There’s no denying that the world of work has dramatically shifted. Today, remote working is more the norm, rather than the exception, and those who do work in-office, find themselves with different needs than perhaps they once did.
In this current digital era, it’s less about working hard, and more about working smart so that use of time is maximized and not wasted. Part of that is equipping the workspace environment to support those goals.
To achieve those ends, more businesses are looking for solutions like designing agile office spaces that can change depending on the needs of the day. Here's what an agile workspace is and can look like.
What is an Agile Office Space?
An agile office is a workspace designed to empower the workforce, allowing them to––essentially––work however they want. Or in other words, work in a way that suits them so that they are able to perform their best.
An agile office space puts the focus on work being the activity, rather than work being a place. In simple terms, what we call ‘work’ can be done anywhere and in any way, depending on the needs of the worker.
This philosophy and mental shift in how we view and think of ‘work’ not only boosts morale among team members, but it also helps foster their inner creativity and ambition. There is never a one-size-fits-all solution for anyone, every worker is different and requires different things to be their most creative and productive self.
Therefore, when designing an agile workplace, the focus should be on creating a flexible working environment where people find it easy to communicate their ideas and accomplish their tasks in a dynamic setting.
Which means you need to have the right layout and the right kind of furniture to support these goals. While there’s probably no such thing as a perfect agile work space, those who strive to incorporate all the various kinds of working styles, including creating meeting and collaboration areas, focused work areas, and spaces to relax will find themselves closer to perfection than most!
Essentials of an Agile Office Space
Office meeting pods are a fairly new thing in the world of office design. However, there is no doubting its many uses! Meeting pods are great for serving as unofficial conference rooms where team members can gather to discuss their ideas and brainstorm solutions.
Meeting pods are also sometimes referred to as huddle rooms. The change of scenery for group members can be refreshing, and depending on how large the office or complex, the walk to the meeting pod can be even more so!
Equip your meeting pods with all necessary items, such as plug-and-play enabled furniture, screens, power outlets, and more. This helps to make collaboration easy.
Design it with comfortable seating and a sturdy table in between so that everyone can arrange themselves and communicate well. If you’re feeling stuck, be sure to check out some of our readily-designed meeting pods offered at Juniper Office Solutions.
Remember that for an agile office to meet a wide variety of needs and work-styles, it’s important to incorporate not just collaboration areas, but also areas where team members can sit quietly on their own, to think and gather their thoughts and ideas. For this, a private booth works exceptionally well.
In a more traditional workspace, a worker might be interrupted every 40 seconds at their desk, on average. You can imagine how much focus and concentration they are able to give to their task in those types of conditions!
Such interruptions can have a direct effect on employee productivity, which translates ultimately into a negative effect on overall company performance. Additionally, the background noise in an open office design can sometimes become overwhelming and prevent team members from focusing on their work.
Therefore, for an agile office space where the focus is on enhancing creativity and productivity, a private booth is essential. Also, keep in mind you don’t need to design a private booth for each and every employee. Just incorporate some booths into your layout and furniture design, to be used as needed.
We offer a great ready-made single person focus booth here at Juniper Office Solutions, which could be an ideal addition to your agile office space if you don’t have the time or the inclination to design something yourself.
Storage is key, no matter what kind of space you are designing. When employees have a desk or cubicle, they get some personal space where they can hang their reminders, display their pictures, and store any essential items.
However, when shifting to an agile work space, you are asking your team members to give up their storage space and displace all their personal belongings, paperwork, laptops, chargers, etc.
Additionally, an employee’s desk provides a place to belong, whereas a lack of one could make them feel uncomfortable. That’s why incorporating lockers into an agile office space is an essential on the list.
Then you can assign a locker to each employee and reassure them that they still have some personal space when they’re at the office, a place to store necessities and where their things are kept safe.
Rest is essential for a healthy and effective brain. Overworking yourself or your employees has never done anyone any good! Modern research even shows that when you are mentally relaxed, this is when your creativity comes to life. And in this ever-advancing world, creativity is the only way to success.
On the other hand, if you spend the whole day sitting in a noisy, small cubicle, on an uncomfortable chair––the only thing that will be likely to strike you is a headache, not inspiration! This is why a relaxation area is so essential an element when designing an agile office space.
You can decorate your relaxation spaces with domestic elements, such as comfortable couches and sofas, an open kitchen setup, a few low-light lamps, and even an ottoman to put your feet up. Also, don’t forget to add some greenery and flowers for a little extra zen.
Incorporating elements like these helps to create a relaxing space where coworkers can hangout with each other, or take some much-needed alone time. It can also be used as a space to regroup and discuss ideas in an unofficial setting, which means these areas can serve multiple purposes––great for businesses with a smaller budget!
Tips for Creating a Perfectly Agile Office Space
Incorporate More Activity-Based Workspaces
Design your office layout using an activity-based approach, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. An activity-first approach includes dynamic workspaces, which can be easily reconfigured for seamless collaborations.
Try a Resimerical Design
Resimerical design simply refers to a furnishing style that includes homey elements––such as residential furniture––in an office space.
According to recent surveys, many people are eager to come back to their offices after living in pandemic land for so long. However, who wouldn’t miss the comfort of working from the couch?
Resimercial designs can help you achieve the best of both worlds, by merging your office space with comfortable home-like furniture. Add in things like coffee tables, rugs, and houseplants, enhanced with soft lighting, and you’ve got a work space that almost feels like, well, home!
Today’s aesthetic, especially in more urban and corporate settings, is all about adding greenery to your surroundings, be it the office or at home.
Also, as a way of acknowledging social responsibility and promoting the importance of supporting the environment and your community, companies can not only add greenery to the office, but also strive to utilize more ‘green’ business practices.
Apart from the obvious option of adding more plants or creating a garden, you can also install recycling stations, use sustainable cleaning products, replace traditional art with living art, and opt for energy-efficient lighting, water, and heating systems.
Consider a Transparent Office Design
Consider dividing your workspace using transparent dividers. Clear dividers can be a great help in minimizing noise and maximizing natural light.
Moreover, a transparent design also promotes a spirit of transparency and honesty among employees and management and makes communication and collaboration between your team members easier.
Transparent office space dividers can also help support physical distancing, without compromising on the aesthetic and collaborative aspects of creating an open, agile office space.
Agile workspace design is arguably equal parts science and art. It’s also ever-evolving, as the needs of the workforce also evolve. Hopefully though, you now have a solid idea on where to start!Sources: