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Everything You Need to Know About Agile Working

20 Aug 2021

A smiling man sitting on the street and having an online call on his laptop.

Today, many people are willing to work from home or have flexible hours. This type of working environment has been coined agile working and it is the ultimate 21st century work setup. 

Working in this way isn't just a trend, it can have huge benefits for both you and your company! Here are some ways that agile working can make your company more successful.

What Is Agile Working?

Almost everyone has heard of the agile methodology, but many people are still unsure what it is. Agile work is a type of environment where the employees can choose how they want to work. This could mean that they need to be at their office for some time during the day, or that they don't come into the office at all and instead have to work from home. 

The main thing about this kind of flexible working environment is that you don't have set hours. Your boss doesn't dictate when you start and stop working each day which means you set up your own schedule. There are so many advantages to this type of job because not only does it allow for more creativity, but it also allows the employee more freedom in choosing how they spend their days.

Four Components of Agile Working

Agile working tends to focus on collaboration, creativity, and self-direction which can be beneficial for both employers and employees. Below are four common components of agile working:

  •  Face time is not required - it's about being available when needed. 
  • The best ideas come from the team rather than top-down management or an individual genius idea person. 
  • The agile methodology relies heavily on input from all members including those who may not have traditionally had access to decision making. 
  • Feedback loops are focused on continuous improvement as well as an open and honest work environment.

What Is The Goal Of Agile Work?

There are many benefits of agile working, but one of the main goals is to increase productivity. The work environment should be an inspiring place in which people feel empowered to produce their best work. By creating an environment that is conducive to high-quality work, employees will be more productive, happy, and motivated.

There are also other benefits of agile working besides just increasing productivity. One example is increasing creativity because it's easy for people with different ideas to bounce them off each other in a collaborative environment. Furthermore, with agile working, there are fewer distractions which can lead to increased focus. 

What’s The Difference Between Agile Work and Remote Work?

The term "agile working" usually refers to any type of flexible working environment that is, collaborative, and productive. Such conditions are most often found in an office with no walls or cubicles where teams can come together or go their separate ways as needed. You may also hear it referred to as "open-plan office"

Remote workers are those who do not have a permanent workplace they typically work from home or coffee shops on laptops. They're able to be more mobile than their onsite counterparts because they don't need company equipment like computers, desks, or chairs. While some remote workers miss out on building relationships with coworkers due to lack of physical proximity, others thrive in their work alone.

In terms of what actually happens during an agile-working session, employees typically have less need to physically convene with each other. However, they're expected to do so if there's a deadline involved. Meetings can often take place over chat software and online conferencing tools like Zoom or Skype which can create virtual meeting rooms. This keeps unnecessary travel time down.

However, if necessary an agile team may meet physically while a remote work team often never meets physically. 

The Advantages & Disadvantages of Agile Work

One of the key advantages of agile working is the ability to take on heavy workloads. The employees can complete their work in a timely manner, without the pressure of deadlines. Another major benefit to an agile workspace is that it forces employees to organize their own workspace, adding a sense of responsibility and minimalizing any clutter. 

However, one of the disadvantages of agile working is that it can make employees feel isolated from other workers in the company. It may also cause problems when you need help with something you don’t know very well and would benefit from having someone show you in a physical setting.

Does Agile Work Produce Results?

The question has been asked time and again, “Does agile work produce results?” The answer is a resounding yes, but there are some caveats. Agile working is not for everyone, nor will it work in every situation. 

However, if you want to build a culture of innovation where people can thrive, this might be the way to go. Here’s why:

It Encourages Creativity

Agile working allows employees to have more autonomy over their work and encourages them to think quickly on their feet which can lead to innovative ideas that would otherwise be missed with traditional methods of management.  When you implement agile project management you unleash the creativity of your employees.

It Makes Employees Feel Valued

When an organization implements an agile workplace they show employees that they value them as individuals who bring unique skills and talents to the team. This is very empowering for employees as they experience maximum flexibility when doing their work.

This is especially important when a company wants to attract and retain top talent in this day and age of technology where workers have more options than ever before thanks to globalization. The higher the employee retention rate in a company the less money they will have to spend on recruitment. Having a flexible office through agile working also lets employees have a better work-life balance. 

They can choose to work part-time or full-time on different days as long as they get the work done.

Is Your Company Ready For The Agile Approach?

The first thing that is necessary for an agile office is that there needs to be a clear definition of what best practices will look like. This means that the company will need to hire individuals with the same set of values. The more their values match the company culture the better chance the company will have of reaching its goals.

Without a strong team, it will be difficult for any company to function as an agile one. The benefits of having everyone on board are many. When everyone is on the same page there will be less waste in the form of re-doing projects that have been completed multiple times. 

There will be higher quality work because there is better communication between employees and management. This makes the agile organization unique and mere evolved than other types of work environments.  You will find that there is more trust from clients who know their needs are being met with precision and accuracy. 

There will also be increased productivity due to streamlined systems that don't require double efforts by anyone involved.

What does your culture look like? Do you see yourself growing into a faster-paced environment where things get done quickly without needing too much redoing or planning ahead? Or do you need some time before going full throttle with this technique? 

When it comes to agile methods of working the time to act is now. The sooner you streamline the process the quicker your business will become productive and increase customer satisfaction.

Common Challenges of Agile Working

An agile office space offers a collaborative and creative team culture. However, such an environment has obvious drawbacks for some people. The potential negatives associated with agile work include isolation and a lack of structure or focus on the part of the agile worker. There may also be resentment from colleagues who are not on this new system if you choose to only introduce some members of staff to agile working.

How Should HR Approach Agile Work?

It's important for HR to address the challenges of an agile work environment, and it starts with educating themselves. The first step in understanding what an agile work environment is all about is to understand that It’s not just a trendy buzzword. It's one of the working practices that have been proven successful in many well-known companies like Google, Twitter, and Zappos.

The next step is assessing how agile work might affect employees, both positively and negatively. For instance, some team members may find they are more productive because they can work on anything at any time without having to wait for approval or instructions from management or development teams. Others may be less productive because their natural workflow doesn't fit into this type of environment. 

Some may resent the idea of having to work in an agile way, or even that it's being forced upon them. The next step is developing a strategy for how HR will communicate with employees about this new working approach and what they can expect from each other.

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