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Agile Workspace Design: Have you provided enough desks?

Truly, there are enough desks
for everyone

Jo-Ann Mann, Serraview

By Jo-Anne Mann

When you’re moving to an agile workspace design for the first time, there’s often a perception among employees that there won’t be enough desks for everyone. Watch this interview to learn proven strategies for effectively dealing with this issue.

Read more about agile workspace design and strategy here: Activity Based Workplace Design: Why One Size Does Not Fit All

VIDEO TRANSCRIPTION:

IAN:
Hi. Ian Morley, Serraview co-founder and Chief Evangelist.
Today I’m joined again by Serraview’s Global Head of Client Success, Jo-Anne Mann. Hey, Jo. Welcome back.

JO:
Great to be here.

IAN:
Quick question for you today from one of our clients. So, a lot of clients are considering a move towards agile workspace design, but they’re wondering how, in your experience, you’ve dealt with the concern from some of your businesses that there won’t be enough free seats when they do move to agile working?

JO:
Yeah, that’s a great question. And I think it’s a concern in many organizations when you first start to roll out an agile workspace design. There’s a couple of things I advise people to remember.

One is to have the discussion openly… don’t shy away from it, number one.

But there is a perception around not enough desks with agile workspace design, because we take the ownership of an individual desk away from a person. So in a traditional workspace, you’ve always had that desk;
nobody else ever sits at it. With agile workspace design, other people will be sitting at that desk.

And so people think, naturally, because you’re not going to give a desk
to every single person, that there’s not going to be enough.

You should be doing a lot of research in your organization before you start agile working. So we did research in our organization that told us 50% of the time, not all people were present in the office.

So for varying reasons around annual vacations, personal time off, they have sick leave, they go to conferences or training courses, and travel between countries, interstate, between cities. Therefore you’re never, ever going to have a full workforce always there.

But there’s an inaccurate perception when people have never been through that transition to agile workspace design before.

So the key thing is to have data. If you’ve got really good data… and that’s where Serraview came in for our organization… around looking at utilization, we can prove to people that they’re not all present every day.

And typically in organizations, if you do that manually and walk around, you can see 50% of desks are not utilized. But people don’t believe perception or what you’ve observed, so I would always turn to a really
good data source.

So use a tool like Serraview that can actually show you that utilization. That will also help your organization sharing that business conversation, and actually taking people on that journey of “here’s the proof in the pudding,” if you like.

Learn more about utilization tracking technology here: Managing Workplace Utilization.

IAN:
And so I imagine that a lot of that’s taking a very emotionally-charged
conversation potentially and changing it into a fact-based one.

JO:
Absolutely. Because there’s a lot of emotions. You know, as you start to implement change to an agile workspace design, people react in different ways.

But if you’ve got some factual data to back that up, that will prove to people that they can actually work in this different way and start being productive.

IAN:
Sounds good. Thanks again.

JO:
Not at all!

IAN:
If you do have any questions for Jo or anyone else at Serraview,
please do reach out to us over Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn, using the hashtag #Askserreview. See you next time.

Thanks.

Best Practices For The Modern Workplace

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