The way we work is changing. As we start to understand more about the benefits of flexible and adaptable working environments, ideas like agile working are starting to become increasingly popular.
These modern work spaces are much different from how we used to set offices up, with classic desking gone in favour of different zones and furniture to suit specific tasks. From a business standpoint, this is all about encouraging collaboration, and a better, more enjoyable working environment.
In addition to these obvious working benefits, the trend for open-plan flexible offices is also due to the clear health benefits involved in this type of office space.
As the majority of jobs have moved away from physical labour such as manufacturing and industry to office-based work, we have become far more stationary throughout the day.
Spending most of the day sitting at a desk is bad for your health, and there has been a huge rise in specific medical issues amongst office workers in recent years. Problems including sciatica, hip bursitis, and other chronic problems are increasingly common due to prolonged periods of sitting in the same place.
Contemporary workplaces recognise this problem and address it by promoting regular movement. While the Western world hasn’t quite embraced the Japanese approach to exercising at work, agile and flexible offices instead get staff moving between different work zones.
In a modern, flexible workplace, workers rarely sit in one place for a prolonged period of time. Instead, as you move between different tasks in your daily working routines, you also move into different areas, which are purposely designed for that task.
For group work you will move into a collaborative zone, while private pods are designed for one-to-one meetings, silent zones with bench desking are great for working on your computer, while sit-stand desks also help to alleviate issues like sciatica.
By moving between zones in this way, staff members move around the office, loosening and stretching muscle groups that are causing medical issues through inactivity.
As well as these physical benefits, the flexible design of modern workplaces also offers mental health benefits too. Thanks to a wave of research, employers are gaining a greater understanding of how the working environment can help staff to stay happy and motivated.
The zone-style layout of agile working environments is hugely beneficial to a worker’s emotional state, as the movement between workstations helps to break up the day. Contemporary workplaces also utilise colour to create a more enjoyable environment to work in as well.
In addition to the actual layout of the office, many businesses are also adopting more progressive policies aimed at improving overall wellbeing. Benefits such as team activities, social areas, and providing snacks and drinks all helps to make staff feel appreciated and comfortable.
There is also a rise in companies embracing staff working from home on a more regular basis, which helps workers’ wellbeing by providing a greater sense of work-life balance.
As the benefits of this style of working become more apparent, the biggest companies around the world are starting to implement more flexible, progressive styles of working.