Lately, the world of work is all about flexibility, versatility, agility, and so on. Workspace planning is no different. Many companies are changing their facility configuration to adopt an agile office design.
What is this new trend, and why has it become so popular? This is what we are going to explore with you in this article. While a flexible office adapts to the hybrid work model, the agile workspace adjusts to workers’ needs and, more specifically, to your workforce.
From space optimization and cost efficiency to employee experience and productivity, the outcomes are worth considering this new approach to the physical workplace. Are you willing to learn more and maybe take the steps to have a future-proof office space? Then sit down and enjoy this guide about the modern workplace!
Definition of agile office design
With an agile office design, the office becomes a tool to enhance employee well-being and workflow, which then boosts engagement and productivity. The layout is tailored in a precise way to adapt to workers’ expectations, not only in terms of workspace preferences but also regarding the resources they require. An agile workplace is, therefore, composed of various types of workstations. Each area fulfills a specific need your staff might have and fosters a great on-site experience, collaboration, and productivity.
This focus on creating a work environment based on people’s needs is at the core of this powerful design concept. The space adapts to your employees’ requirements and not the other way around. As we are about to see, configuring your workspace in such a way has many benefits.
Agile workspace examples
Agile office design combines multiple types of workspaces, and their variety depends on your employees’ needs and preferences. Don’t worry, we will share the best practices to create a successful agile office at the end of this article. But for now, here are a few examples of workspaces you can expect to see in this kind of work environment:
collaborative areas for sharing ideas and group projects;
quiet corners for focus work;
hot desks for individual tasks;
meeting rooms for official gatherings;
chilling zones for social interactions;
breakout spaces for brainstorming sessions.
The traditional office is mainly composed of assigned desks and some meeting rooms. Contrarily, the agile workspace is a melting pot of different types of working areas that people can choose from according to their moods, needs and tasks for the day.
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Benefits of creating agile work environments
Office space optimization
In addition to answering your employees’ needs, one of the main purposes of creating an agile workspace is to make the best use of your facilities. Using office analytics, you can determine which areas in your building are the most used and which ones are often unoccupied. Adapting your office space to this key information allows you not only to develop a more practical work environment but also to optimize the space.
Why would you keep 50 single desks if only 20 of them are used on a daily basis? You can rethink your seating arrangements and use the extra room for other activities. Space optimization allows you to create a thriving work environment to boost your team and your business while maximizing costs by using all of your space.
An agile office layout is a cost-effective solution for companies seeking to maximize their workspace. Emphasizing multifunctional areas and shared resources reduces the need for fixed personal workstations, which can lead to a potential office space downsizing. The savings can be significant, considering the high cost of commercial real estate.
Additionally, the flexible nature of an agile environment enables businesses to respond to personnel changes without incurring the costs associated with reorganizing traditional office setups. The elimination of underutilized desks and spaces also translates into lower overhead in terms of energy consumption and office supplies.
Furthermore, the collaborative atmosphere of an agile office can boost employee satisfaction and productivity, leading to indirect cost reductions related to improved retention rates and decreased absenteeism. Overall, an agile office layout minimizes expenses while maintaining a conducive work environment.
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On-site employee experience
The role of the office has changed over the last couple of years and with the rise of flexible work arrangements. People don’t come on-site just to do their jobs like they used to. They tend to work from home for individual tasks and keep office days to focus on collaborative projects and get their social doses.
Moreover, some employees would love to come on-site more often. Yet, the office space doesn’t match their needs. Therefore, they cannot be as productive as they are at home. Many companies also wish to see their team on-site more often but are struggling to make WFO (working from the office) more attractive than WFH (working from home).
With an employee-centric work environment, like an agile office space, people want to come to the workplace more frequently. They are more likely to have a better workplace experience as the office design is tailored to their needs and imagined to make them thrive.
In a flexible work environment, collaboration is what WFO is all about. As we just said, the role of the office has evolved, and people now come on-site to meet their colleagues and work as a team. Therefore, the workspace has to adapt to this shift. A well-thought-out agile office design facilitates workflow, collaboration, and interactions.
With the support of technologies like deskbird, you can boost this aspect of your workplace. Our interactive floor plan, for example, makes it easy for your employees to find their colleagues in the glimpse of an eye. On the same note, our desk and room booking software enables team members to align their schedules so they can collaborate in person whenever they need or want it.
We recommend you read our article about the impact of office layout on productivity. It is impressive how our work environment influences our ability to perform. An agile workspace triggers many of the key aspects that boost employee’s productivity. Creating a layout that focuses on your staff’s preferences and requirements plays a huge role in how they feel on-site. Not only does it affect their mood and well-being, but it also facilitates their work by supporting their needs.
By removing the constraints of a fixed desk, workers can find their most productive setting for each specific activity. It can be brainstorming in a comfortable lounge area or analyzing data in a focus room. Moreover, collaborative spaces encourage knowledge-sharing and spontaneous collaboration, which can lead to innovation and faster problem-solving. Hence, an agile layout is essential to create a responsive and efficient workplace that can significantly boost overall productivity.
Downsides of an agile workspace
Your employees might need a bit of time to adapt and adopt the new office layout. But with your support and the right tools, they will quickly embrace this new setup and see the benefits of it.
Another possible “downside” is that your office might be out of use for a few days or weeks to build this new layout and install everything your staff needs. This means you must plan ahead and get organized during this period, especially when having team members who cannot work from home. But this is temporary.
In conclusion, there can be small challenges while creating an agile office space, but that’s it. Once it’s set and you’ve explained to your staff how to make the most of it and equipped them with the right tools to do so, there are not many disadvantages.
Best practices to adopt an agile office layout successfully
Remember that an agile workspace is unique
One of the most valuable tips to remember is that you shouldn’t try to implement the same office layout as other organizations. The principle of an agile workspace is that it adapts to people. Therefore, it is unique and has to be tailored to your employees. What might work for a company you admire might not work for you. Not only does each job have specific needs, but every team member also has their own requirements. This is why discussing with your workforce and studying your office analytics before making any change is fundamental to creating an agile layout that works.
Check your analytics to create the best workspace configuration
You need to know when and how your team members are currently using the space to be able to optimize it. How often do they usually come to the office? Are they booking more individual desks than meeting rooms? What is their feedback about your facilities and on-site resources? All of these are questions that require reliable and transparent answers. This is how you make your agile layout individualized to your employees, helping them thrive.
Workplace analytics give you clear information about occupancy rates and office use. Looking at these numbers regularly is key to maintaining a setup that enables your workforce to do their job in the best conditions and see positive outcomes for your business. They help you point out issues and adapt accordingly to continue providing your teams with the best work environment and improve their on-site experience.
Team up with the right technology and resources
Digital transformation allows us to improve our ways of working and learn to use new technologies as allies. They are also highly valuable regarding office space management. Flexible workspace management tools help you run and enhance your facilities while enabling employees to make the most of the office space when coming on-site.
For instance, 15 of your team members decide to go to the office on Tuesday to do a full day of focus work, but you only have 12 workstations in your quiet zone. Then, three of them are going to end up frustrated and get settled for the day somewhere they might not be able to concentrate as well. This is why you need office space management software like deskbird.
To deliver the best on-site experience, the must-have workplace technologies include:
a desk booking app;
a room booking software;
an office analytics solution;
a feedback system;
So, are you ready to embrace the perks of an agile office design? We hope this article helps you better understand the purpose of an agile workspace and its benefits for your employees and your business. This type of professional layout is part of the modern practices companies adopt to match the trends of the future of work and offer the most effective working setup for their teams. Do you want to give it a try? We can assist you by providing you with one of the best desk booking software. Request a free demo of the deskbird app and discover all its user-friendly features, including office analytics, desk booking, room booking, and weekly planning!
Paulyne is a hybrid work specialist, who writes about sustainability, flexible work models and employee experience.