Date: Fri Mar 04 2022
The Need For Agile Working
If the past couple of years have taught businesses anything, it is that the need for flexible and agile ways of working are essential. Covid-19 has impacted everyone’s way of working and what was normal 24 months ago, will most certainly have now changed. The question is though, can agile working work in a post pandemic world?
Two perspectives must be considered; one being the employer and the other being the employee. This blog post will unpick what exactly agile working is and isn’t, and how it can benefit stakeholders. Additionally, learn how you might be able to be more agile in your role and what the benefits are.
Adapting, learning and innovating are all things that companies need to consider when responding to a fast-changing world. For employees it would be described as the amount time they need to complete their work and feel they are making a dent on what needs to be done. They need to know they are making a difference and their contributions are being seen and or heard.
What Is Agile Working?
So, how can you understand what agile work is? Does your role facilitate you to work in an agile way? An example: An IT development project requires agile work as it relies heavily upon software tools. In order to allow developers and wider teams to work together. Agile work is needed to enable fast prototyping, developments and projects to be completed on time. When there is collaboration across multiply teams, there will also be high levels of discussions. Software tools need to be utilised correctly to help teams work collaboratively and not against each other. Tools such as Zoom, Google Documents, Shared files can help the team to get their work done.
This is something that needs to be considered. Start with your role and your purpose, then look to the wider team and understand theirs. Do you need administrative access, does your colleague only need to be a viewer? Agile work will help you get the task complete and help collaboration with other teams to be seamless. Think about several elements that govern the way you work:
- Empowerment: Agile teams are trusted and empowered to find the best way of achieving goals and tasks.
- Place: Agile teams do not need to be in the same place “work is an activity, not a place”. However, the luxury of being in one place can increase discussion, visual work and build relationships.
- Tools: Agile work makes the very most of software tools, using these systems can ensure everyone is on the same page and contributing to tasks without fractured communication.
Agile work isn’t two dimensional and won’t look the same for every company, there are plenty of ways your team can be agile and adaptive. But at its core, agile work is to complete the work with greater focus, efficiency and causing less stress to the team.
Agile vs Flexible Working
Is agile working the same as flexible working? You will have heard of flexitime; it is commonly known as “working a time that suits an employee’s needs e.g. having a flexible start and finish time”. It also covers part time work and job sharing. The difference with agile working is ‘how’ can new processes, technology and location optimise performance, whereas flexitime is about ‘when’ you work, agile teams display flexible practises. Flexitime prioritises ‘when’ you work rather than ‘how’ you work. If teams need to communicate daily and have weekly meetings or reports, contribution will alter around ‘when’ rather than ‘how’ and ultimately impact the company. The mindset should be ‘how’ can we communicate with minimal constraints and maximum efficiency. ‘How’ can we complete this task with minimal constraints and maximum efficiency. In turn all helping the company achieve its goals.
Benefits to an agile workplace:
- Workplace utilisation – Can you save money on office space and utilise more working from home?
- Attract and retain the best talent – Employees seek more agile work and consider this a priority when looking for work.
- Reduce your carbon footprint – Remote work can reduce your impact on the environment.
- Increase productivity – More time focused on goals.
- Increased efficiency – Less time spent organising work.
- Increased innovations – Creative ideas and new workflows.
When companies are considering how to become more agile, they usually overlook the simple answers to creating a solution for the workforce. Agile working is not about working harder, longer and smarter, it’s about valuing and protecting time and focusing on what really matters. The goals that matter most and the work that will progress them as an employee and push the company forward.