Agile working is the new norm. Employees expect they can prioritize their day and move depending on what they need to do in their day – both professionally and personally.
Workplace strategies have significantly evolved – almost mutated – with the technological explosion seen in the workspace. Home workers, gig workers, job sharing – how people approach work and their expectations on balancing life with work has also significantly changed.
Employees have spoken out and have resoundedly said that a strong culture supporting their needs is a stronger draw than salary!
So what elements of culture can Facilities Managers make an impact on that encourages strong personnel to accept a job offer and keep valued employees sweet? Quite a lot actually. And… Supporting change also has financial benefits for the FM team!
Working in partnership with HR and IT, Facilities Managers can allocate and assign traditionally aligned space to being more accessible and open so that any employee can use the space when they need. Additionally, FM can introduce specialized workspaces accommodating specific needs – quiet areas, meeting booths, calling booths, etc…
The third piece of agile working that FM can contribute to is providing the tools for employees to interact with space and book exactly what they need and when.
Transitioning to an agile culture results in a freer office space. Employees are encouraged, through automony to work smarter. An agile culture also encourages significant cost reduction opportunities. Instead of maintaing a desk per employee, as has been the norm for decades, enabling space users to book whatever they need, whenever required provides valuable key metrics. Transform that data into actionable insight and reduce office space and outlay. In a traditional setting, workspace is vacant up to 50% of the time. Adopting an agile framework increases occupancy and reduces costs attached to unused space drastically.
So, how to gain buyin and successfully transition to an agile workplace?
1. Prepare & Support Management for an Agile Change
Managing employees in an agile environment can be a challenge. This is because employee contributions may be less obvious to line-managers. An agile culture requires new management skills and methods. Expectations of what employees should be doing doesn’t change, but monitoring how they’re reaching their targets does.
Retrain management about what is expected of agile employees and make sure they have the appropriate knowledge and infrastructure to support employee monitoring.
2. Communicate Plans – Get Employees on Board With Going Agile
A main source of resistance comes from not understanding the reasons for change or how change will affect people.
Notify all employees well in advance that the workplace will be changing, what those changes are, when change will be coming into effect and how they will be impacted – both positively and negatively. It’s much better to be honest and upfront. Remember, nobody likes to be told half the story only to learn the full truth later.
3. Reinvest in Agile Friendly Technology
Now that space is liberated and free for all to use, there’s a need from employees to have something enabling them to book space. It defeats the purpose of introducing an agile culture and encouraging increased employee wellbeing if an employees spend all their time frustrated looking for non-existent free space.
It can be challenging to keep employees informed and updated on work developments if they are not on-site very often. Investing in communication and task management platforms will ensure employees still have access to support, instruction and feedback.
4. Give Something Back
Remember, while most employees are expecting to work in a modern, agile workspace, they are still making a big change.
Now that the organization is going to see significant cost efficiencies, re-invest some of that money into spaces employees want to use. Introduce cafes and get better quality coffee beans. Make it appealing for employees to come on-site and encourage communication.