Flexible vs. Agile Working
Many companies realized that employees are at the very heart of every business. Treating them with respect will increase workers satisfaction and boost the efficiency of their daily tasks. What’s the best way to do that? Give them an opportunity to decide how they would like to work. The companies who realized this early on usually came from IT and similar industries. Why? Because they need to stay focused, sharp-minded and be able to make decisions fast. If they are not on the top of their game, they will lack motivation and productivity. In this article, we will cover flexible and agile working, the most popular ways of keeping employees properly motivated during a workday.
What is Flexible Working?
Flexible working refers to the request from an employee of an alternative working pattern or schedule to the standard norm of a company. It is a relatively popular way of working, especially in IT and marketing industry. There are many ways of flexible working. It fits the need of the employee such as working from home, working different hours than usual business hours, working part-time etc. So, it is mainly seen as an employee benefit. Why flexible working?
Let’s take an example. If a parent must drop or pick up their child from school at a certain time, a parent might want to change their hours on a certain day. Being a parent is a full-time job, and it isn’t the easy one. Especially if they have more kids. Therefore, they need to have the flexibility to take care of them when they need them the most. That is just one example, and you already can see the point of why it exists.
Benefits of Flexible Working
As we mentioned above, flexible working is mainly worker benefit. Flexible working can provide your workers with an opportunity to be at their most productive while boosting their engagement and job satisfaction. They can easily make a better schedule of their time and it gives them chance to fit other commitments and activities around work.
There are also some business benefits, even though it’s better suited for workers. Companies can see improvements in the efficiency of their workers. Then there is a chance to have extended operating hours. Biggest benefit might be the continuity of your staff. Because you adopted flexible working to your business, someone who might leave, because of the lack of it, decided to stay.
What is Agile Working?
Agile working is different from the flexible working policy. With an agile working environment, flexibility is the norm rather than the exception. What is agile working? We can say that it’s maximum flexibility that empowers workers. It allows people to work where, when and how they choose to work to meet individual and organizational goals.
You know what that means? You can work from home, office, beach, bar, etc. Anywhere you want, you name it. You decide how you organize your work day.
Rather than giving employees control over the time and location of their work like flexible working, the agile approach adds autonomy to the mix. But that doesn’t mean a chaotic work environment or lack of management.
The aim of agile working is to create more responsive, efficient and effective organizations. Along with that, to have in mind adaptivity and organization-wide responsiveness. The goal that is considered for workers is to boost productivity and satisfaction.
Benefits of Agile Working
The benefits of agile working can include similar benefits of flexible working like better productivity, better schedule of the time. Benefits that flexible work doesn’t offer is lower office costs because there is no need to have as many desks, chairs, and other equipment, as for businesses with standard business hours. The biggest obstacle that businesses can come across is an unexpected incident or problem. By having implemented agile working you have a variety of work schedules. This way you increased the ability to be always prepared to accommodate the unexpected or unusual situation, or even to adapt to demanding projects and focus more on customers.
For workers, we previously mentioned better work-life balance in benefits on flexible working. Here those balance is even more improved. You can work on evening, night or any other time you want to do. Agile working offers them the best way possible to tweak their schedule to social and work activities. Agile working in many traditional work environments was always considered as a perk for those executives and other high positions. Therefore, this type of working spreads the feeling like an important part to all levels of the organization which leads to high satisfaction of an employee.
Studies have shown that remote or location-independent workers are more productive and happier than those who work in an office. And when employees are more fulfilled and engaged at work, the whole company benefits.
Those two types of working have their own challenges they meet along the journey. For flexible working to work, companies need to take a cultural shift and a supportive infrastructure. While for agile working it requires trust and flexible infrastructure to work. These workplace strategies may work brilliantly in some organizations, while not being the best suitable for other organizations. The key is to identify a workplace strategy that suits your business and then design your office space around it. Both of those strategies have their benefits, it all depends on which one fits your organization the best. Once, you identify your strategy, you will experience many benefits as a whole unit.