The way the modern world is shaping up is also deciding the way we work. Many organisations have come to realise the importance of, and the need for, flexibility in the workplace. Employers who allow their people to choose how they work are seeing the immense benefits this approach has on the individual as well as on the organisation as a whole.
Two such increasingly popular ways are Agile Working and Activity Based Working. Despite the two being different, they are often mistaken to be one, or people use the terms interchangeably. So, what are the two and how are they different from each other?
Understanding Agile Working
This approach gives employees maximum flexibility in choosing how they want to work. Employees are free to work from home, or from office, or figure out a combination of both. At work too, employees can choose whether they want to work from their fixed desk, or want to shift to a standing desk or work from a non-traditional space, such as the common breakout area.
The idea is to embrace openness and flexibility. Also called ‘smart working’, this allows employees to make the most of smart technology and cloud-based applications. By adopting this autonomous work culture, companies can attract and retain the best talent.
-Greater sense of autonomy and freedom for employees
-Job satisfaction, leading to better engagement and talent retention
-Overall reduction in operating costs
-Calls for a major culture shift for both, employees and management
-Can’t be applied selectively. The entire business needs to buy into the concept
-Requires smart technology and supporting IT infrastructure
Understanding Activity Based Working
Like Agile Working, Activity Based Working also focuses on giving employees the freedom to choose how they work. However, that’s where the similarity ends.
Where Agile Working is about the contribution of an individual employee, Activity Based Working takes into consideration teamwork and group culture. Here a lot of importance is given to changing workplace culture and design to suit team connections and to foster collaboration.
This approach works best around an open-plan office, with a healthy mix of quiet corners, collaboration booths, meeting rooms as well as huddle spaces. Businesses that have adopted the Activity Based Working approach notice improved levels of productivity as individuals can choose to work in workspaces that are best suited to the task at hand.
-This offers employees a choice of different workspaces
-There is greater autonomy for employees which gives them a chance to perform at their best
-Employees are more engaged and there is definite improvement in productivity
-Does not work with every type of industry or job role
-Requires a major shift in office work culture and management techniques
-Could entail physical re-structuring of workspaces
Both, Agile Working and Activity Based Working will give your business a competitive advantage. It is simply a matter of understanding which approach works best, or whether a combination gives your employees a chance to perform at the peak of their potential.