In many corners of the business world, “agile” has become more a buzzword than a principle to live by. But when you strip the fads and jargon out, the concept is one that can help a business do be more efficient, achieve lower costs and higher employee & customer satisfaction.
According to the Agile Business Consortium, agility means much the same as it does in real life—to adapt quickly to change, to “respond rapidly and flexibly to customer demands,” to adapt to change effectively without a drop in quality, to be a leader in productive change, and to take the lead in competitive advantage.
A truly agile workspace, then, would be one that facilitates adaptability, collaboration, productivity, and leadership. Here are some ideas that can help you transform your workplace into a more agile one today.
Many businesses don’t quite get agile principles. An agile workspace is more than just stripping an office of cubicles, corner offices, and conference rooms. All too many businesses have fallen for the “open concept office” fad without thinking of the consequences. Cecila Amador of AllWork.Space writes that those truly on the cutting edge realize that co-working businesses & offices need to evolve from being “simply open space."
Instead, she advises, they must realize that workers have differing needs. “What works for some hinders that of others and vice versa."
For instance, to be productive, some workers need a space apart to think, while others—the office social butterflies—need to bounce ideas off others the whole day long to arrive at innovative solutions.
To be truly agile, then, a company needs to scrap the search for a cookie-cutter solution and find an idea that encourages creativity from all its workers, while maintaining a space-efficient, energy-efficient footprint. Adaptability—and variety—is the key here.
According to Amador, a workplace needs to provide five basic zones to transform itself into an agile workspace:
- An open plan space for those who need to collaborate
- A breakout area with connectivity for brainstorming, impromptu meetings, socializing, or eating
- Designated quiet zones for those who need a space apart to think
- An overflow workspace near the breakout areas for visiting workers or regular workers who need to check an email or catch up on tasks between meetings
- Resource areas for printers, storage, hard-copy files, and reading material
Such a well-balanced workplace provides that flexibility that is missing in both traditional offices and completely open plan offices.
Agile Workplace Benefits
Office Principles, a group of office design experts, adds an inspirational space and a phone conversation space to the list of diverse options that today’s agile workplace needs.
In an office in which phone conversations are frequent, a designated phone pod, away from collaborative or communal spaces, meetings, and anything else where the buzz might be distracting—is a great idea.
Similarly, if the office has a creative bent—such as an ad agency—an inspirational space can help jumpstart the imagination. Whether it’s watching videos of old films or meditating, workers often need such a space apart to prime the creative pump.
Other companies may have other needs that require a dedicated space. Each company needs to take a hard look at its unique focus to come up with the types of spaces it needs for its workers to maximize their productivity.
When a workplace becomes truly agile, it and its workers can experience a wide range of benefits, including—but not limited to—the following:
Freedom to innovate: In a space away from the herd mentality, staff can find the freedom to think outside the box, giving rise to innovation. Staff need that kind of flexibility to be productive, agrees Office Principles. The freedom to work “where they want, when they want” is the key to encouraging innovation on the job.
Flashes of inspiration: Whether from a meditative experience, a conversation from a co-worker, or a line in a movie, workers can find inspiration through whatever moves them to become more productive as they discover new ways to look at old challenges.
Instant collaboration: In the open area of the workspace, workers who have a new idea can simply walk over to the persons with whom they need to collaborate with on the idea. For instance, if the company’s communications officer has an insight on how better to write the company’s mission statement, she might need to collaborate with a graphic designer to tweak the webpage and other publications to bring out the new angles in the statement.
Or, if they prefer, a small, enclosed, soundproof area might be just the spot they need to hammer out a winning idea together without bothering their fellow workers with a loud conversation in the open area.
Today’s agile workplaces, therefore, need a variety of spaces. Most offices can make use of existing space to create open-plan zones, breakout zones, overflow workspaces, and resource areas. The missing ingredient in most offices are designated phone spaces, inspirational spaces, and quiet zones.
At Zenbooth, we can help. We create multipurpose booths that can serve a variety of purposes.
Designated phone spaces: If you need a designated phone space where workers can take and place important calls without background noise or distractions, these booths, with both electrical outlets and USB outlets, can serve as your designated phone space.
Inspirational spaces: If you need an inspirational space, a Zenbooth can provide a quiet place to think, to read, or even to watch a heartrending scene in a film for inspiration. Its quiet, comfortable interior can also lend itself to meditation, if your workers need such a space to sort through their thoughts.
Quiet zones: A Zenbooth is the ideal solution to your workers’ need for a quiet spot to get away and think. With super-quiet ventilation fans and its soundproof construction, your workers can concentrate on the task at hand without noisy intrusions. They also come in larger sizes to accommodate a team who needs to collaborate on a given problem without interference from others.
To learn more about how a Zenbooth can help your company move toward a more agile workplace, contact the Zenbooth sales team today.