How Has Agile Working Affected Commercial Office Design?

The rapid rise in adoption of the agile working methodology has turned traditional notions of commercial office design on their head. Let’s explore how.

What is Agile Working?

Much has already been written about the agile working methodology, but here’s a succinct description:

"Agile working allows your business to achieve its goals faster while remaining flexible enough to tackle new challenges as they arise."

The idea of agile working developed from software developers' need to fix bugs in their code and get software to market as fast as possible. Nowadays, all sorts of businesses, from small agencies to huge conglomerates, are taking advantage of agile working to remain flexible and productive against often unpredictable business backdrops. 

What’s Agile Working Got to Do with Commercial Office Design?

Implementing the agile working methodology successfully requires a complete shift in mindset, not just for management but for your entire team. The best way to kick-start this transition is to fit-out your workspace with new furniture, fixtures, and a new layout to shake up routines and facilitate this new way of working.

One of the greatest strengths of agile workspaces is their flexibility. There’s no right way to design your agile office. It’s all about finding what works for your employees and what will best aid them in their day-to-day activities.

Having said that, there are a few stand-out features of agile workplaces that have changed commercial office design forever – and we couldn't be more grateful. 

Learn how to create an exceptional workspace with our definitive office fit out  handbook

Goodbye Cubicles, Hello Open-Plan

Although the debate surrounding the pros and cons of open-plan offices rages on, they’re a pillar of agile workplace design. Having most of your workforce operating in the same environment, without being siloed, promotes interaction across departments and develops a sense of team cohesion.

Why wait for Jenny from marketing to reply to your email, when you can simply walk over to her desk and resolve your query with a short conversation?

Some have argued that open-plan offices have a detrimental effect on productivity and employee satisfaction, but every company awarded a Leesman+ award last year (which measures such factors) featured an open-plan design. 

So, while they're not the be-all-end-all of office design, there's no doubt that open-plan offices allow for faster project turnaround times while building a stronger a sense of community. Win-win.

From Drab to Dynamic

No one wants to work in a boring office. For a long time, almost every commercial workplace shared the same cookie-cutter design. Lifeless decor, uncomfortable furniture, lighting that could send you to sleep – it’s a wonder how anyone was motivated to work in such lack-luster environments.

Thankfully, the rise in popularity of agile workplace design is breaking this mould. In contrast to the boring offices of old, agile workspaces are colourful, bright, and brimming with life.

Although workplace aesthetics can often be overlooked when budgets are tight, ensuring your office is visually attractive carries many benefits. Your employees will be happier to start with, and happy workers are productive workers.

Also, with 76% of millennials saying that the visual appeal of a workplace influences their first impression of a company, It goes without saying that – to attract the latest and greatest talent –you need to consider how your workplace looks and feels.

The Freedom to Work How You Want to Work

Traditional commercial office design was very much about putting people in boxes. Departments were sectioned off and employees were expected to stay in their cubicles and get their heads down. This rigid structure had some benefits, but overall it prescribed a one-size-fits-all approach which didn’t allow for deviations in work methods. 

Agile workspaces, on the other hand, are designed to empower your employees to work how they work best. If they’re more productive in the peace and quiet, they’re welcome to spend time in break-out areas; if they just want to mix things up, hot-desking provides a quick change of scenery; and if they feel like they’d be more productive working from home, they’re free to do so.

The flexibility inherent in agile businesses gives employees autonomy – crucial for retaining talent and boosting employee engagement. Staff who feel responsible for their work and in charge of their own volition are happier, more productive, and more loyal to your company.

Out with the Old

As new office design trends come and go with increasing frequency, it's easy to see why agile design has stuck around. It improves job satisfaction, sparks creativity, encourages collaboration, and, in turn, boosts productivity. 

It's a far cry from the restrictive offices of yesteryear – may we never put workers in dark, dingy cubicles again. 

Remember, your employees are humans – not machines – and that's their greatest asset. Harness their full potential by kick-starting your agile fit-out today

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