walls.
  • Areas for collaboration and huddle areas are encouraging team work.
  • Break rooms are open and central to the work space and located along windows, becoming gathering places.
  • Office hoteling is creating Agile Workplaces that allows multiple employees to share workspaces on an as needed basis.
  • The use of 3rd party outsourced office space is on the rise.
  • Home officing, in conjunction with the Agile Workplace,  is creating happier and more productive employees.
  • Management is moving out of their offices and into the open area.
  • Internal offices and conference rooms are moving off the window line to the interior walls to allow the natural light from exterior windows to permeate the work space.
  • Stand up workstations are becoming more popular for some areas to increase productivity.

The result is that office space requirements per person are dropping from over 200 square feet per person down to as low as 100 square feet per person. A major shift is occurring in the workplace The concept of work is shifting from the workplace as pieces of real estate to the office workplace as a facilitating bundle of services. Work is no longer a place, but a productive activity. Productivity is becoming the measure over the number of hours worked. Many of these office space planning trends are a result of this shift.

Rethinking Productivity in the Agile Workplace

Many business owners are changing the way they think about productivity in the workplace by creating agile, non-traditional offices. Using telecommuting, third place workspaces, office hoteling, and other fresh techniques, they are creating workplaces that retain the best and brightest employees, increasing productivity, employee satisfaction and increase their profits, too.

Changing an office work style isn’t as simple as a wholesale change and a deployment meeting announcing the changes. Business Owners and managers with office space must rethink how they think about productivity in order to help employees and managers to make a smooth transition. Here are some steps to include in the process to ensure success:

Commit: Determine that you are willing to commit to wholesale change in corporate workstyle and office space. Realize that you are committing not only to changing the office space square footage and layout, but to the amount of face-time you’ll have with employees. Commit to thinking of productivity as accomplishment, not as time at a desk in the office.

Influence and Build Support:  If you are a manager, you will need to change the way you think about productivity. it will no longer be the hours worked, but what has been accomplished by those you manage. Business owners or managers must accept that a change in workplace style requires a change in management style; influence and facilitate is the change in thinking that is needed. You will need to change from thinking about office space and hours to thinking of work life and work accomplishments. After all, in an agile, streamlined office space much of the work will not happen inside the walls of the office.

Think Productivity, Not Space Reduction: Agile office spaces have smaller footprints than traditional offices. Up to 50% less space is required, but don’t fall into the trap of making the changes solely to save money on real estate office leases. In fact, the result of the change could be turning your current office space into an agile workspace and expanding staff to grow into new areas of profit. Rethinking productivity and making the changes will work only if you are motivated by a desire to improve the organization and make work life better for those who earn their livings in your company.

Avoid Analysis Paralysis: You want to research how other companies have made changes in productivity workstyles and how they have benefitted and see how those or similar changes can improve your own business. Sure, you need to do some analysis, but don’t let your organization fall into the over-analysis trap. Set a few data points to measure over a short period of time, such as desk occupancy, and use that data to plan changes.

Embrace and Celebrate Change: Business owners and managers must embrace the changes they implement and take time to recognize and celebrate the changes as employees adjust and excel in the work productivity environment. Point out how the changes being deployed can benefit employees and show, by your own actions and attitudes, how you personally embrace and celebrate the new opportunities provided.

We can help. Contact us so we can get you started finding out about creating an Agile Workplace and how it might work for your company.

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