What is Agile Working?
Agile Working is a way of working in which an organization empowers its people to work where, when, and how they choose – with maximum flexibility and minimum constraints – in order to optimize their performance and do their best work.
How can we apply this to the physical workspace?
Agile working makes sure to combine efficient use of space with collaborative working and the need to recognize concentration and contemplation. Through agile working principles, you can create and allocate space and furniture according to the tasks to be performed rather than status and rank. All of this can be achieved without the headache of an office relocation.
Elements of an agile working environment:
- Open Plan
Open plan areas are essential: The advantages are – it offers good communication for project teams, is ideal for admin workers and any staff performing intensive computer-based work. Advantages: Gives a high density of workers per sq. ft., which is very space-efficient.
Disadvantages: Open plan can be noisy and distracting for persons performing focused work and there is little privacy for confidential work or sensitive conversations.
Breakout areas are multi-purpose spaces. They can be used for informal ad-hoc meetings, for eating, for relaxation, and are ideal for brainstorming sessions.
Advantages: Provides instant-access meeting facilities for project teams.
Disadvantages: Can be noisy and not ideal meeting spaces if rules are not put in place.
- Quiet Zones
Quiet Zones are an essential part of Agile Working. They provide areas where any worker can get privacy and quiet to perform work that is confidential or that requires focus and concentration. If designed carefully they can also provide small confidential meeting spaces.
Advantages: Provide on-demand quiet space for anyone in the team, ideally should be close to open plan work areas.
Disadvantages: Are relatively expensive to provide.
Touchdown Areas provide overflow work space to accommodate workers who may visit the office less frequently. They are ideal for short duration tasks like catching up with emails or doing a quick task between meetings. They are often incorporated with breakout areas.
Advantages: Provide flexible work areas to allow for swings in occupancy level. Ideally should be close to communal meeting rooms or breakout spaces.
Disadvantages: Are typically smaller than standard work stations and not ideal for periods of sustained work.
Resources and storage are vital cogs in the wheel. They want to be close to team work areas but screened to reduce noise intrusion. Facilities that need to be allowed for include copiers and printers, recycling stations, stationary storage and team filing.
Images originally shared by Spectrum Workplace.