April 20, 2021
April 20, 2021
You have probably heard of the term Agile. And if you are in the project management or development industry the word probably means more to you than simply the ability to move quickly.
Agile methodology has gained popularity over the years and chances are that you stumbling onto this article is because your organization also implements some form of the methodology.
However, following the agile methodology is not simply how you work but also where you work and which environment you work in.
We are referring to the agile work environment which coincidently is something that is not just adopted by teams following the agile methodology.
So, if you are wondering about the agile work environment, what it is, how it can help you and your team, and whether you should consider implementing it you have come to the right place.
Here is everything you need to know about the agile work environment.
Let’s start off by defining what is an Agile work environment.
Simply put, an Agile work environment is aimed at optimizing space and providing flexibility to employees to be able to adequately accommodate their changing demands.
This environment mirrors the needs and requirements of the Agile methodology and lets you and your team cater your physical space in accordance with practices that work towards your organization’s goals and the company’s culture.
This often means doing away with the assigned seating model that is typical for an office setup and moving into a non-assigned seating model plan.
By using an Agile workspace rather than the usual typical office style layout, companies better utilize available space by optimizing the utilization of workspace available. We will discuss the benefits of adopting such an environment in detail below.
The Agile Environment is structured in such a way that it gives way for employees and leaders to create a culture where customer interaction and satisfaction come first. The environment supports transparency, collaboration, and openness.
Essentially, such an environment is seen to focus predominately on employees and their performance rather than being too concerned with where they are working.
Before we move on to more details about the Agile work environment, just in case you need it here is a reminder of what Agile is.
Agile is a type of project management methodology. This methodology takes an iterative approach to project management breaking up the project lifecycle into smaller chunks or sprints.
The aim is to deliver work in small increments while focusing on delivering value to customers.
Here are the 12 Agile principles that can help you and your team implement and execute the agile methodology:
When adopting such a flexible environment in your office or workspace there are multiple benefits that you can gain.
These benefits are not just for the employer, but there are also ways that employees can gain advantages from the change in physical structure.
Here are some of the benefits you can gain from such an environment as an employer:
Flexibility is now what many employees seek. The times of simply ‘work work work’ is over and individuals are now seeking work-life balance.
Offering flexibility in working caters to this need of prioritizing not just work but things outside of someone’s job description.
By giving employees this flexibility and leeway allow them to feel valued and in turn, they appreciate the organization more and feel a sense of ownership. They also are less likely to take sick days in return.
Moreover, flexible working options in an organization are a great benefit and encourage talent to choose to work for your company thus improving talent acquisition.
Other features of such an environment often include recreational areas, comfortable furniture, and collaborative areas which just might be the tipping point in favor of your company for new talent.
If as an employer you provide the flexibility to work from home or other locations you will, as a result, require the need for less office space.
Not only will you save money on office space but also office equipment and supplies.
Moreover, the flexibility that such an agile environment allows is that you are not tied down to hire employees from the area your office is located in.
This in turn gives you a wider talent pool providing more resources with varying experience but also the option to hire from areas where salaries are lower.
If you do not have employees working remotely or telecommuting you can still cost savings with this type of environment due to better space utilization.
This is because your agile space will not have any dead space as space will be flexibly used and converted according to what the needs of your employees are.
Here are some of the benefits that your employees can gain:
An environment following the agile methodology follows the principles we mentioned above. Consider principle 6 which highlights the importance of face-to-face communication. You also have the agile concepts one of which states that interactions and individuals are more important.
Without strict seating and more shared spaces and flexibility, you can encourage team collaboration and interactions.
You are also putting the needs of employees first by offering them a way to utilize space that suits their needs.
Collaboration also provides a culture where better ideas are formed and generated.
By being provided an environment that leads to focusing on work quality and productivity rather than just numbers gives employees greater job satisfaction.
The flexibility ensures that employees can follow best practices and utilize spaces in a manner that works for them since not all individuals work the same.
Knowing they are doing their best work in the best environment offers comfort and job satisfaction.
There are certain common benefits that both you as a leader or employer and your team or employees can gain:
Having a more flexible and less stringent work environment allows employees to be more engaged. As does a space that is catered to collaboration and a team working together.
You can in this way improve your team’s creativity and problem-solving and nurture innovation with improved collaboration.
Check out these remote collaboration tools:
An environment catered towards your employees helps them work better and produce valuable work.
Over time you will find that your team is producing better work and there is improved productivity.
Increased productivity is great for both the organization and the individual. Individuals feel their work is adding value and feel more engaged while the organization gains quality work and better outcomes.
When incorporating an agile work environment into your office you are predominately creating a load of smaller, flexible workspaces.
How you choose to create these workspaces or structure your more flexible office is entirely up to you, your organization, and what will work for your team.
No two flexible workspaces or offices look or function the same. The main aim is to create diversity in the space available and create areas where workers can benefit.
Spaces while may vary they have the same objective, which is to account for the needs of employees and their expectations.
There are different types of agile workspace types including things such as open-plan spaces, quiet work zones, breakout meeting spaces, and so on.
Now that you know why you should implement an agile work environment and all the things you, your team, and your organization can gain from the flexibility agile workspaces offer, here is how you can get around to doing so.
The first thing to remember is that any sort of change takes time to implement. During the implementation phase, expect resistance; it’s a naturally occurring element.
Such changes cannot occur overnight and having expectations to accomplish them as so is just setting you up for failure.
You may find that implementing these changes is met with some resistance from your team members and employees.
This resistance could be due to several reasons, one of which is simply what we mentioned above which is the human nature of fearing change.
Alternatively, employees may feel comfortable in their assigned space and fear losing connection with their desk neighbors that they have come to befriend and become comfortable with.
Managers may fear that it will be harder to gain accountability or team members may fear losing face time with managers.
In light of this resistance, the implementation of such work environments needs to be approached carefully.
There are certain things that you can try including ensuring open communication. This should come right from the start. That is to say that you should be open with employees about the change that is coming. Include them in what they will be gaining and why your organization is considering the change.
Being included in the process of the change helps many individuals accept it and be more willing to try it out.
Another tip is to start small. It is better to make the transition over time rather than bombard employees with a completely new way of working all at once. Make small changes and keep adopting them until you reach your agile work environment.
Another thing to consider is ensuring that you still provide employees with the facilities that they need. It is all well and good to want to make a change towards an agile workspace but if employees find it difficult and don’t have access to their resources it could be more detrimental than good.
Ensure each employee can easily access the tools they need no matter where they are working, as well as reach people and find places with ease.
Another tip to consider when implementing an agile work environment is considering what changes you will be adding physically. You can approach this by considering different workspaces or zones.
Here are some such workspaces or zones to consider:
You need to incorporate collaboration spaces. These spaces could be designed however you want and don’t have to follow typical meeting room formats.
Ensure they are however available for use by your entire staff. Having some sort of shield for these areas is also beneficial. Such spaces should ideally take up around 30% of your office space.
And there you have it! That is everything you need to know about implementing an agile work environment as well as why you should consider doing so in the first place.
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