ABW Stats: 7 Reasons Why Activity-Based Working Is The New Norm

by James McDonald on February 19, 2018

ABW (Activity-Based Working) is rapidly becoming the new normal. Think about the design of your home. There are many spaces you can opt to go to based on what you’re doing. If you want to read a book, you might head to your bedroom for some peace and quiet. If you’ve invited a group of friends over, you might venture into the living room where there is plenty of seating and space.

Now think about this dynamic in a work environment. What if employees could freely move to different spaces tailored to their daily activities? For instance, they could start their day in a quiet space to create a presentation and then move to a meeting room to share it with colleagues. This flexibility improves collaboration and innovation in the workplace.

The concept — activity-based working (ABW) — and it’s quickly becoming the new norm for many reasons.

7 Surprising Stats that Support ABW (Activity-Based Working)

There’s plenty of research that supports the activity-based working (ABW) model. Consider these seven telling statistics:

  • 72 percent of workers said quiet spaces to make phone calls or focus on specific projects would improve productivity. (Dale’s Office Interiors)
  • 65 percent of workers noted that more conference/collaborative spaces for smaller groups would increase productivity. (APQC)
  • 88 percent of highly engaged employees feel they have control over their work experience, while only 14 percent of highly disengaged employees feel the same. (Steelcase)
  • Innovators overall report two times more choice in when and where to work. (Gensler)
  • 84 percent of millennials report some degree of flexible working in their organizations. (Deloitte)
  • 44 percent of global business and HR executives identified changing work environments and flexible working arrangements as the top demographic and socio-economic driver of change across industries. (World Economic Forum)
  • By 2020, organizations that support a choose your own workstyle (CYOW) culture will boost employee retention rates by more than 10 percent. (Gartner)

From these statistics, the benefits of activity-based working (ABW) and its rising popularity are clear. But as with any change in the workplace, some employees are likely to resist this new workplace model.

To overcome this resistance, follow these best practices.


How to Overcome Resistance to ABW (Activity-Based Working)

One of the most simple ways is to actively communicate with the workforce. Explain the strategy behind moving to an activity-based working (ABW) style as well as the benefits it will provide. Showing a sense of enthusiasm as you do so will help inspire other employees to embrace new work settings and working processes.

Collaboration between different departments — specifically FM, IT and HR — is also an important factor. Each of these departments plays a role in improving the employee experience, which makes communication between them key. This requires having access to the same information and working together to adopt an effective workplace model.

In addition to a physical space that supports activity-based working (ABW), the right technology also needs to be in place. Employees should be able to easily book different workspaces and request additional equipment, whether they are working from their desk or on a mobile device.

Cue iOFFICE Hummingbird. This workplace solution allows employees to navigate floor plans for operational use, with real-time space usage provided. Through this same easy-to-use app, employees can then book an appropriate space that meets their needs and invite others to attend as well.

With the right processes and technologies in place, an ABW strategy improves workforce productivity and engagement. It can even help attract and retain talent. Getting your workplace on board with activity-based working requires making some adjustments, but it’s worth the time and effort. 

Want to learn more about how companies like Sodexo, Genentech and Hershey updated their workplace strategy to meet the needs of a changing workforce? Check out our latest eBook, Building the Workplace of the Future.


James McDonald

James McDonald is a sports enthusiast, brother in Christ and once swam in a tank with the infamous TV sharks.

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