The importance of an agile work place

20th September 2018

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Work can be done anywhere. Both the accessibility and connectivity of technology has made this possible and thanks to these new possibilities, your place of work can have a profound impact on your desire to work with a company, and level of pride and honour for working with them.

Where one would work did not hold high priority in the job search process, now, the modern candidate is far less reluctant and quick to say yes to an offer. Today’s digital worker has boxes to tick off and where a company works and how they work are two important factors modern companies need to be attentive to.

This monumental shift has seen things like ‘office culture’ and ‘flexible working’ as critical selling points in the recruitment process to wow the best and brightest talent out there. As the search for the best talent out there intensifies, companies need to be agile in their approach to hiring, and how an employee works within their organisation.

Employee Engagement is of grave importance to companies today, and there is a shared understanding amongst employers about their work environment’s impact on job satisfaction and well-being for employees. A company’s work place is its identity and is a big part of their brand make-up. Creating a buzz and exciting vibe within a workplace can ensure a company is highly sought after and can build aspiration amongst prospective employees to be part of their story. But get it wrong and a company will struggle to attract and retain the best and brightest people, and they’re likely to go elsewhere.

So what is today’s workplace looking like? And how exactly is it operating in a way that meets employees’ satisfaction but doesn’t sacrifice a company’s productivity? Balance is of course important and there is no one size fits all solution.

Open plan work spaces that cater for hot-desking are fast becoming the new normal. Gone are the tired and confined call centre inspired offices. Their rigid and immobile layouts have become a killer for creativity, and the open plan approach now embraces a culture of collaboration. Balance is key with these types of spaces, and an office should grow as a company does, but should not lose sight of the goal of their office space – to get work done. Where open plan and numerous break-out areas are on trend – losing itself in the “cool” factor can be counter-productive with some office spaces not being fit for meetings, and even becoming disturbing for more traditional employees.

Work to live may be a common phrase coined through the ages, but now we’re witnessing the “work to experience” movement in work forces. With hot-desking now the norm for 10% of businesses today, there is a continual push by companies to see how they can google-fy their work environment.  This need for experience is driven by a millennial workers’ generation who have become more demanding in their pursuit for inspiration; bidding farewell to the “one company corporate climb” route. Not only has the millennial generation influenced work-space aesthetically, but their desire for greater purpose and flexibility in their working lives has transformed how companies work today.

The common 9 to 5 is slowly eradicating and the way we work and measure it is finding life outside this stringently structured workday. Companies have realised, or at least beginning to realise the difficulty in enforcing the 9 to 5 in stark black and white terms upon their entire workforce. With modern workers valuing the need for a better work-life balance, companies are welcoming the need for flexible working to help them achieve that balance for their employees.

Flexible working has been embraced in varying ways by companies today. But, particularly in the UK there is still some way for it to be widely welcomed by all employers with just 37% of companies having at least ½ of their staff work flexibly at some point, 30% having fewer than a ¼ of their staff work flexibly, and 10% not offering flexible working at all.

Productivity and positive work-life balance are strong arguments for adopting flexible working practises, with employees reporting better efficiency working remotely at times without the disturbance and distractions that can come with an office. And of course, with employee engagement and retention such an important priority for companies today – the perks of remote working are something work-forces are happy to embrace in order to stay agile and keep employee morale high.

The disturbing statistic that 10% of UK companies not offering flexible working will in time change. For some companies the practicality of offering remote working is not always enticing, but it will soon be the norm. Concerns still do remain over remote working, not for lack of trust, but more for lack of overall functioning across a team. Some UK companies believed that remote working discouraged collaboration and felt personal relationships couldn’t be built, furthermore citing a “lack of water cooler moments”.

This isn’t to suggest that remote working doesn’t have a bigger future in the UK work-place. The key to its success will undoubtedly be about striking the right balance between a remote work force and a centralised office, as more companies will have to consider adopting practises that are more agile, cost effective and productive. And this without doubt will be reflected in the work place of tomorrow.

Research and statistics provided by work report “The Modern Workplace – People, Places & Technology” by Condeco Software

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