When considering your office design and space planning, there's much more to it than thinking about how many desks you need to fit in and leaving enough space for expansion. There are philosophical questions to think about, namely how the design of the office is having an effect on the work produced, those who create it and the clients/customers who ultimately receive the finished product.

One such philosophy that has been in vogue in recent years is agile working. But what is it and how may it help your business to reach (and exceed) its aims?

What is ‘agile’ office design and space planning?

The aim behind agile working is simple; to create a workplace that is efficient, effective and responsive, helping to improve business performance, employee happiness and customer approval. Its concept is based upon the belief that work is an activity that should be shaped by the things we do rather than by the location of where we are. This allows the resulting office design and space planning to better suit employees; giving them the ability to control and to take responsibility for their own performance, which will help them to produce a higher quality of work as a result.

Such a design will need to flexible; this is helped greatly by the technologies at our disposal today that moves us away from working quotidian at the same desk and instead, allows us to move around in order to find an environment that may be of better comfort and convenience to what we need to do at a particular time.

Interestingly though, despite the flexible element of agile office design, it’s aims, scope and drivers differ slightly from the other design philosophy known as ‘flexible working’.

The differences between flexible and agile working

Flexible working refers only to a pattern of work that has been specifically designed for an individual that helps them to balance their life at home and work. Despite being helpful in encouraging employees to take control of their life, driving them on and leaving them fully focused when they get into work, it is a method that has been traditionally seen as being a benefit for the employee, rather than the business. Whilst many a company may find that flexible working patterns will be of benefit to them also (a driven, happy employee will normally mean that great work is produced) this employee-led benefit only involves changes to working patterns, times and locations; so it's easy to see why many believe that the business won't necessarily benefit.

The difference with agile working is that it is based on the complete flexibility of work (and the working arena) in order to drive long-term company success. Whilst still offering an employee that ownership of their environment (providing them value in their work) it is driven by the needs of business. This means that when designing their offices, the business can place flexibility at the heart of what they’re trying to achieve; the technology at their disposal playing a major part in this.

How can my business benefit from agile working?

Just some of the many benefits of including agile working in your office design and space planning, include:

  • Given ownership of their working environment, as well as their days, an employee is likely to experience an increase in productivity and efficiency simply because they will be feeling comfortable in their roles.
  • Many a business may be renting office space that isn’t big enough or is actually too big; agile office design may allow for space savings and reduced property costs. For those offices that are too small, agile working frees up space during the day as not everyone who works for the company will be around at the same time. For those with offices that are too large, the extra space can be transformed to serve other uses; for example, creating different working areas (such as quiet rooms, breakout areas etc) that will further allow an employee to take better ownership of their working day.
  • The greatest assets of any business are the employees who work for it. Agile office design and space planning may have an effect on the retention (and acquirement) of talented employees. Nobody wants to work in an environment that doesn’t allow them to express their skills, or feel uncomfortable. Feeling catered for and able to perform at their best, an employee is likely to feel more inclined to stay with a company that provides them with these experiences.
  • Ultimately, meeting the expectations of clients is what keeps the business afloat and continued success will help to propel it across new and bigger bodies of water. All of these benefits mentioned are important cogs in the wheel that turns towards business success; if a talented employee feels like they have ownership of their career, if they feel comfortable and catered for (as well as able to showcase their talents) then they would be more likely to create better work. Better work translates into better products, which translates into a happy client base, which further translates into lots of positive press and a reputation boost for the company. Oh and lots of money too, of course. Therefore, everyone’s a winner!

Improve your office design, with Oaktree Interiors

If you’re looking to take an agile working approach in your office, why not get in touch with the office design and space planning experts here at Oaktree Interiors? For over 30 years we have been helping all manner of business operations to improve the functionalities of their workplace; from new start-ups to multi-national corporations and everything else in between.

Regardless of your requirements, our experience within the industry has taught us that it is simply vital to put in place plans to improve your office interiors now in order to stand the business in a better stead to attract the next generation of talented employees.

To get in touch with us, please do not hesitate to give us a call today on 0345 21 86955 or send an e-mail to us at hello@oaktreeoffice.com

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