Agile working

What is agile working and why is it important? Read about how new ways of working are helping companies adapt to change.

Do the preparation task first. Then read the article and do the exercises.

The world we live in is changing and it is changing rapidly. Whether this is driven by technology, globalisation or in response to specific crises, there is no doubt that the workplace of today needs to constantly adapt to ongoing changes in order to remain efficient and competitive. 

In more traditional work settings, the definition of a good employee was someone who came to the office on time at 9 a.m., sat at their desk and worked hard, taking direction from their managers and following the rules. This model employee would be there rain or shine, always appearing busy until it was time to go home at 6 p.m. But with the development of smartphones and internet technologies, many companies are starting to form virtual teams with team members living in different time zones, and employees are now finding themselves answering emails, attending meetings and working on reports from home outside their usual working hours. People now need to work smarter and not just harder.

It is not only the time and location of the modern workplace that is changing. The role of the manager is evolving too. Many organisations are moving away from an approach where managers constantly supervise their staff and tell people exactly what is to be done. Instead, they are adopting a more project-based approach, where managers have the responsibility of clarifying project goals and enabling teamwork and collaboration. The roles that the individuals play might differ from project to project, and agile managers can serve to support team members in adapting the way they contribute to a team.

These changes in modern work practices mean that organisations need to adopt agile working approaches so that they can find the most appropriate and efficient way of getting things done. The consumer goods company Unilever describes agile working as 'an approach to getting work done with maximum flexibility and minimum constraints'. 

Agile working is not just about allowing employees to work from home and decide their own working hours. Another example of agile working might be workspaces designed to suit the different kinds of work taking place. This is an environment that helps people to be at their best and most productive. An agile workspace might include open areas with small tables for people to gather and work together and standing desks to improve energy levels and productivity. It might include quiet zones for a bit of thinking time and social areas for staff to chat and relax together. Like most things with agile working, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Agile workspaces have to be adapted to the individuals and their roles in the company because agile working is about valuing people and their activities and not having them limited by the physical workplace.

Basically, agile working is about being ready to change the way we work – whether it be our working hours, our physical workplace, the technology we use, the nature of our roles and the way we work together, or the way our work is done. By encouraging such agility and flexibility, we can adapt to the ever-changing world around us, while creating a more dynamic workforce and improving our performance and productivity.

Task 1

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Task 2

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B1 English level (intermediate)

Submitted by haskan1987 on Fri, 30/09/2022 - 20:24

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l have read that articel and l have gone inspred to be agile person and also leader. Actualy when l think sometimes we put the limit for our employess as a employers l made a decisiton to clrify my teammate's ways to get high performance. From now working everywhere is not ımportant to be agile because all companies let to work for their staff and we have to make a differences to be agile on their eyes. Leaders effect and encourage their employess with breave attitues. Thank you for your attantion and reading my articel and also l have to make friends to ımprove my english skill honestly thank you

Submitted by BeccaWu on Sun, 18/09/2022 - 13:56

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Unfortunately, I didn't have the opportunity to experience agile working, which sounds like a more efficient working approach for a rapidly changing world, due to the traditional work setting I am in. However, this article inspire me to have an agile mind, adopt agile approaches when I do my work, so I can adapt to the changing world I live in.

Submitted by Nandar Su Hlaing on Fri, 19/08/2022 - 07:12

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During Covid-19 second wave, our company adapted agile working style, if you don't need to come to office, you can work from home. So our company staffs are not suffered much covid disease than others and we could more productive using this way.

Submitted by Tina Li on Mon, 08/08/2022 - 08:58

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I am very lucky to work at a German company in Shanghai. After 3 months of lock-down, our partner decided to let us to choose WFH or work at office. I am more productive and efficient when I work at office, and also feel flexible to WFH.

Submitted by Sihem2022 on Sun, 31/07/2022 - 13:53

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unfortunately i didn't have the chance to try the agile working, although the occurence of the covid 19 pandemic but our company didn't make any changes in its way of work, the company adopted traditional working approaches , i got one month without work and then i came back to my desk office working my fixed hours. after that i felt a non considered employee because the company does't care about the health of its employees and doesn't trust them but i am sure it never increases its performance and productivity

Submitted by tereachiu on Tue, 24/05/2022 - 15:40

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Due to Covid 19, I needed to work from home. This article shows exactly what changes happened during the hardest period and post-restriction time of this pandemic event. An agile approach at work for workers or workplaces also means an ongoing learning and improvement for adaptability for everyone.

Submitted by tonris on Thu, 12/05/2022 - 15:59

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Due to the Covid-19,we must find more efficient ways to improve our work.

Submitted by Kibidango on Sun, 27/03/2022 - 09:36

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Thank you so much for introducing an interesting article.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, I have been forced to work from home.
As the document says, remote work have some advantages such as flexible working hours.
However, I had some negative feelings since I'm not good with computer.
For example, I sometimes had technical troubles when I used online meeting soft.
Now that I have changed my mind to adopt new approaches to make my work agile.
I think that is the key to improve my jobs and make team works of my company more efficient.
In addition to that, it’s a good opportunity for me to think about the change of the role of managers as I had an old and conventional image on them.
Thank you very much again.

Submitted by Islam Ali on Tue, 15/02/2022 - 12:59

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I hope all the companies follow this agile approach at work

Submitted by nazmulhaqsmsa on Sun, 14/11/2021 - 20:44

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Technologies help us too much to do luxurious life.