We're getting Agile
Since attending the Workplace Week tour of Asda House on 9th November, we have been chewing over the new-to-us phrase; “Agile Working”. It came up a lot during the day, and has given us plenty of food for thought but first, here’s the background:
Advanced Workplace Associates completed an independent audit at Asda in Leeds over 18 months ago. They found that a large percentage of desks were empty at any given time, signifying mass inefficiencies and wasted capital. As a result, Asda are exploring agile working practices and are about to run a test in selected areas incorporating bench-system desks with remote lockers for personal effects, removing personal pedestals and adopting a clean desk policy. This could mean that future employees may not “own” their chair or desk, but will instead have more flexible meeting space, be encouraged to work more creatively and collaborate, and are less tempted to hoard! More importantly it should result in less wasted space, fewer unoccupied desks, and a more flexible workforce.
I know we’re all familiar with the concept of flexible working, be it working from home, or coming into the office a bit later. But agile working is about more than just working in a different location or at a different time. It’s about doing work differently. As a concept devised by the Japanese car manufacturer Toyota to get production lines moving faster, it embraces the principles of collaboration, flexibility, removing hierarchy, and creativity.
This all sounds very nice, but what’s the point? Well, as the Agile Organisation states:
“the goal of agile working is to create more responsive, efficient and effective organisations based on more balanced, motivated, innovative and productive teams and individuals”
and as we know, productivity is the key to a successful business. Agility improves performance, which in turn improves the bottom line. What’s not to like?