They say the future of workspaces is agile, but what does that mean?
At the beginning of the year, Brendon’s company introduced an agile workspace strategy to help increase productivity, creativity, and collaboration. We helped the company achieve this with several of our SmartSpace innovations and products.
We know there’s both positive and negative views on agile working. To help demystify the concept, we chatted to Brendon about what an average day in an agile workspace really looks like.
Monday mornings are tricky for everyone. This Monday morning seems to be particularly tricky for my daughter – at least in terms of deciding what to wear.
It’s around the fourth outfit change I realise I’m running a bit late. I have a work-in-progress (WIP) meeting booked with my team at 9 am, and don’t want to risk getting there at 8.50 only to find there aren’t any suitable workspaces.
Lucky for me, the new workstations in our office are fitted with a smart device called FloorSight. Among other things, this device lets you book a workstation remotely through an app. I log into the FloorSight app and quickly book a focus booth for the team before said daughter has time to tempt a fifth outfit change.
The first thing I do when I get to work is grab my gear from my locker. There are several locker units set up on each floor, which makes having varied workstations much easier.
The lockers are a smart-locker system called SmartaLock, and they’re pretty innovative. I can either use my swipe card or phone to log into the lockers. Like the FloorSight system, the lockers can be booked and monitored through an app.
I open my locker and get out my Agile Tote, which is a kind of “tool box” for my computer, stationery, and other bits. It keeps things organised and makes it easier to carry things around. I’ve booked a locker on the floor we’re working on today, so once I’ve got what I need from the tote I head on over to the meeting.
The “Apus Media Booth” is perfect for our Monday morning WIPs. We always start with a bit of a casual catch-up – which can get quite animated, depending on how the weekend’s rugby match went. The Apus booth is lined with cushioning that is not only comfortable but keeps our conversations (and any rugby-related noises) from bothering the entire office. It also keeps external office noises from distracting us when we do get down to business. The booth is fitted with power points, USB ports, and a screen to make collaborating and sharing work easy, and to save us from having to print out information to share.
When we need a break, I mark on the FloorSight monitor to show the booth is still booked, and we drop our things off to our lockers and go grab a bite.
Later that afternoon I have several tasks to complete where I need my own space. I need to call a client to discuss some budget issues, which requires a private spot, preferably where no one else can hear the discussion. The Framery O booths are the best option for privacy – their noise-cancelling abilities (both inside and out) make them ideal for sensitive calls or for extremely focused work.
Unfortunately all the Framery O booths are taken right now, so instead I go for the Miss Pak chair. Facing away from the office, it is almost as good as a booth. Like the Apus booth, Miss Pak is upholstered in sound-absorbing fabric, and the side panels keep conversations contained.
As comfortable as the Miss Pak is (it’s ergonomically designed, too), I like to limit the amount of time I spend sitting down during the day. So, I spend the rest of the afternoon working at one of the new sit-stand desks. We had sit-stand desks in the old office, but the Rubix Electric is, as its name suggests, electric, which means getting the thing to the right height is much easier.
At the end of the day I simply put all of my work tools back in the Agile Tote and drop it off to the lockers nearest the building’s entry before heading home. Best to keep things simple in case there’s another wardrobe situation tomorrow.
While it may seem like my day involves a bit of “toing-and-froing”, the ability to move around and work from different workstations really helps me be more productive. Depending on what task needs to be done (and who it needs to be done with – or without), I can always find a space to suit. This makes getting into “the zone” much easier.
This new way of working has certainly helped my teammates and, from what I can tell, the rest of the staff here, as well. Work is a lot more social, and there’s a general feeling of happiness about the place.
Now we have space to collaborate and be creative, spaces for more administrative tasks that require focus, and, of course, spaces that offer privacy – without having to leave the office. The new technology has made the transition much easier than I thought, and it feels great to be in such a modern environment.
Change, especially to one’s work environment, can be difficult – especially when it feels like it’s not in your control. But with an agile workspace I can control where I work, how I work, how much privacy I have, or, if I want to be more social, how little privacy I have. Agile working has allowed me to have more control, and to work better because of that. The future of work, I feel, is most certainly agile.