The Future of Employment: Agile Working

If you have been following my recent reports on the UK’s brain drain situation, and the worrying skills gap, you’ll know that recruitment on the British Isles is in a sallow funk. And we’re all feeling a little bit despondent. But there’s no point in getting bogged down with bad news, let’s instead look at what we can be doing right now in order to lift the atmosphere.

One thing that has been floating around for a while now, and which is being taken up by an increasing amount of companies, is the concept of agile working.

With a whole plethora of mobile technologies at our disposable, more workflow applications than you could even possibly trial, and increasing costs across the board, agile working is a bit of a no-brainer. But it can be a hard sell. People are stuck in their ways and have their doubts that those working ‘agilely’ are working at all.

Akin to school homework, everyone remembers how reluctantly they would open their textbooks on Sunday at 6 o’clock, and the feelings of reluctance and dread that would permeate the mind, body and soul. It’s hard to shake such conditioning and for many, especially the more senior company directors, it’s difficult to remove themselves from the notion that productivity will go way down if people are left to work in front of their televisions.

It seems pretty logical. People will be distracted at home. However, I believe there are massive benefits to this sort of agile approach to the workplace. The key, as with most things, is finding the right way to sell the concept. Which means explaining what the benefits are. And there are some truly considerable benefits that I feel all businesses should take into consideration.

Talent Retention

And attraction for that matter. With worries over top talent being snapped by larger competitors, or, moreover, leaving the UK altogether, flexible working can provide an attractive proposition to young talent looking to find a career for themselves.

We all know about Google’s fun places to work, and we all have our own opinions on the matter, but millennial talent are looking at these work environments and thinking, ‘that’s what I want too.’ Of course they are. And whilst it’s pretty unfeasible for most businesses to offer that sort of office, a flexible work schedule is the next best thing. Sort of.

Showing employees that you value and trust them enough to offer agile working environments will be sure to increase loyalty, whereas confining them to the traditional office situation can have quite the opposite effects.

Increased Productivity

Doesn’t sound right, does it? But actually agile working has shown to increase productivity. The reason being that people aren’t confined to working at times when they might not be focused, and therefore unproductive. We are human after all, and some days we just can’t get the job done like we need to. Presenting an agile environment allows employees to work when they’re most effective, improving output and feelings of satisfaction with their company.

Office Space

Let’s be frank. A lot of offices are boring places that people don’t want to be in. They’re white and grey and have the same chairs and desks everywhere and people are bored there. And what’s more, they cost a lot.

Walking into any office you’ll find empty desks, redundant chairs. Black screens all being paid to have their square footage of floor. With an agile work environment you can cut back on wasted space, increasing the amount of staff whilst decreasing the size of the office.

Though agile working doesn’t just mean people working from home from time to time. It means being responsive and ready for changes in the business, in legislation and in property. It means being nimble and eager to tackle the future of business, not being constrained to the dank dungeon of offices, but floating on the cloud of interconnectivity.

Ok, maybe I went too far there. But it is certainly something worth considering.

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