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‘Agile working’ coming to you soon

Martin DaviesAs an FM you’re likely to be at the forefront of profound change in the way your organisation works, and if you aren’t personally involved yet you will be soon. Martin Davies, director of training, BIFM Training explains more

New technology enables many different ways of working which were unthinkable even recently, and older, existing ways of working are not just dated but ineffective. Any organisation failing to embrace changes in the way people now work will mark itself out as being more costly, wasteful, and less efficient than their peers.

Often the focus is on how technical ‘gizmos’ and the internet are agents of this change, but the real effect on people and organisations is how these enable widely different and flexible ways of working, in the office, on the move, at different times, in different locations, in new ways, and literally anywhere.

The concept of work being conducted in an established way, at set hours, in one location is increasingly less effective and in some cases actively counter-productive. Whilst certain functions still require employees to be present in fixed places for fixed hours that’s no longer true for many roles and organisations.

Indeed in many organisations around the country it is now common practice for there to be far fewer desks in the office than there are members of staff to fill them. With the rise of the cloud and other internet aids, alongside advances in mobile and tablet technology there is absolutely no need for all members of staff to be present in the office at all times, saving time, space and money.

But how does the process work?


  • People enabled to make choices about where, when and how
    they work
  • People enabled to work effectively with those they need to, such as team colleagues, other teams, customers, partners, and both in and out of the office
  • Resources are ‘ours’ to share not ‘mine’ to own
  • Workplaces are designed to enable people to do their best work every day
  • Spaces are allocated on the basis of function, not hierarchy
  • Supporting the ability to change teams and organisational groups at pace
  • Breaking down territories, boundaries and silos
  • The most efficient use of valuable building assets
  • A team zone to work with other members of their team when they need to
  • Access to a variety of shared spaces located close to team zones
  • Spaces equipped and maintained to be as effective as they can possibly be
  • Using spaces as needed but releasing them for use by others when not needed
  • Being able to access applications, data and files from any location in which they work
  • Able to receive and make telephone calls from any location in which they work


Benefits are significant for both organisations and employees, and whilst agile working is often driven by the potentially huge cost savings in space and real estate terms, when linked to business objectives the initiative will deliver true value across the business, not just to the bottom line:

  • Improve intra- and inter- team dynamics with the ability to work next to different people
  • Improving cross disciplinary working and the ability to get teams together rapidly
  • Improving productivity by using the right spaces and tools for different activities
  • Scalable business with elastic space that accommodates change without cost
  • Improving image as an employer with a workplace and work styles that support brand values
  • Improving recruitment and retention as work and location can change with personal needs
  • Improving sustainability through less space, less travel and so less CO2
  • Improving business continuity with processes less dependent on physical location
  • And yes, significant cost reductions with less office space needed


  • Fitting life into work where roles are suitable
  • Working at home at times
  • Working different hours
  • Making time for other things that are important in your personal life
  • No clutter because you clear desks after use leaving the space clean and fresh
  • Getting more done with the right tools, spaces, help and environments to work at peak effectiveness
  • Health & energy – sedentary work at the same desk for hours on end is detrimental to your health, but with agile working people can move around a variety of stimulating work places
  • Become more organised in the way you plan time through the need for forward planning
  • A more sociable environment in getting to know more people in your and adjacent teams, providing opportunities for innovation


The true success of an agile working programme lies in the effectiveness of the new ways of working and how well the intended changes are sustained. Agile working should place people at the very heart of the process. It should also consider what is required to deliver sustainable behavioural change as part of a move to agile ways of working.

You’ll need a clear framework and implementation model setting out elements of the process, why they are necessary, their inter-dependencies, and need to consider the key issues to be faced and how to address them.

The BIFM runs a course drawing on practical applications and examples of how agile working works in the real world. This includes the orovision of guidance on the introduction and operation of agile working, practical examples and case studies.

Further can be found online at www.bifm-training.com.

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