Agile working is currently a hot topic and for good reason. With claims that over 90% of our time is being spent indoors, in offices, we need to get creative. If 90% of the costs involved relate to people based overheads, designers need to ensure they have the optimum environment in which people can be more productive. One way to ensure optimum staff performance is through agile working.
Agile working is a way of working in which an organisation empowers its people to work where, when and how they choose – with maximum flexibility and minimum constraints. It’s about creating multiple settings in the working environment for the different ways in which we work. This way of working should optimise their performance and deliver a more productive working environment. It helps to foster new ideas and encourages communication across different departments.
Whilst the benefits of encouraging collaborative working is clear, there is also the need to provide quiet spaces. When designing the layout of an office, it’s imperative to get the balance right between the collaborative and open agile spaces with more enclosed quieter areas. Glazed office partitioning enables a design team to create a layout that provides privacy without compromising an agile working agenda. The use of glass partitioning which offers exceptional acoustic performance gives the designer the tool to create secure areas which can be used for sensitive or confidential discussions.
Furthermore, full height glazed partitions can be also be used to create small booths or informal meeting rooms. There are also opportunities to create informal gathering spaces where an agile workforce can meet, socialise and collaborate. If there are changes to a business, the agile workspace can accommodate this, which in turn reduces the cost implications for alterations.
Of course while design plays a big part in the agile work environment, well integrated and reliable technology which supports mobility and interactivity is also an intrinsic element. It’s possible to work anywhere with the right technology, so in the agile workplace fixed technology is a thing of the past.
The world is getting smaller and people are more agile in the way they work, live and communicate. This needs to be reflected in the modern 21st century office. Research carried out by Mitie found that by 2020 more than 70 percent of UK offices will be agile workplaces.
Whilst all this agility has potential to reap dividends in the workplace, there is still a way to go. There are currently some stunning examples where forward thinking designers have created truly agile working environments. First impressions are extremely positive – barriers are coming down, communication is improving and we’re becoming more agile with it.