Do Activity Based Working Environments Suit Everyone?


Published by Kathryn Anda, PEPworldwide on 6 July, 2014

Activity based working environments mean the end of a permanent desk. For those that thrive on routine and who like to maintain their own space and set up, how does this impact them?

Activity based working environments mean the end of a permanent desk. For those that thrive on routine and who like to maintain their own space and set up, how does this impact them?

Surprisingly productivity levels are significantly higher in these environments but do they suit everyone?

Taking the concept of a hot desk one step further

Most people are familiar with the term ‘hot-desking’. It refers to a limited number of desks, which are shared amongst all employees. Activity based environments are similar because people no longer have an assigned workstation, however there are a wider range of places available to set up for the day.

Improve team collaboration and efficiency

An open planned office has a number of small areas set aside for teams to gather to work on join projects, quite areas where employees can move to, or larger spaces for meetings and brainstorming sessions. Having the flexibility to move around and mix with other departments and colleagues as needed greatly improves efficiency and provides for a motivational environment.

Management styles must change to suit this environment

Some managers are of the belief that if they cannot see their staff, they must not be working however all that must change. It must be remembered that it is the outcomes and results that matter and if team members are able to save time by moving to another area of the office to chat about a task, or seek feedback from others one-on-one without having to wait for emails to be sent back and forth then it is a step in the right direction.

Change is hard to accept for the best of us

We don’t always accept change with open arms and we are typically territorial creatures who like to personalise our own workspace. This is one of the main factors that makes the transition to an activity-based environment more difficult. The benefits are significant although a little hard to accept at first.

Training and education is a must

To help staff more easily accept the change, training and education should be provided. In fact it should be given to employees and management. Covering aspects such as how to tap into cloud storage, the best locations to work depending on their needs and how to move to a paper-free working environment are just the beginning. Activity based environments make sense. On any one day there will be a significant number of unoccupied workstations. The high level of vacancy exists because the staff can be on leave, on courses, or working with other teams in different locations.

Whilst not everyone may jump at the chance to adopt an activity based working environment, chatting to the experts will help you see the benefits and positive outcomes that are achievable.

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