An agile workplace is a fluid working environment where work is done wherever, whenever, and however necessary, by matching technology and flexibility to employee needs. For example, remote work, long seen as an employment perk, is becoming the norm, and is often expected, where feasible, in certain lines of work. Flexible work schedules also empower employees to maximize productivity by allowing them to work at the most productive times of the day or night. Implementing agile workplace initiatives is no longer simply a “nice idea” or an employment perk – it’s a necessary step towards maintaining a vibrant company culture, and companies slow to adapt will quickly find themselves falling behind the curve.
As technology integrates into every aspect of the workplace, employees have to respond to tasks faster and act continuously. As the traditional 9-5 work schedule breaks down, employee hours become more erratic and are spent between the work “home base”, from their own home, or on the move. Creating an agile workspace is necessary to adapt to the changing norms of work life. Providing an aesthetically pleasing and efficient work environment should not be neglected. Providing gym plans, meals and mobile technology that helps facilitate employees to operate in a continuous workspace are all effective ways to sustain a healthy company culture.
Harvard Business Review’s Jeff Gothelf says all organizations are becoming “software companies,” regardless of the of products or services they sell.
“As our companies turn into highly-focused software organizations, we must change the way we manage them,” he said. “A continuous learning environment fueled by round-the-clock customer insight and feedback demands teams, environments, decision-making structures, and funding models that exhibit the true meaning of the word agility—resilience, responsiveness, and learning”.
If an employee knows that he or she can be most productive from the quiet confines of his or her home, making this option available to him or her not only makes for a happier person – it makes for a more effective employee. While not all agile work options are viable for certain workforces, giving an employee more flexibility where possible usually results in a win-win for both parties. During a nine-month study conducted by Stanford University, researchers discovered that employees who had flexible work schedules were able to achieve more, took less sick days, worked longer hours and were happier in their work.
To stay relevant today, companies need to live up to the true meaning of “agility” and center on learning, responsiveness, and resilience. They’ll find that if this is the focus, employees become more engaged and happier in the work they are doing, and a vibrant, productive company culture will naturally flourish.