Co-Designing an Agile Work Place

by Margie

Workplaces are under pressure to evolve and keep pace with workers’ expectations. In 2016, voluntary staff turnover rose in 29% of Australian organisations (Hays). With nearly 1 in 4 new employees leaving their job in the first 12 months (PWC), we have the worst record compared to 10 other developed countries. Loss of staff is expensive, estimated at 6 to 9 months of the person’s salary.

Retaining talented people is only the first step in cultivating an innovative and creative environment. Providing a flexible workplace has been shown to greatly improve the employee experience (Gensler US Workplace Survey, 2016). Building a relaxed and flexible work environment where there is a constant exchange of ideas, will put the team in the right frame of mind to find imaginative solutions.

Agile or Activity-Based Working (ABW) provides a variety of spaces to give employees choice in how, when and where their work is undertaken. Increasing choice has been shown to not only promote collaboration but also improve performance and job satisfaction.

Within our own office, EJgbb provides a choice of zones for different styles of work. I’m using our library to complete some quiet work without interruption.

Determining what aspects of an agile workspace are appropriate starts with a clear understanding of the organisation – its work practices, culture, and vision. By investing in a tailored Co-Design research process, a clearly articulated strategy for implementation can be developed that responds to the whole organisation and prepares it for change.

Co-Design Workshops that include representatives from all levels of the organisation provide a clear understanding of work practices, culture and vision.

Co-Design is a great fit for developing an agile workspace strategy, as it is both inclusive and engaging across all levels of the organisation – and it will demonstrate a committed leadership. When considering a shift in culture, such as moving to an Activity-Based Workplace, a co-operative design process is key to a successful outcome. Edmiston Jones GBB has developed tools that are underpinned by Co-Design principles and processes to work with organisations. (see previous blog)

EJgbb’s workspace incorporates zones for informal standing meetings, close to desk-based work areas. This area incorporates layout benches to provide space for large format drawings and internal reviews.

Leave a comment