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Does agile working matter?
Many people, over a certain age, are so used to the Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm routine, and having to fit their lives around this restrictive model, that they haven’t questioned its effectiveness. Even Dolly Parton’s famous song hinted that “Workin’ 9-5” keeps you from living your dreams.
In contrast, over 90% of millennials demand the freedom and autonomy to work when and where to suit the lifestyle they want to achieve stating that flexibility is their top priority when searching for a job
So, to answer the question at the top of the blog. Yes, agile working does matter and it’s a trend that is set to reshape businesses this decade. Organisations who fail to keep up with this unstoppable trend could end up falling behind the competition.
The difference between flexible and agile working
To fully embrace the concept of agile working, it’s important to understand the difference between flexible working and agile working and how the two work side by side.
To enable employees to address their work/life balance, they must to able to work flexibly whilst meeting the needs of the organisation. Offering flexible working is crucial to create an inclusive and diverse workforce and is achievable with today’s technology.
Agile working makes flexible working possible from a variety of locations, reinventing the boundaries of an organisation. It focuses on the ‘how’ as well as the ‘where’ and ‘when’. Employees can work from home, coffee shops, or even their local park if that’s where they feel more creative and productive. It is the commitment of an organisation to put in place processes and technology to strengthen this new outcome-centred working pattern.
The agile organisation
The principle of flexible working supports employees in their work/life balance by way of allowing, within reason, a choice of working hours. But agile working takes this support a step further.
Agile working fully supports those who work remotely, it is no longer a case of ‘out of sight, out of mind’. The duty of care goes much further than simply providing a laptop and a Citrix keyfob, it takes into consideration health & safety and wellbeing.
Companies who are successfully managing agile workforces are developing roles to fit this model, creating ways to maximise physical and digital collaboration and offering practical working solutions enabling the employee to work in a place best suited to their circumstances.
It’s also good practice to encourage employees to work in co-working spaces designed to allow individuals to focus on their work as well as collaborating with others. These technology-enabled social hubs have been proven to foster innovation, boost productivity, improve wellbeing and help build a strong support network.
Benefits of agile working
During the 2020s we’ll see more and more employees step away from the physical office building as the benefits of agile working become more apparent. It creates a positive employee experience, where workforces have more freedom, more empowerment and remain feeling connected to work no matter their location.
Agile working doesn’t just benefit the employee, the organisation benefits too:
Tools for agile working
To allow employees to work flexibly, they will need to be equipped with hotdesking opportunities, laptops, mobile devices and wireless connectivity.
Agile working requires a wider strategy. It needs to put in place the infrastructure, technology and tools to encourages collaboration, such as:
Watch out for the rise of Wayfinding technology too. This tool helps employees find a space to work, locate colleagues and even navigate their way around an unfamiliar co-working space.
Implementing an agile working strategy
The main challenge most companies face is having to strike the perfect balance between their needs and those of their employees. Here’s some tips on how to implement a successful agile working strategy that works for everyone:
Investing in your people by creating an agile working strategy that works for them will result in a happy, engaged and productive workforce.
We’re Here To Help
If you require HR support to create an agile working strategy, please get in touch with our team of HR professionals on 0161 941 2426.
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