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How to Create an Agile Workplace

If you want your workplace to stand the test of time, you need to know how to create an agile workplace that can adapt to change. Here's what you need to do.
Reem Abouemera
Copy Writer / Content writer

Gone are the days when the only way to succeed in business was to have a static, well-defined workplace. In today's ever-changing landscape, businesses have to be agile to survive.

An agile workplace is one that can adapt to change quickly and efficiently. It's a work environment that encourages creativity, collaboration, and flexibility by empowering employees with the freedom to work in different areas of an office when and how they choose.

So, how do you create an agile workplace? That's what we're going to explore in this article.

The 3 Key Success Factors of an Agile Workplace

Before getting into the actual implementation of an agile workplace environment, it's important to understand what factors would make it successful. After all, there's no point in creating a workplace that isn't going to work well for your business. Here are the key success factors of an agile workplace.

Flexible Spaces

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For a workplace to be truly agile, it needs to have flexible spaces. This means having a mix of quiet, private, and collaborative spaces. This type of workplace is also known as an activity-based working (ABW) environment. Different types of spaces include:

  • Open Spaces: These are areas where employees can work together on projects or simply socialize, like a lounge area.
  • Quiet Zones: These are areas where employees can go to focus on individual tasks without distractions, such as a library or a private office.
  • Breakout Spaces/Soft Seating Spaces: These are areas where employees can take a break from work and relax, such as a game room, mini-golf, or pool table.
  • Touchdown Spaces: These are areas where employees can set up their laptops and work on tasks for a short time.
  • Standing Desks: These desks allow employees to stand while they work. This is a great way to promote movement and avoid long periods of sitting.
  • Meeting Rooms: These are rooms where employees can hold meetings or make presentations.

By having a combination of these different types of spaces, you can create an agile workplace environment that's flexible and adaptable to the needs of your employees.

Flexible Policies

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In addition to having flexible spaces, it's also essential to have flexible policies in place so your future-ready workplace can truly be effective. Some examples of flexible policies include:

  • Remote Work Policy: This policy allows employees to work from home or another location outside of the office as needed.
  • Flexible Hours Policy: This policy allows employees to set their own hours and work when it's most convenient for them.
  • Hybrid Schedule Policy: This policy allows employees to work a mix of days in the office and days from home so that they can have the best of both worlds.
  • Team Manager Decides Days Policy: This policy gives team managers the freedom to decide when and how often their team members work from home or in the office, in alignment with the team's goals and objectives.

While these are the most common policies, there are many other types of flexible policies that you can implement in your workplace. The important thing is to find what works best for your business and your employees.

Agile Workplace Technology

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Finally, for both flexible spaces and flexible policies to work, they need to be supported by agile workplace technology. If not, the results will be a lot less than desired.

Some examples of agile workplace technology include:

  • Communication and Project Management Tools: These tools help employees communicate and collaborate on projects, no matter where they are. They include software like Slack, Zoom, Google Docs, and Trello, among many others.
  • Mobile Apps: These apps make it easy for employees to reserve workspaces or meeting rooms, coordinate availability with their colleagues, and get work done while on the go. They include apps like Tribeloo, Microsoft Teams, Cisco Webex Meetings, and Google Hangouts.
  • Cloud-Based Software: This type of software allows employees to access their work from anywhere, at any time. Think of software like Office 365, Salesforce, Dropbox, Google Drive, and so on.

When you have technology in place to support your agile workplace design, you'll find that both your employees and your business will be more productive and successful since the business operations will be more streamlined.

How to Implement an Agile Workplace

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Now that we've covered what an agile workplace is and covered the essential elements of one, it's time to talk about how you can implement an agile workplace design in your business. Here's what you need to do.

1. Expect Some Resistance

When you first introduce the concept of an agile workplace to your employees, you'll likely get some resistance. This is because people are creatures of habit, and they're used to working in a certain way. As a result, change can be difficult, even if it's for the better.

Accordingly, change management is important in successfully implementing an agile workplace. You need to be open and honest with your employees about the changes and why they're happening. The faster you get everyone on board, the better.

2. Ask for Employee Feedback

When you're making changes to the workplace, it's important to get feedback and input from employees. After all, they're the ones who are going to be using the space, and they know what would work best for them.

Facility managers should reach out to employees and ask for their input on furniture, layout, and technology. This way, you can be sure that the changes you're making are actually going to improve the workplace and make employees more productive.

3. Recruit Champions

In any organization, there are always going to be employees who are more resistant to change than others. To help overcome this resistance, it's important to have champions who can support the transition and motivate other employees.

These champions can be from any level of the organization. The important thing is that they're passionate about the changes, and they're willing to help others see the benefits.

4. Start Small

When implementing an agile workplace design, it's important to start small and gradual. Making too many changes at once will likely overwhelm employees and make them less productive.

Instead, start with a few small changes and then build on those as employees get more comfortable with the new workplace. You can always add more changes later if needed.

5. Test New Concepts (A/B Testing)

When making workplace changes, it's best to test new concepts before rolling them out to the entire organization. This is especially true for things like furniture and layout.

You can test new concepts by doing small A/B tests. For example, you can try out a new layout in one office area and see how employees respond. If it's successful, you can then roll it out to the rest of the office.

Once you've found something that works well, go ahead and scale it up.

6. Develop a Cross-Functional Team

In the first stages of your agile workplace environment implementation, having a team in place that can help with the transition is of significant importance. This team should be cross-functional, including representatives from different departments like Facilities, HR, and IT.

Developing a cross-functional team will ensure that everyone is on the same page and that the changes are being made in a coordinated way.

7. Don't Forget About Storage

A common mistake businesses make when implementing an agile workplace design is forgetting about storage. Since agile workplaces are typically more open and collaborative, there's less space for things like filing cabinets and storage closets.

To solve this, you need to provide adequate storage for employees, typically in the form of electronic lockers that they can access with their badge or keycard.

8. Make Coordination Easy

In an agile workplace, it's important to make coordination easy. This means having the right tools and technologies in place so that employees can easily find and book meeting rooms, reserve workspace, and even know who's in the office at any given time.

You can use several different tools to make coordination easy, such as room booking software, space management software, and even badge systems that track employee whereabouts.

9. Leverage Data to Drive Decisions

When you're making changes to the workplace, it's important to leverage data to drive your decisions. This data can come from various sources, such as employee feedback surveys, space utilization studies, and even A/B tests.

Using data will help you make informed decisions about things like furniture, layout, and technology. For instance, you'll be able to get a clear picture of which spaces are in high demand and which ones are underutilized.

Then, you can use this data to make changes that maximize efficiency and productivity.

10. Find the Perfect Balance of Flexible Spaces

As mentioned earlier, one of the key benefits of an agile workplace is that it's more flexible. This flexibility comes from having a mix of different types of spaces, such as private offices, open desks, meeting rooms, and breakout areas.

However, no two businesses are the same, so it's important to find the right mix of flexible spaces for your organization. The best way to do this is to start with a small number of different types of spaces and then gradually add more as needed. 

Figure out what works best for your employees and then scale accordingly.

11. Design Neighborhoods That Meet Employee Needs

When designing an agile workplace, it's important to design neighborhoods that meet the needs of employee groups with special requirements.

For instance, you might want a quiet area for employees who need to focus on tasks that require concentration (like R&D). Or you might want a more collaborative area for employees who need to work on projects together (like sales).

While you can have both, it's essential that you design these neighborhoods with caution regarding proxemics so that you don't end up with two areas that are too close together yet don't share the same purpose (like putting the sales team next to the R&D department).

Ready to Implement an Agile Workplace?

Creating an agile workplace can be challenging, but it's worth undertaking. By making the switch to an agile workplace, you'll be able to boost employee productivity, creativity, and satisfaction.

Not to mention, you'll be creating a future-ready workplace while simultaneously reducing your overhead costs significantly.

If you're ready to implement an agile workplace, be sure to follow the tips and advice outlined in this article. And if you need help, we at Tribeloo can help get you started


Reem Abouemera

As a content writer who has tried it all when it comes to working models– from the traditional 9-5 in an office to fully working remotely and everything in between. Reem now puts her experience with the various working style into words at Tribeloo, ultimately helping others make more informed decisions about their own work lives.

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