Currently, many organisations are dealing with the fallout of the recent COVID-19 pandemic – trying to adapt to running a business from home, while wondering what the long term effect of this situation will be. Many organisations are adapting well to working from home, and may be debating whether their office is as vital as they once perceived, while others will be struggling.
However, as debilitating as this current situation is for some, it is opening many business owners up to the possibility of incorporating remote working into their current workplace practices – as the cost saving benefits of doing so are becoming more apparent. Ultimately, what we can learn from recent events is that neither solely working from home or in a traditional office is the best way to work, but by adopting a more agile approach to your workplace and culture, you can reduce overall office operating costs, while simultaneously reaping the benefits of a more happy and fulfilled workforce.
Often thought of as a “new way of working”, agile working enables people to work when, where and how they like for their organisation, instead of confining them to the more traditional, 9 to 5 working arrangements. However, agile isn’t limited to where you decide to work – as many often assume it is, and agile working isn’t necessarily just letting your employees work from home, (this fits more under the flexible working umbrella). It’s an entire ideology revolving around the idea that work is an activity, not a place. More organisations are now considering agile working practices as a way to foster better working habits, and meet the requirements of their changing workforce.
However, in order to truly benefit from an agile office, companies have to change their mindset, and adopt a new culture that allows employees to work at maximum efficiency.
Want to learn more about agile working? Check out our guide to setting up Agile Work Zones in 2020.
Adopting an agile approach in your organisation can significantly reduce operating costs both in the short and long term. While you may be practicing an extreme version of agile working currently due to the current circumstances, there are a number of ways you can incorporate agile working into your office once you return.
Once you embrace a more agile workspace, you’ll see immediate cost savings on a number of office essentials, such as:
One of the first savings you’ll see if you have an agile office is on the rental of the property itself. As agile working encourages employees to work where they feel they perform best, they aren’t required to come into the office every day, meaning that less space is needed to accommodate everyone at any given time. When done effectively, agile working can even significantly reduce the amount of space your office needs, making your office more efficient and cost effective.
As less space is required because there are less people in the office every day, there is a reduced need for utilities such as electricity, heating and ventilation. In a smart agile office, you can integrate technology to save money on utilities, by having sensors for lighting, ventilation and heating systems, that means they aren’t being used all the time.
Because agile offices are designed with flexible working in mind, offices require less desk space. Instead, companies tend to implement hot-desking and designated zones for specific activities, as well as separate the office with meeting rooms, board rooms and booths. Each of these agile elements promotes better collaboration and helps employees focus better, as they’re able to move freely around the office. These kinds of offices tend to be more cost-effective in the long term.
Another big advantage of agile working is the amount of resources needed in your office is reduced significantly, because there will be less people needing to use them. You’ll save on everything from cleaning products to toilet paper, and this money can be better utilised elsewhere in your business.
As previously mentioned, there are many cost savings to be had when adopting an agile approach to working in your office. However, there are also other advantages that come with creating an agile office.
Most businesses are currently working from home, meaning that the office space itself is likely to be more valued and appreciated by employees once they eventually return. Adopting a more agile working environment ensures that your business is never disrupted in such a way again, because your employees will already be comfortable with working remotely, and therefore will be more prepared and efficient.
Letting people work where they work best will not only attract and retain quality employees, but you will see higher attendance and productivity from employees who feel comfortable both working in the office and from home.
Shifting from a traditional workspace to an agile environment involves a change in mindset and company culture, where business owners must be willing to listen, respond and adapt to their employees. Once you’re able to do this, you’ll not only significantly reduce your office operating costs, but improve collaboration across your team, strengthen the company identity, and improve the long term health, wellbeing and happiness of your employees.
To learn more about how you can incorporate agile practices into your workplace, download our free guide: Agile Work Zones, where you’ll learn the different elements of an agile office, as well as how to implement them successfully.
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