Agile working

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.

Preparation

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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Discussion

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Average: 4.7 (34 votes)
Profile picture for user DanGemmiti

Submitted by DanGemmiti on Tue, 16/04/2024 - 14:40

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I have experience in this type of work. I can study English while in a meeting right now!

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Submitted by brunochavetta on Sun, 10/03/2024 - 00:26

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I haven't had the opportunity to experience this type of work, but I prefer it. It seems to me like a good methodology that allows connecting people from different places.

Submitted by raquelroa on Mon, 18/12/2023 - 21:10

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I did not experience this type of working business approach but I believe it is a very powerful weapon for increasing productivity and enhancing performance for any organisation.

Submitted by sunari on Fri, 03/11/2023 - 07:26

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During pandemic, I have been 50% working from home. Now, The pandemic end, working place is now more flexible, when you cannot come to the office. The pandemic forces us to completely change the way we work.

Submitted by kenan.zero on Thu, 02/11/2023 - 07:23

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My experience is very positive. I feel more freedom at work. I can work from home, and I can have flexible working hours. I can bring more value to my work than I was previously able to do. Overall, this work environment has had a positive impact on my work and everyday life.

Submitted by amtika on Sat, 23/09/2023 - 14:07

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In this changing world, companies have to adapt, to improve and to find everyday new ways to increase productivity and effectiveness in their business. I think agile working is one of the best ways to do that. But on the other hand, companies which are in the restauration field for example or in the pharmacy business are still struggling to applicate agile working because of their activity. These companies have need to find some ways to make their employees happier and more efficient.

Submitted by Arwa90s on Sun, 27/08/2023 - 09:28

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As a freelancer, I have experienced both the advantages and challenges of this type of work. The flexibility it offers is truly remarkable, allowing me to choose when and where I work. I have even had the opportunity to travel for three months while successfully completing my tasks, which was an incredible experience and enhanced my productivity.

However, maintaining good time management skills is crucial in this line of work. Our daily lives are filled with numerous distractions, such as smartphones, television, family, and friends. As a result, I find it necessary to regularly review and adjust my plans every 4 to 6 days to ensure I am effectively managing my time. Meeting deadlines is of utmost importance, and I strive to complete my projects and accommodate any requested modifications within the agreed-upon time frame. It can be challenging, as clients often request changes, and it is essential to consider these variables. This can sometimes lead to stress, as I feel the constant pressure of time and the need to deliver on schedule to avoid disappointing my clients.

Submitted by mvccortez on Thu, 01/06/2023 - 12:00

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I’ve been in the job market for more than twenty years and I totally agree with the text – the world, especially the business world has been expressly redesigning. However, in my opinion, we have a different component that makes it accelerate and it might be analysis. It was the pandemic time that make the companies think outside the box as well as show us that the traditional work settings could be (and were) changing.
There is no doubt that the agile approach has been given a huge contribution to the companies as well the employees. The way we work, the environment, the technology, the roles and the management of people make the goals more achievable. In my current job, we start to implement project-based on this approach and I would say, the experience has been awesome with collaborated teamwork making performance rise and great results.

Submitted by Ibrahimyousef on Tue, 30/05/2023 - 16:02

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Unfortunately, the coved- 19 it is agile working while staff worked at home is very agile . Moreover, the education online for about 3 years .
I think, experience is agile working at least 3 years and a lot of skills and courses.

Submitted by Awa9102000 on Wed, 10/05/2023 - 08:19

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I have not yet had the opportunity to experience the agile working approach because i have jot i great experience of the professional world even though i made a lot of internships during these last years. However, I have been many times at my cousin's former workplace where that approach has been being ran. The workers have a kitchen, a playing hall, many games therein and a refreshing space where they can relax and breathe fresh air. In add, they have not set work time thus they be productive wherever they feel like. I suppose the big boss has ensured he can assess the productivity of each worker and tells them off about about how good or bad activities are evolving. Because that type of approach may become a failure if there is not any assessment of the activities.