Activity Based Working (ABW) is a growing phenomenon that gives employees freedom of choice in how, when and where they work, providing varied settings to enable them to carry out different tasks effectively. More than just a new workstyle, organisations are recognising that ABW can be a transformational business strategy - here we share the various benefits for both the employee and company:
1. Improves communication and collaboration
ABW creates opportunities for collaboration, whether through impromptu meetings, serendipitous encounters or in hubs specifically designed for team work. Employees aren’t tied to their desks all day or forced to carry out their work at a single allocated desk so there is much more engagement between different people and teams enabling cross-functional collaboration, the sharing of ideas and increased creativity and innovation.
2. Supports focused work
ABW spaces include areas for private or focused work, with quiet zones, areas for confidential work or phone calls, or work that requires concentration. A recent report by Leesman, the independent workplace effectiveness assessor, found that desk-based, individual, focused work is the most important workplace activity to employees. Those who said their workplace provides settings to enable such work also felt that their workplace supports them to work productively. Providing a choice of spaces that enables better concentration improves results.
3. Improves flexibility
The entire concept of ABW is about flexibility and choice. Rather than being restricted to one desk, employees have a variety of work settings to choose from to suit the task they’re doing at any given time. ABW empowers people to work where, when and how they need. In this way, the working environment becomes much more fluid, to suit a diverse, evolving workforce. And as the workforce evolves, so to must companies and understand the differing needs of their employees.
4. Boosts productivity and performance
ABW supports people to be the best they can be and deliver their best work. With diverse settings in which to carry out their work, employees work much more effectively compared to working in more traditional offices. ABW encourages people to better communicate, collaborate, concentrate, think and to take time out to relax and socialise, helping to increase motivation, personal and team productivity and, in turn, boosting business performance.
5. Helps attract and retain the best people
ABW workplaces are open, flexible and dynamic, meaning they’re more engaging for employees, this can differentiate organisations as high calibre individuals are increasingly attracted by flexible and innovative ways of working. But, most importantly, if individuals are given the settings and tools they need to do their best work and fulfil their potential, they are much more likely to be loyal and stick around.
6. More sustainable and cost-efficient
Underutilised office space is one of the biggest costs for businesses; ABW workplaces utilise office space much more efficiently than traditional offices, meaning that more people can be supported in a smaller setting. This creates more effective workplaces and can reduce space, materials and energy use, and, of course, cost.
7. Improves workplace culture and employee experience
What creates a fantastic workplace culture? Trust, autonomy, openness, collaboration? ABW is about fostering all these things; it encourages people to work freely and responsibly, gives them a greater sense of ownership and autonomy, enables them to put forward their own ideas and, support their colleagues in doing the same. By promoting a truly positive workplace culture and employee experience, ABW helps to enhance employee engagement, pride and motivation, creating a great place to work for all.
8. Improves employee wellbeing
ABW is about people, place and technology coming together in a more productive and enjoyable way. Individuals are trusted and empowered to make choices about their own work meaning they will feel much happier, more valued and engaged. A satisfied, productive workforce is a happy, healthy workplace and business.
The benefits of ABW are bountiful but it’s important to note that it isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. People with multiple work tasks gain the most from ABW, but, to do so, it must be viewed as an organisational journey where significant time is invested in change management to help employees embrace the change and new ways of working.
It’s time to think about your workplace differently. Discover more about ABW and how it can support your people and organisation in our free downloadable guide.