Workplace transformation has become a primary focus for innovative companies. In fact, according to the CBRE 2017 Americas Occupier Survey Report, 86% of respondents planned to re-invent or adapt their workplace standards this year.
A core driver for workplace change is the growing multi-generational workforce. As a result of the diversity, they have higher expectations from their employers than ever before. Key talent looks for more than just a place to sit but a workplace that can help them achieve success through their unique needs and requirements.
Today, corporations are relying heavily on their real estate teams to revolutionize their workplaces into modern spaces where employees and buildings are both effective and efficient. But, where do you start? Open office design, hoteling, agile working? How do you know which strategy will work best for your business?
Leesman describes activity based working (ABW) as a transformational business strategy that provides people with a choice of setting, rather than forcing individuals to work at a singular desk location. Companies who have adopted ABW in their workplace strategy are finding it to be a long-term solution that addresses the modern workforce needs as well as aligning with business goals.
While many companies are realizing the benefits of ABW, the transition doesn’t happen overnight.The process of moving to ABW is often robust with many moving parts. To get started, here are the first four steps you need to take when adopting ABW:
- Preparation: Gather as much data as possible. Understand how employees work using data such as utilization analytics, occupancy rates, and employee surveys. A workplace strategy should be based on data, not on the perception of how people work.
- Planning: Construct a plan to transform people and their workplaces to a more flexible model. The plan should include leveraging the data collected during the preparation phase to map out neighborhoods and business unit adjacencies. For appropriate business units, consider offering the choice to work from home.
- Implementation: Have an 8, 10 or 12-week plan with regular meetings and action items. Use business unit leaders and champions to manage execution. Champions are critical during this phase and should be actively communicating the benefits the employees can expect.
- Enablement: Once you transition people to their new activity based workplace, create a strategy to keep your HR, IT, and CRE teams aligned. Leverage utilization data to test the success of layouts and floor designs. Supply the right technology and create an IT strategy to ensure timely repairs. And use utilization data and employee feedback to keep evolving the strategy.
Forward-thinking companies have been able to achieve success with ABW by following this process. Space management technology is a crucial component of an effective activity based workplace. Without the supporting data, it is extremely difficult to validate the ABW strategy, make improvements, and see continuous cost reduction. While there are misconceptions about ABW, with the right process, technology, and change program, the transition to an activity based workplace can provide numerous benefits felt by real estate, people and your business.