Published on 21-02-2017
Along with current HR trends, such as employer branding and talent recruitment, another term is being used more frequently in the HR industry: Agile working. An increasing number of organisation introducing agile working initiatives but, according to interviews, most of the employees do not really understand what the concept is about and often take it as a synonym for flexible working. This blog post is going to explain everything that really matters in terms of an agile working environment.
Agile Working is More than Flexible!
Flexible working is focused on two major aspect, time and place. Employees are allowed to decide when and where they want to work, which allows them to design their daily life more flexible. Agile working introduces a third dimensions: Autonomy, i.e. how people choose to work. In a company, that allows their employees to work in an agile way, the staff is empowered to work in a way they think is most successful to achieve set goals. It is not possible, however, to allow this kind of autonomy in every work field because, for example, work processes in production require detailed procedures, which limits the possibility of autonomy.
Another difference between flexible and agile working is the required commitment of the employer themselves. Flexible working simply requires modern technology such as PCs, tablets, and smart phones whereas agile working also depends on an effective internal cooperation and communication between employers and employees.
Beneficial for Everyone!
The concept of agile working obviously offers many advantages for employees but, on top of that, it is also extremely beneficial for the company itself. Many organisations hope that the concept increases the efficiency and productivity of their employees and therefore not only stimulates a long-term growth but also guarantees a high level of customer and employee satisfaction. Current studies demonstrate that the productivity of employees is highly dependent on their satisfaction and increases if they get the possibility to decide how, when, and where they want to fulfil their tasks. Agile working consequently provides a win-win situation for both, employers and employees: Organisations can increase their efficiency while staying flexible and employees gain more autonomy in their working environment as well as private lives.
The term “Work-Life Balance“ is nowadays a popular way to describe the required balance between work and free time. The concept of agile working takes this trend into account by providing the employee with more flexibility and autonomy.
The term “Work-Life Integration”, on the other hand, is a rather new concept in the business world and emerged as a consequence of the digitalisation and technological progress at work but also in our private lives. Devices such as PCs, smart phones or tablets are daily companions and offer the possibility to access work as well as private data everywhere at any time. That kind of unlimitied accessibility offers many positive opportunities because we are no longer bound to an office desk but are able to integrate our working hours better into our private lives. That kind of work-time management is called “Connected lifestyle” or “Work-Life Integration” and sometimes replaces the principle of Work-Life Balance.
Many companies already allow employees to work more flexible and independent and measure their productivity on the quality of the result instead of the hours spent in the office. Corporate consultans and freelancer adapted that kind of work-life integration already in their working day, which provides them, for example, with the possibility to handle personal appointments during a regular weekday and instead work on evenings or at the weekend.
This blog post was inspired by “Agile Working made simple – defining Agile Working and how it is different from Flexible Working“.