Hybrid and flexible working models are here to stay. And recent research shows that by embracing this, companies can expect to see higher productivity as well as more engaged, happier employees.
Within this work model, though, both the role of the office and workplace policies must shift. Attracting people to the office is critical to keep a sense of community and boosting return on investment. And this requires workplace managers to rethink how their spaces can best suit their people and promote a sense of autonomy and flexibility.
Activity-based working (ABW) is a methodology that allows them to do just this. In this article, we explore what it is and how workplace technology has made it easier to implement and benefit from.
What is activity-based working?
Erik Veldhoen was the first to introduce the term ABW in his book from 1995 “The Demise of the Office,” exploring it as an ethos that provides a variety of spaces to suit different types of work, such as quiet spaces for focused work, and creative spaces for ideation sessions. ABW helps organizations to define a human-centric workplace strategy where the physical space, company culture, and technology work together.
While, back then, workplace technology was not advanced enough to fully support this framework, the past 30 years have seen huge changes. Now, people can work remotely or they can come into the office to connect with colleagues, access quiet spaces, and more. And workplace technology means that one space can meet the differing needs an employee has throughout their day.
The advantages of activity-based working in 2023
ABW benefits employees, team performance, and bottom-line profits. This is because it:
- Increases connections and a sense of belonging and gives people a sense of shared ownership of the space.
- Gives people autonomy to choose the styles of work that suit them best. This means more engaged and productive employees.
- Boosts innovation by encouraging spontaneous collaboration and making it easier for teams to get together to brainstorm.
- Creates an optimal working environment that is worth employees’ commuting for.
- Allows you to save money by making better use of your space and cutting unnecessary rooms.
How to use workplace technology to enable a successful activity-based working environment
In this section, we explore three ways you can use workplace technology to get the most out of activity-based learning and further boost the employee experience.
1. Apps that boost autonomy
In the new world of flexible working, hybrid working, desk booking software just doesn’t cut it anymore. Employees need to be able to be certain about which areas of the office they’ll use at which times of the day and how they’ll get benefits from coming in.
For this reason, an app that allows them to select different types of space, connect with colleagues in meeting rooms and get an idea of office occupancy is essential. Inside Mapiq, for example, people can always know when others are coming in, assess which spaces are quiet, and most importantly, choose different types of workspace to suit their needs. Features such as parking space analysis and lunch booking also make their day at work more streamlined.
2. Utilize sensors to leverage real-time availability
Solutions based on desk booking alone often don't reflect the actual usage of spaces. This can limit the flexibility needed for ac-hoc activities essential to ABW. Sensors can provide real-time information on available spaces and they are an important addition to an activity-based workplace.
The accurate occupancy data they provide allows people to always have a real-time overview of available facilities like meeting rooms, phone booths, and workspaces so that they can book when it suits them. This improves employee satisfaction and means you don’t face issues with over-booking. Learn about the sensors our solution integrates with.
3. Make use of data
The ideal workspace goes beyond just meeting employee needs. Instead, it anticipates them. With workplace technology, you can get data on how your employees are using your space so you can identify which types of space they might like more of and which areas you can reduce to save money.
Mapiq, for example, uses an algorithm to understand your employee patterns and provides smart suggestions on how you can improve your workplace. Adding our occupancy add-on to Mapiq unlocks even more enriched and reliable data to foster an ideal activity-based working environment.
Ready to create a future-proof space that continuously serves your employees? Contact us today to learn more!