With restrictions set to ease and budgets thrown out the window for this financial year, many organisations are rethinking what the NEW norm looks like. Studies are already revealing that Australia’s workforce has enjoyed numerous benefits of working from home, among them, reduced commuting, increased work-life balance, and greater productivity. As a result, many workplaces are now looking at how they can support this newfound flexibility and reduce their operational expense.
The concept of ABW, or agile working is receiving a lot of attention, and while the past couple of months have been manageable for the short term, there are a number of key factors that should be considered before investing in this approach for the long term.
This is BRM's approach to change through Activity Based Working:
1. Change for the Right Reason
Activity Based Working can encourage collaboration and flexibility but you need to determine if it is the right fit for your organisation. Examine the ways in which ABW can help your team respond to opportunities and changing needs as they arise.
2. Get Your Leaders On Board
Making a significant change to the way people work after COVID, is going to require strong support and advocacy from your senior team. They will need to lead by example, adopting ABW early on to ensure successful change within the organisation.
3. Respect The 4 Pillars
Ensure there is equal focus on the space, technology, people and management (or process). There’s no point providing people with great collaboration and concentration spaces if the technology does not support their new flexibility, and/or if managers still demand old-school processes and visibility.
4. Find The Right Fit
There are a wide variety of activity-based working solutions around. Explore the various options and then find the model that best suits your organisation. Your workspace could be fully fixed, fully flexi or any permutation between. From a diversity perspective, activity-based working acknowledges we’re all different. One person requires isolation to put together a presentation whereas another needs a busy setting with visual and auditory stimulation to do the same task. Activity-based working requires trust so people can choose where, when and how they do their best work.
5. Engage With Your Team
Coming back from isolation, there is an opportunity to harness the best of both pre and post COVID work styles. Survey, engage and get your people involved to reflect on these and it will assist to tailor your chosen activity-based working model and commence deeper explorations with your employees about their preferred and future ways of working.
6. Support The Change
An effective change management program will take the organisation on a journey – it will involve and engage with people through a variety of milestones and at every level of the organisation so that everyone knows what’s changing, why the organisation has chosen this strategy, what the future looks like, how we’re going to get there.
You can have the latest and greatest technology and a beautifully designed workspace, but if your people haven’t bought in to why the organisation is changing and they can’t see the benefits, then the change will be rejected and project will fail.
7. Don’t Lose Focus
It’s inevitable that some of your people won’t be excited by the change. Learn from these people, understand the friction point and incorporate them into your focus groups.
8. Culture Counts
For activity-based working to be successful it needs to become part of your company culture and be an operational expectation. A good change management plan will look for ways to embed and promote new behaviours through a broad range of channels and initiatives.
9. Have A Plan
It’s almost impossible to work in an ABW or mobile way if you’re restricted by local or physical files. How did you survive COVID? How many times did you open that filing cabinet? Is it really needed?
Systematically address the processes and systems within your organisation that create paper. Draw a line in the sand and make a commitment.
10. Lead Through Trust
Activity-based working requires a different style of leadership, one that is based on trust and is primarily focused on output. Understand that everyone is unique with different needs. Trust you have employed quality and dependable staff that will not only complete their task, but will thrive in the new environment.
BRM finds, creates and delivers workplaces that support and nurture their people. As independent consultants we’ve partnered with clients across a range of industries to provide end to end commercial property and workplace solutions.
Are you re-thinking your workplace? We'd love to hear from you! Contact us for a chat!
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