What is Activity-Based Working?

Activity-based working is a major trend in the modern office, but what is it and how does the concept affect your office environment?

Space to Thrive

In short, activity-based working (ABW) is a concept that's built upon the idea that office work doesn’t need a fixed location. It disregards the idea of assigned workstations and desks, instead viewing work as a fluid activity that changes on a daily basis. This means the entire office is designed with flexibility in mind, providing employees with a diverse range of areas to work in.

ABW is a crucial part of an agile work environment. It empowers employees to work how they want and supports them through technology, culture, and design – ensuring they're always performing at their best.

The Benefits of Activity-Based Working

Increased Collaboration

ABW encourages better collaboration across your business, giving you and your team the flexibility to swiftly respond to opportunities as and when they emerge. For example, if you start a new project, it’s much easier to assemble a cross-departmental team when everyone is set up for mobile work. Your team can pool resources, share ideas, and organise much more efficiently than in a traditional, static office.

Plus, by opening up your office, employees can more easily get to know each other. Making communication more convenient and less forced. This means you can avoid the dreaded silo effect and ensure every member of your team feels included and engaged. 

What does the future of workspace look like? Take a look at our insightful  guide to Office Design Trends.

More Space, Less Waste

ABW environments enable businesses to rethink their use of space by incorporating things like hot-desking, breakout areas, and collaboration zones. This reduces the amount of under-utilised office space, so more staff can share the same space without the risk of overcrowding. 

Additionally, as the average space per employee drops, so does the cost of rent, heating, and maintenance. This saves you money, whilst maximising the potential of your space – a win-win across-the-board. 

Recruit and Retain Staff

Flexibility has become an increasingly sought after trait in the world of business. It's a key factor in attracting and retaining top talent. Today's workforce wants better access to spaces, tools, and most importantly, people. With as many as 69% of millennials being prepared to give up other benefits for a more flexible work environment, considering the implementation of ABW practices is a no-brainer.

By applying ABW principles, you can provide a workplace that keeps current staff happy while enticing prospective employees to your business. Giving your workers complete ownership of their office environment, can empower employees both old and new to work how they want. This results in happier, more productive workers. 

When's Best to Implement Activity-Based Working?

Typically, there's never a bad  time to implement ABW. However, other changes around the office can present the perfect opportunity to apply it to your workspace. Whether you're moving offices, planning a fit-out or refurbishment, or updating your company culture, it's worth considering changing your way of working too. 

Remember, implementing ABW in your organisation can often mean a sizeable cultural shift for you and your employees. Before you make the switch, it's important to gain an in-depth understanding of how your current space is used and what you and your employees need going forward. 

A lot of the potential headaches associated with a new ways of working can be alleviated by careful planning and communication with your team. Set out your business goals, outline the benefits to your employees, and allow them time to adjust. 


Activity-based working is one of the ways organisations can transform their workspaces and future-proof themselves against any upcoming challenges. Discover more about the future of commercial office design, download our Furture Workspaces eBook

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