How Activity Based Working is changing workplace design

Globalization and technology have not only changed how we work, but where we conduct our daily work activities. A study showed that the growth of Activity Based Working in New Zealand organizations will grow from 28% in 2015 to 66% in 2020. It also found that 43% of New Zealand organizations see smart office environments including cloud, mobility and the Internet of Things as being part of the future of Activity Based Working.

If you’re planning changes to your workplace, it’s a perfect time to consider whether Activity Based Working is right for you.

What is Activity Based Working Style?

Activity Based Working (ABW) is a style of workplace design that allows employees to customize their environment to their working style.

Rather than giving staff one place to complete their work, such as an office desk, they are provided with a choice of environments that are designed to support different activities. These may include conference rooms for formal meetings, quiet areas for focused work, open-plan areas for collaboration and casual areas for impromptu cross-team conversations.

Many people confuse ABW with hot-desking, which removes allocated seating in an attempt to encourage mobility and maximize office space. But it’s more than that.

ABW is about supporting employees while they’re in the office, so they perform at their best every day. It’s not one size fits all, and it’s about flexibility for people to do their best work for the teammates and the organization. Ideally, It is about helping employees to do their best and be their best selves while working.

Benefits of Activity Based Working

Incorporating ABW into your workplace design offers a range of business benefits including:

  • Improved workplace productivity & efficiency
  • Support for new agile business initiatives & objectives
  • The ability to quickly create and dissolve teams for specific projects
  • Greater collaboration between different people & teams
  • Enhanced communication with management
  • A more positive, creative & innovative workplace culture
  • Higher employee satisfaction from recognizing individual working styles
  • Increased face-to-face interaction, reducing email & paper documentation
  • Improved talent attraction & retention, by supporting preferred generational working styles
  • Support for environmental sustainability desires
  • Optimized real estate & building management costs
  • Enabling technology preferences such as mobility & connectivity
  • Implementing Activity Based Working in your workplace

ABW is not a one-size-fits-all solution and requires careful planning and implementation. The most challenging aspect is how your people, technology systems and existing space (unless you’re planning an office move) will adapt to a transformation of your working style.

You’ll need to ensure an ABW strategy aligns with your overall business vision and suits its needs into the future. You should also consider the age demographics of your employees, any social or cultural factors that will impact how employees choose to work, and whether you have the right technology to successfully implement an ABW environment.

If you’re transforming the way you work and need your space to transform with it, contact us.

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