An agile athlete is usually able to compete in many sports, not just their preferred focus. Equally, a skilled and nimble musician can find common ground with more than one genre of playing. Within business, agility is important, now more than ever. Work machines and technology are faster and more powerful than previous models, and the work output expectations have grown, as well. Workers, in turn, are adjusting their work locations and schedules to meet the non-traditional approaches many companies are adopting for improving performance and results. Overall, this just adds up to progress, but the rate at which it’s happening has caught many off guard. The agile, on the other hand, are moving their feet and making the plays necessary to continue to compete.
But, what exactly does it mean to be agile in the workplace? Is it physical agility or mental agility? Or a combination of both? It’s a combination of many different methods and techniques, which are designed to give employees more freedom of choice, assuming their levels of productivity and performance still add up. Let’s look at some methods for injecting agility and flexibility into your office settings.
Defining “Spaceless Growth”
There is a concept described as “spaceless growth,” which may be at the heart of agility in the organization. Without adding additional space or people, a business can still grow and expand, just not in physical sizes. The growth comes in the end results. When a company is able to increase their productivity and output, without adding more people or real estate, and without overtaxing their existing workforce, we have “spaceless growth”. And this technique can be valuable for a number of reasons.
- No additional labor or real estate costs are needed
- A more streamlined and effective business model has been developed
- Clients and customers receive greater rewards from partnering with your organization
- You’re able to improve your revenue stream and overall success
- Attraction of newer and larger clients and customers
So, how does a company promote such an idea? As mentioned above, it comes from planning, creativity, and trust in your workforce. Get your people involved and invest in the human capital you already possess.
Trust your People
Consider the “Agile Agenda” – Work is viewed as an activity not a place, focus on performance not presenteeism, create trust based relationships not hierarchies, embrace innovation rather than bureaucracy, and value people more than property.
Encourage your workforce to communicate ideas for improving the workflow and work methods of the company. These people are seeing the real work in action every day. Their insight is critical. Let them experiment with creative ideas and solutions, with the caveat of success maintaining the changes.
Flexibility and Fluidity
”The difference in productivity between happy and unhappy people at work ranges between 10-50% – that is 10% for non-complex repetitive tasks, or up to 40-50% in service and creative industries.” – New Economics Foundation (Nef)
Recent research by CBRE reveals that, while organizations have a 90% space allocation rate, only 49% is actually utilized. To combat these low utilization numbers, many companies are implementing more agile workspaces, offering every employee the space they need. Open floor plans allow for greater collaboration and communication, while traditional desk spaces fulfill the needs of others. Taking flexibility and fluidity a step further, technology now allows for the “office” to have no bounds, with employees working from home, coffee shops, and other satellite locations. For many, the results are staggering, offering an 85% increase in employee engagement.
Punch List Tasks
Contractors operate off of punch lists, when close to the end of the job. This list usually consists of a lot of smaller jobs, which have to be checked off before completion of the project. Consider giving your teams at work smaller or shorter assignments, which can coincide with other teams, to complete a bigger project. By allowing your teams the ability to check tasks off, their confidence and contentment will grow, therefore promoting more quality work time. They will also reduce burnout from grinding away on a project for long periods of time.
When gathering your teams, make sure you’re using the time for a specific purpose, not just to arbitrarily bring people together. Point out important creative design changes, company or individual break-throughs, and champion the ideas of agility and nimble work behaviors. And keep your team on their feet and engaged, with a short time frame for the meetings.
Spaces and Faces
By allowing your employees flexible office designs and a modicum of creative control, you’re signaling to them their worth and your trust in their abilities. Along with varied desk configurations, its important to offer casual spaces for impromptu meetings, offices which may be reserved for more private meetings, common areas for posting ideas or questions, and other interesting floorpan designs which help to shake workers and employers out of traditional office designs. In turn, you shake traditional office stagnation out of your employee and company.
Organize your Space Effectively
When you begin designing or changing floor plans, it’s best to implement a system which can show its own agility in planning, organizing, and modifying floor plans, occupancy numbers, and overall real estate holdings. The idea of agility and spaceless growth for organizational real estate means getting the most or best out of your existing spaces, as well as your workforce, without adding to what you already have.
Spacetrak specializes in creating solutions which deftly handle such tasks. Our strategic facility planning software makes occupancy planning and real estate management a flexible and agile tool, which can be reconfigured as needed, to fit the needs of your business. Let us show you how you can creatively grow your space without growing your space.