Learning together in an ‘Agile’ workspace
While for some, agile means giving individuals control over where and how they work, for others it may simply means, wanting the teams to be more responsive to change, be more nimble and faster. More important in today’s era of the dynamic business environment and digital-first approach, agility is playing a catalyst in aiding an organization to empower its people to work where, when and how they choose to, bringing out the best of their workforce.
The value of agility in today’s workforce is getting higher. Businesses are altering faster than ever before as they move towards flatter organizational structures. This shift means that there’s less adherence to stricter roles and hierarchies. The days have passed when only senior management had to manage strategy and only business management had to look at finances. In today’s time, flow of ideas are from all the levels of the organization, so there’s more focus on what employees bring to the table as compared to their standing on the organization chart. However, the most important factor to transition into an agile workstyle is training the minds to adopt the process. Building agile teams/coaches can help advance the creation of a more intuitive ecosystem and help enable the following learnings:
- Open Sharing: Agility goes beyond just collaborating within a breakout zone. It includes team members, making their work content visible and accessible to the rest of the team. Sharing verbally and visually, in digital and analog ways and helping in building knowledge
- Tinker, Test, and Trust: An Agile workforce redefine failure as a success because of the learnings that occur by enabling tinkering, testing and hacking to figure out the best way to perform, which helps in accelerating the learning process
- Mutual Learning: Learning together by being present at the same place and iterating over customer/internal feedback, develops a sense of belonging and commitment
- Measuring for Success: Agile teams embrace measurements at the team and individual level allowing for growth and future improvements.
- Embrace Ambient Awareness: In an ambient environment, an agile workforce is free to let go of certain mental tasks until the time is right to come back to them
Infusing a better framework for the workforce, agile workspaces ultimately combat day to day challenges of employees by improving the quality of solutions and speed of delivery. Seating of the colleagues is changed each day based on the nature of their work or the team they are working with, rather than sitting at a fixed desk each day. The changing day-to-day environment creates more interaction. Thus, a workplace which is agile potentially includes one or more casual meeting areas designed for impromptu group work sessions. It is an upgradation over the open-plan, providing and enabling the equally important spaces for quiet and focus, in addition to the ones for collaboration.
Another major factor that accounts for adopting agility is the cost savings associated with moving to such work style. It is more feasible an option for streamlining corporate portfolios.
Collaboration is another buzzword which goes hand in hand with agility. The benefits are an equally attractive prospect for a company that wants to refurbish its overall workplace culture. This is an important part of learning and growing together as a team.
Hence, adopting an agile workstyle takes a proper plan, strategy and a vision. One needs to not only align it with the business goals but also harness the complex digital transformation for a more efficient workforce. From thereon, one can begin to use numbers and metrics to gauge and measure user engagement and to track daily active users on apps, the cloud and more such mediums, making easier for the organization to adopt the right agile workstyle, processes, department structures and culture.
A change that will help people understand and appreciate these new ways of working and to learn how a place can help the culture change and adapt more quickly, an agile workspace is a great way to make the employees learn and grow but also maintain the competitive edge in the market. This will not only bring in a far more collaborative and engaging workforce but also empower employees to hack their space according to what works for them, besides workspaces adopting it through more open space design. From creating central and larger spaces that allow for bigger customer or team gatherings, to, a private space for paired work helps build knowledge within the team and avoid bottlenecks and silos, agility is all about creating flexible spaces catering to all needs.
Lastly, it’s important to understand that one can’t rely on any workspace design alone to do the job of changing an organization’s culture. It should be a broader approach with agility as a core thought that resonates well with the workforce and can be customized according to their needs.