At Blue Jelly we are committed to promoting positive work environments. The type of places where people want to work – where they feel welcomed, comfortable, inspired and motivated.
We believe there are 12 key factors which are crucial for creating what we call a Positive Workplace. Throughout this year, we are going to explore each one in a bit more depth, starting with agile working.
The way we work has changed significantly during the past decade. Rapid technological changes mean that it is no longer necessary for employees to sit in the same spot all day, day after day. Portable technology, including smartphones and tablets, combined with Wi-Fi, has ensured that now pretty much any part of the office building can become a place of work.
The term ‘agile working’ can sometimes trigger images of offices full of pool tables and slides and furnished with bean bags. Some people may also see it as another term for hot-desking but actually it is about much more than that. Agile working is about embracing technology to create workplaces which allow employees to make choices about how, where and when they work.
Offices which truly encourage agile working may include work benches for idea sharing and informal meetings; soft-seating for brainstorming sessions; social spaces for when inspiration is needed and focus rooms or quiet zones for those times when we just need to get our heads down and escape the distracting conversations of our colleagues who, at times, seem to have no volume control.
There is also likely to be ‘touchdown points’ for those members of the team who mainly work in the field but may need to spend a few hours in the office. Rather than doing a 9-5 day at the same desk, an employee may work a flexible day which starts on one of the work benches, then moves to one of the social spaces for some informal meetings, before completing their activity in a quiet area. The modern worker is unlikely to spend a whole day in one part of the office let alone spend day after day tethered to their desk.
Not only do agile work workplaces help foster collaboration, innovation and creativity but they also empower employees to find a space where they can work to the best of their ability. That breeds trust, which in turn can help motivate, inspire and boost productivity.
Adopting an agile working approach enables companies to optimise their buildings. It has been reported in the past that as much as 60 per cent of traditional office space is under used on a typical working day and many of us will have worked in offices where we have been surrounded by rows of empty desks.
Now, through agile working, you can dramatically reduce the amount of desks but still have the same number of employees. There is also the added benefit of ending the traditional territorial arguments about a particular desk or chair.
Agile working also helps organisations attract and retain the best employees. By 2025 it is estimated that three out of four employees will be millennials – a whole generation that has grown up being mobile and communicating on the move.
And millennials have high expectations of their working environments, fuelled by media stories of the hipster offices of Silicon Valley. They may not want the novelty pool tables and other distractions we mentioned earlier, but they do want a working environment which enables them to thrive.
Blue Jelly worked with BRC to create a workplace which allowed 80% of the team to work within an Agile environment. Click here to read the full BRC case study.