Activity-based Working: The Pros and Cons

Others Dec 20 2019

The workspace is ever-changing and evolving with the times. This requires also the fitting office furniture solutions. The focus of work for today's employees is more different than ever before. Research shows that more businesses are looking at space agility as a key function in their wider business strategy. Companies that innovate or keep abreast of industry trends and standards are more likely to find success than those that become complacent.

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This is where Activity Based Working (ABW) comes in. It is gaining traction in businesses throughout the world due to the many benefits of the open office concept and unassigned office workstations.


What is Activity-based Working?


Activity-based working (ABW) is when no employee has an assigned or permanent workstation. The workspace is divided into defined activity areas that employees can use to perform specific tasks, like collaborating, learning, or even socializing. Instead of spending all day in one location, employees select the office workstations that best fit their current needs. By providing your employees with a variety of locations to work based on the activity they're engaged in, you're facilitating their creativity and innovation, which expands the boundaries of their capabilities and work output.

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Pro: Boost in productivity and engagement


Enabling employees to work in the setting which they feel would best cater to each task, has been proven to increase motivation levels, creativity, concentration and collaboration with colleagues across departments. Activity-based working can make it easier for employees to manage their time effectively.


Pro: Efficient use of space


With no individually assigned workstations and an emphasis on breakout areas, space can be better utilized for the task at hand.  Instead of purchasing a new desk and a new office chair that remains empty a few days every week, another employee is able to use that workspace since nothing has been assigned.


Pro: Cut down on the cost


ABW allows companies to cut down on the number of workstations they need by accounting for remote workers who do not spend each day in the office. This optimization of space then lowers the amount of money being wasted on unused space and facilities. With these decreases comes lower energy bills and potentially lower occupancy costs.


Pro: Attraction and retention of talent


Adopting modern work concepts such as ABW demonstrates that a company is progressive which prioritizes the requirements and wellbeing of your staff, as well as how to unlock their full potential through resource and design. Agile working and activity-based environments are a great way to recruit and retain the best new talent.

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The Cons of ABW


ABW also has its set of cons which can be a disadvantage for the office environment. But, there are solutions available that can help you resolve those issues.


Con: Noise and Privacy affects focus and communication


Solution: Incorporate acoustic office furniture and Acoustical panels or space division, where staff can go to concentrate on individual work or hold confidential meetings and phone calls.


Con: Non-availability of desks


Solution: Introduce an electronic booking and space management to eliminate disruption and overlapping of space bookings.


Con: Reduced personal storage


Solution: Place personal lockers near the work area for easy access and allocate keys to the staff.


Con: Initial Cost is higher


Solution: ABW furniture differs from traditional workspaces and requires a major investment. Select a suitable solution provider to optimize your space and money.

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Is ABW right for you?


The challenges of an ABW are relatively new, but with the growing and changing face of today's workforce, there are plenty of opportunities to find that sweet spot where employees are engaged, inspired, and satisfied with their work and their ability to think outside the box. Analyze your current setup and determine if the ABW model truly is the right move for your business and its employees.

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If you're looking for more information, we invite you to reach out to us! Click here to contact us today.