Tips on Making Office Space More Agile

According to research made by GetApp, Agile workflows have taken the business world by storm as they’ve helped businesses across create a healthier workplace environment and allowed people across feel happier in their jobs.

With these helpful tips’ companies have seen able to resolve some common business mistakes and created a better office atmosphere for staff:

1.     Hot desking: first come, first served

Most growing businesses quickly run out of desks despite several being left vacant each day because of vacation days, business travel, or remote work policies. Agile workplace design abandons assigned seating for the sake of more efficient hot desking plans whereby employees sit at a different workstation each day.

Employees simply walk in, find an open spot, and get to work, much as they would at a co-working space. This generates benefits such as exposure to a larger cross-section of co-workers and reduces the overall need for office space. Like most elements of the agile workplace, hot desking is enabled by laptops, cloud-based applications, and ultra-fast Wi-Fi.

Consumer goods giant Unilever recently switched to an unassigned desk model to enhance collaboration, reduce office space, and curtail energy use.

2. Common areas, huddle rooms, and quiet zones

Making the most of unused space can help ameliorate common drawbacks of conventional office design. Agile workplaces must include common areas, quiet zones, and huddle rooms.

Common areas

Most businesses have a break room or kitchen, but a common area where one can relax with a laptop is less prevalent. A common area might be a corner with a couple of overstuffed bean bags, a wall of couches, or a bar with barstools. Modular furniture that can be occasionally rearranged is ideal. These areas promote social encounters that bring employees together.

Quiet zones

Quiet zones offer an escape for employees who are easily distracted or just need a place to themselves for a moment. A quiet zone can consist of a completely enclosed space such as a booth, or a partitioned desk similar to the dreaded cubicle; although, as a quiet zone in a busy open office, a cubicle can offer blissful solitude. These small enclaves provide the privacy needed for deep concentration.

Huddle rooms

Huddle rooms are small meeting rooms or spaces suitable for two to four employees. Sometimes outfitted with video conferencing capabilities, huddle rooms work well for spontaneous brainstorming or catch-up meetings. As opposed to large formal conference rooms that must be scheduled well in advance, huddle rooms are informal environments that remain absent from the reservation calendar.

Software advice employees work on modular couches in one of the office's common areas

3. Forget fluorescent, natural light is effervescent

A recent survey indicated that natural lighting and outdoor views are employees’ most wanted office perks. It’s also good for their health; research indicates that employees who work in naturally lit offices show an 84 percent reduction in eye strain, blurred vision, and headaches. Unfortunately, natural light is often reserved only for upper management.

Agile workplace design democratizes natural light and outdoor views by redesigning the floor plan to place common areas near windows whenever possible. Employees are naturally drawn to these areas, making chance encounters and impromptu collaboration more likely. The use of bright wall colors and glass partitions (rather than solid walls as in cubicles) can enhance the natural light in any office, making sure that all employees shine.

4. Remote work enhances the agile workplace

The work week has morphed from a rigid 9-to-5 grind into an outcome-based model that allows employees to get stuff done in coordination with the events of their life. Increasingly, businesses put less emphasis on exactly when or where work gets done, just so long as it gets done.

Remote work policies are very popular with employees. A recent study revealed that the three primary advantages of remote work voiced by employees are increased freedom, flexibility, and productivity.

Remote work is also gaining popularity with employers because of cost savings. According to Gartner, by 2021, the increased number of remote workers will allow organizations to host 40 percent more employees in the same amount of space they use today (report available to clients).

This is because flexible schedules and remote work policies free up desks and allow more efficient use of existing space.

For example, consider an office of 50 employees that offers two shifts:

·         4 days | 10 hours per day | 1 day working remotely

·         5 days | 8 hours per day | 2 days working remotely

Combined with a hot desking model, this scenario could be scheduled so that only 30 out of 50 employees would be in the office on any given day, reducing the need for desks by 40 percent. That means less room needed for desks, more space available for common areas.

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