Before one can discuss an agile working environment one must understand what is meant by agile working. There are a lot of confusing definitions out there regarding this concept, especially for those who have been out of the school room for a little longer. Agility is not your flexibility and ability to exercise during work. It is also not flexible working hours that some have been led to believe. The definition according to the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors is the ability to change business routines without any resistance. Routines can be business, ways of working, putting focus on new markets, and adding in new processes. The idea is for a competitive advantage to be revealed through profit increases and growth of the overall company.
Consider how the work place used to be. Bosses would tell employees what to do, when to do it, and leave little room for team work discussions. Eventually the work place started to become cohesive with the focus being on teamwork. Now there is plenty of education, options, alternatives, and access to information that can make everyone work better in a group or separately when necessary.
Add in the workplace rights and responsibilities to the mix and the workplace has certainly evolved over time to create a place that is faster in changes and organisation.
Understanding the New Practices
Agile working does not mean the office space disappears. It does not mean you will work from home or not have the support of a business team. In fact this is where many get confused on the concept of what agile working is. Agile working is designed to be more solid, supportive, and energised. Managers are working with the team adding a cohesive structure, but also allowing employees to take time at home and out of the office when needed.
Agile working is about making the person realise that work is not a place, but an activity. It is an activity that should be enjoyed, but as with most activities there can be times of stress.
The new generation prefers agile working because it allows them to be more involved in their work environment. It allows them to feel they can work on more than just a set time, location, role, and source.
Source is referring to who carries out the work. With agile working it can change where it is a matter of smart working. A person can be assigned a task because they have a specialty in it. It gives them a chance to lead a project and show what talents they have versus being stuck in a specific role.
New working practices have encompassed the thought of smart working where new technologies, new work environments, and new concepts are at the forefront of making work progressive.
It can mean the use of home working, mobile working, and office working is rolled into one package for all employees. The ability to communicate through the virtual world has opened the doors for families to get back together, while still maintaining a proper income.
With the ability to work when a person is available, where they are available, with changing roles, Agile Working has risen in popularity. It does not mean employees always have a choice, but it does mean there is more open to the employee than before. If you are an employer and are interested in learning more about agile working then visit the Office Principles website.