Agile Working

5th May 2015

Agile Working is about bringing people, processes, connectivity and technology together, allowing for agile working patterns and office space. With the technology available to modern businesses, there are numerous tools to help us work in new and different ways, to meet customer needs, reduce costs, increase productivity and improve sustainability.

The business context that has made Agile Working possible for small businesses has been matched by demand from employees as career expectations change. According to the Office of National Statistics there are about 8 million part-time workers and 4 million people who usually work from home in the UK. Another 8.7 million two in five would like some form of flexibility, according to Timewise.

These trends are backed up by market research. An REC poll showed that of the employers who are looking to hire in the next six months, 28% intend to hire either part-time or contract/temporary workers, while 17% are looking to hire full time workers.

In the REC/KPMG Report on Jobs, recruitment agency billings for temporary workers registered their strongest net increase for five months in June, extending the current sequence of growth to 14 months. At the same time the availability of permanent and temporary candidates has dropped to the lowest level since REC records began.

This research and insights leads to the conclusion that Agile Working is an area that your business should think about adopting, if not move towards outright.

But how else do you know if Agile Working is right for your organisation?

Here are a few key questions that you can answer to find out.

1. Do we want our business to stay competitive in a modern economy?

From a business perspective, agile working gives a competitive edge to the services of that business. More clients’ needs are met and response times decrease when a business has more flexible hours in which to operate.

2. Can we afford to routinely lose staff because we can’t offer them the flexibility they need?

If you want to attract, retain and progress the best people for your business, Agile Working is a key way to help make this happen. A job for life is less appealing to younger workers and allowing flexibility is often used by companies to attract and retain talent.

3. Do we value employee productivity, not presenteeism?

One goal of Agile Working is to do away with presenteeism, the act of requiring employees be present in body whether or not they have presence of mind. With a workspace that can move around the office, employees become less restricted and can begin to move beyond the office walls and embrace flexible working that lets them work when and where they are most productive.

4. Is our management team ready to implement Agile Working?

An agile workspace means a switch to self-managed employees. Managers still monitor, but the management team must also adapt to the change in environment or end up with employees feeling overly supervised or micromanaged.

These are just some of the main questions that will help your organisation consider the ability of your organisation to transform into an Agile Working environment, but there will be plenty more to think through especially from a legislative perspective.

Agile Working is not suited for all organisations, so make sure you thoroughly research all of the options first so that once committed, you can begin to take advantage of the aspects of Agile Working that are most suited to your business needs.

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