Say hello to activity based working — a design concept that is gaining momentum at offices around the world. Activity based working is based on the premise that no one should be bound to one type of workstation. Instead, employees are encouraged to choose from whichever office setting best suits the work they are doing. The goal is greater flexibility, creativity and efficiency.
Going Beyond Hot Desking
Activity based working is a more flexible alternative to its workspace-sharing cousin, hot desking. With hot desking, employees choose from a selection of communal desks in one office. Aside from whoever is using it at the time, each workstation is essentially the same. Although some love it, hot desking isn’t for everyone. To some, frequent desk rotations feel more like a disruptive game of musical chairs than a productive work environment.
With activity based working, offices are still communal but offer a variety of workstations — each tailored to unique roles and tasks.
Let’s take a look at your typical activity based workplace. One side of the office may offer quiet, secluded areas for tasks that require concentration or confidentiality. Another side may offer communal tables, couches and dry-erase marker walls that encourage creativity and brainstorming. Throughout the day, employees can take their pick!
In this example, The Commonwealth Bank in Sydney Australia switched from a traditional office to a more flexible, activity based culture. Their employees enjoy workstations fitted with adjustable docking stations, LCD collaborative screens and Bluetooth “softphones” that allow them to make calls from anywhere in the office. The project aimed to empower employees and become a nearly paperless organization.
Since the transition, the bank’s CIO, Michael Harte, has seen an extraordinary collaboration between all areas of the organization. The new format of the office is also crucial to the bank’s branding and attracting their desired audience — a young, vibrant workforce of IT graduates who may not have considered a career opportunity in banking.
Future-Proof Your Office
Organizations must adapt quickly to engage a modern workforce that desires more flexible, collaborative and nontraditional work environments.
First, embrace the latest technology. BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) culture shows no sign of slowing down, so it is essential to have a strong WiFi connection that supports multiple laptops and mobile devices.
Next, office design must be aligned with this focus on connectivity and technology. Ideal for activity based working, hot desking or any modern alternative, these design solutions are essential.
Have you ever worked in an activity based workplace or similar model? Share your story below!