27 Apr A question of agility

Agility – the ability to think or act quickly. So why is this a hot trend in the workplace?

Agile is the term being used to describe a new way of working, that is more productive and flexible.

Well, it is if and when the switch to agile working is successful.

On paper, it’s a no-brainer. Fewer desks used more rather than desks left empty while their occupiers are off-site. More collaborative spaces equipped with technology to enable people to work together – including with colleagues in other locations, out in the field or working from home – not only meeting rooms but open spaces where more informal collaboration and project work can take place.

Lots of clever automated technology to reduce energy consumption, powering up equipment only when booked and in use.

More freedom and autonomy for staff. Increased productivity for the business. What’s not to like?

Well, quite a lot actually. ¬†This way of working may be the Millennials’ dream but they are just one of probably five if not more generations working in a typical business.

Hot-desking can be a monster morale buster, seen as robbing people of their own space and their connectedness. Open plan offices leave staff searching for somewhere they can find a bit of peace and quiet and work without distraction.

All that new technology without which you can’t book a room, get into the room you’ve booked or get the AV to work, can be intimidating – overwhelming.

Employee buy-in is vital to successful agile working. It’s not about office design, technology deployment, desk allocation, it’s about business transformation and if you accept that after your real estate, your people are your second biggest expense, then it makes sense to include them.

Inflict change on your employees at your peril. The promised benefits of increased productivity, reduced real estate costs, energy consumption…these are all for nought if you don’t take your people with you.

So what should you do?

# Make sure your people are part of the change

# Understand who it will impact and how

# Consider how you can communicate the change

# Show how it benefits them as individuals

# Ensure they can use the new technology willingly and with confidence

# Make winning their hearts and minds your focus

That’s how agile working can become the successful business transformation you hoped for.