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Activity-Based Working is Making a Positive Impact on the Workplace

by James McDonald on May 4, 2019
Checklist: Your Guide To Success With Activity-Based Working

Activity-based working (ABW) is fast becoming one of the most popular workplace strategy trends. In an activity-based working environment, employees choose between a variety of different workspaces, each designed for a specific activity. Employees don’t have a single dedicated workstation, but they can work in the kind of space that best supports the type of work they are doing on any given day.

The efficacy of activity-based working is often debated. Some analysts believe it’s a workplace management game-changer. Others argue the disadvantages of activity-based working outweigh its potential benefits.

However, as you’ll see in the 10 statistics below, activity-based working can absolutely have a positive impact on an organization. And this evidence isn’t anecdotal, either. Research objectively shows activity-based working can increase productivity, improve employee satisfaction, improve space utilization and reduce real estate costs.

How agile is your workplace? Take this 2-minute quiz to find out. 

Activity-Based Working: 10 Surprising Stats

● Nearly 70 of participants in a study by Dutch researchers Susan Smulders and Denise Clarijs say an activity-based working environment increases their productivity, and two-thirds feel their work is more stimulating (Kinnarps)

● Over 60 percent of respondents in Smulders and Clariji’s survey say they have more energy in an activity-based working environment (Kinnarps)

● British utilities company National Grid reduced operational costs by $11.43-14.29 million by implementing activity-based working. It also saw an 8 percent increase in overall productivity. (Woodhouse Workspace)

● 88 percent of highly engaged employees have the option to choose where in the office they work based on the specific task(s) they need to do (Steelcase)

● Almost 80 percent of employees say their productivity is influenced by whether or not they have access to a quiet room where they can focus (Skanska and JLL)

● After adopting activity-based working, workplace design firm Oktra was able to eliminate 30 percent of desks (Acoustic Bulletin)

● 81 percent of employees at businesses that use ABW say the company culture supports mobility and flexibility (Leesman)

● 98 percent of highly satisfied employees work at a company where they have the freedom to move around the office during the day (Steelcase)

● 78 percent of employees who work in an activity-based working environment say they are satisfied with the support they receive for planned meetings (Leesman)

● Over 60 percent say the availability of spaces where they can relax, meet with colleagues and be creative influences their productivity (Skanska and JLL)

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Implementing Activity-Based Working: 3 Tips

If you decide to implement an activity-based working environment, keep these three things in mind:

  • Make sure the space meets the needs of both the extroverted and introverted members of your workforce.
  • Provide ample workspaces for a wide range of tasks -- from enthusiastic collaboration to quiet focused work and everything in between.
  • Ask employees for feedback on the kinds of spaces they want. This helps make it easier to get buy-in.

The next time you hear a colleague criticizing activity-based working, just show them this list of statistics. It’s hard to argue with someone who has reliable data on their side.

How well is your workplace equipped to support activity-based working? Take our two-minute assessment to find out. 

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