The Benefits Of Agile Working

Many businesses view agile working as a tool to increase employee productivity and work satisfaction through mutual trust and flexible working practices. Agile working can help companies and employees work more effectively by tailoring work to individual needs.

Creating an agile work environment isn’t without its difficulties though but a wide range of benefits are solidifying agile working’s position as the working practice of the future.

 

Benefits Of Agile Working For Employees And Organisations

If a company is forward-thinking enough to create agile working policies and invest in the right technologies, then there are many clear benefits of agile working, including:

Flexibility

Agile working is difficult to define because it purposely doesn’t follow any specific guidance. Most agile workplaces offer flexibility around the place and time of work. Not only does it allow current employees to have a better work-life balance but a flexible working environment attracts a wider pool of professionals and retains talent. With agile working, companies can grow and develop their most important resource - people!

Happier, more productive employees 

A flexible approach to work opens the door to efficiency and productivity. Research uncovered that agile businesses experienced up to a 20% increase in productivity after introducing agile working.

Everyone’s different. Some people do their best work in the morning while others are busy night owls. The great thing about agile teams is that it allows people to find their own work rhythms – working when they feel they’re at their best. This delivers tangible results for an employee’s happiness.

Recent research for the UK Government revealed that agile working is likely to increase employee wellbeing and productivity. Good employers should read this as positive news and look to embrace the opportunity to foster a thriving and happy workforce.

Higher employee engagement and lower employee turnover 

The CIPD warns that if workplaces don’t offer agile working options such as hybrid and flexible working, they risk increasing employee turnover and reducing employee engagement. It was noted by 64% of fully agile employees that they feel valued by their organisation and a huge 91% admitted that they are recognised for their contributions. Feeling valued, seen and heard increases employee satisfaction and loyalty, contributing to higher engagement levels and lower employee turnover.

A Larger pool of talent to recruit from

Keeping your employees happy and engaged is vital to retain in your organisation. When expanding, offering virtual and flexible work means that you can hire workers from anywhere, whereas before options were limited to just local applicants. With agile working, employees can come from any location and from any time zone!

Smaller carbon footprint 

Businesses must play their part in helping the UK achieve its net-zero carbon targets by 2045. The COP26 climate conference recognised that agile working could help deliver a more environmentally friendly Britain with less need for travel and fewer operating resources needed for offices.

Giving your employees a choice to work from any location at any time means that they don’t need to commute long hours, reducing their carbon footprint. Companies can save on rent by downsizing to smaller office spaces, which also helps them meet their sustainability goals.

Maximising space

Office space is prime real estate, especially if those offices are in the city centre. This is the biggest expense for small to mid-size companies, after employee salaries. Agile working can help businesses to maximise their valued office spaces, allowing employees to work remotely but also introducing other variations of agile working such as hot desking or desk sharing.

Flexibility is the key in agile working environments, and it applies to workers as well as physical offices. It is important to take into consideration individual needs and make arrangements accordingly, to foster a more productive workforce but also use the available space efficiently.

Flexible workspace

When we get together in the office, it should be to foster collaboration, creativity, team building and promote positive company culture. Thus, the office space is not just about the desk and separate departments. A flexible workplace should serve the purpose of bringing your employees together.

Using agile working as a solution, Activity Based Working (ABW) addresses these questions in more detail, acknowledging that different spaces serve different purposes. This means that employees can choose the space that is best suited to their task. For example, an employee may prefer to work on a time-critical project in a silent space but brainstorm ideas in a collaboration space.

More creativity and innovation 

Agile working leads to creation and innovation in several ways. Research suggests that agile working makes us more creative by giving those who are out of the office more thinking space for generating new ideas. Of course, agile working isn’t just about being out of the office. True agile working environments will give employees the option to be able to visit an office that’s equipped with Hybrid Working technology,  facilitating communication and collaboration.

Developing trust, transparency and openness

Most employees respond positively when given the freedom to work how they are most productive. Agile working fosters the idea of transparency and openness, focusing on the outcome and goals rather than rigid processes that may not fit everyone’s style of work. Having ownership of your work can be empowering, further increasing autonomy, leadership skills and self-determination. The positive outcomes for organisations lay within their employee morale and increased worker retention levels.

 

Agile working disadvantages and concerns

Despite all the benefits of Agile Working, it’s not a miracle cure that uplifts your employees and simply increases productivity. Some factors organisations should be aware of whilst implementing agile working practices are:

  • Always on culture: agile working, opening the possibility to work anytime from anywhere and providing the necessary flexibility, means that some workers end up working 24/7. Aviva’s report uncovered that almost half of employees surveyed struggle to switch off from work and the majority of 17–24-year-olds regularly check their emails after working hours. Always on culture exposes the risks of decreased employee physical and mental health. Among those are stress, anxiety and burnout.
  • Work-life balance: remote and work-from-anywhere culture associated with agile working was set to establish a better work-life balance for employees and allow certain freedoms and flexibility not available in a regular 9-to-5 work environment. However, a recent study of agile organisations has revealed that only 3% of agile workers are satisfied with the work-life balance. This stems from the current Always on culture and the lack of procedures and processes implemented in the agile businesses.
  • Digital skills gap: despite rapid digitisation and digital technologies incorporated into our everyday lives, the digital skills gap is still a major issue. It’s estimated that over 11 million people in the UK have very basic digital skills. Implementing agile working practices into workplaces is mostly driven by technology, helping employees to be connected and work efficiently no matter the location. It is vital to take into consideration the digital skill gap, providing equal opportunities to workers that might have been digitally excluded previously.
  • Feeling isolated: without relevant technology or company-wide practices to include agile workers, organisations are risking making their employees feel isolated and not heard. Crucially, remote workers need to feel as in the loop as their office colleagues. This means that employers need to adopt new technologies that allow for engagement and collaboration in meetings where some people are in an office and others are working remotely. The right technology will help people connect and interact and will increase productivity.

 

The good news is organisations are planning to make improvements. According to the CIPD’s Update on Flexible and Hybrid Working Practices, 54% of organisations are planning on making a greater investment in the quality of their technology and 51% of organisations are planning on making a greater investment in the quantity of their technology – all to enable flexible and hybrid working practices that are at the root of agile working.

 

To discover the role of technology in agile working, read our blog The Importance Of Technology To Drive Agile Working.

 

Are you thinking about investing in technology for agile working? We’ve created an Agile Working configurator to help you select the right AV technology for your meeting rooms and workspaces.  

Agile Working Portal