Written by Pete Wilkinson

Last updated 22 April 2022 ·

Employee Productivity: Working from home in an agile manner

There are countless tips and tricks for improving employee productivity, but agile working is a methodology that can profoundly impact output. In an agile workplace, employees are empowered to work in the way that suits them best, resulting in greater autonomy and ownership over their projects. This blog article will explore 5 top tips for improving employee productivity with agile working.

What is agile working?

Agile working is about working smarter rather than harder. Agile working is a term used to describe an accelerated and flexible approach to working, often using remote and virtual office locations. Similar to hybrid working, agile working allows employees to work in various ways with a high level of autonomy. Often used as a workplace strategy to maximise performance and sustainability by providing an environment in which people’s knowledge, skills, and tools are used flexibly to work productively. An agile working culture will usually have a variety of spaces, technology, and equipment where people can work in different ways.

The agile environment

An agile workplace is one where employees are empowered to work in the way that suits them best. This could mean working from home, setting their own hours, or taking on more responsibility for their projects. The result is greater autonomy and ownership over their projects and a boost in productivity. There are many benefits of an agile workplace, but one of the biggest is that it helps to create a more motivated workforce. When employees feel like they have a say in how they work, they’re more likely to be engaged with their roles and committed to doing a good job.

Greater autonomy

There’s no question that employees who have more autonomy over their work are more productive. Studies have shown repeatedly that when workers feel like they’re in control of their own destiny, they’re more likely to go above and beyond to get the job done. So what is it about giving employees greater autonomy that has such a positive effect on productivity? It allows workers to find their optimal working patterns – something that can be difficult when you’re tied to a traditional 9-to-5 schedule. When employees feel like they have more control over their work, they naturally become more engaged and motivated. Additionally, agile working gives employees the ability to design their schedules and workflow, leading to increased efficiency.

One study conducted by the software company Atlassian found that when employees were given more freedom to determine their work schedules, they took fewer sick days and reported higher satisfaction with their jobs. Another study, from Stanford University, found that employees who were allowed to work from home one day a week reported feeling less stressed and more productive overall.

How can agile working affect employee productivity?

If your company is like most, you’re looking for ways to improve employee productivity. Agile working emphasises collaboration, flexibility, and continuous improvement. A study by the Harvard Business Review found that companies that adopt an agile approach see a 32% increase in employee productivity.

Here are five tips to improve employee productivity with agile working

1. Define Goals

The first step is defining what you want employees to accomplish, measuring it, and sharing it with employees. A great way to do this is to break your work into sprints of four weeks or introduce a standardised goal-setting framework such as OKRs, objectives and key results. Set clear expectations from the start to enable people to succeed.

2. Collect Feedback

Once the sprint or OKR cycle is finished, encourage open and honest feedback from the team to assess what went well. Take time to analyse input, making adjustments. Listen to your employees; what are they saying needs to change? It is equally important to recognise success.

3. Start Small

It’s important to remember that agile working is about continuous improvement, so make sure you keep your expectations realistic and be prepared to make lots of changes to the process as you develop.

4. Build Trust

Morale is a critical component of office culture. Create an atmosphere built on accountability where employees feel respected and trusted to take ownership of their work. There is no place for micromanagement in an agile working environment. Both workers and employers should embrace agile working.

5. Communicate and Collaborate

Ensuring remote and physical employees are on the same page is essential to effective agile working. Employees need to be given the tools to enable regular, productive communication and easy check-ins regarding what’s expected of them, their roles and responsibilities. They should be made aware of any strategic changes or course alterations that will affect their area of focus.

Have you heard of the Productivity Puzzle? Since the financial crisis first struck in 2008, the UK’s workforce is simply not improving its level of productivity as quickly as it was beforehand. In 2010, productivity levels began flat-lining, leaving experts puzzled about what was happening. This slowdown in productivity levels has become known as “The Productivity Puzzle.”

Find out how much the Productivity Puzzle could be costing your UK business every year in our short, interactive cost calculator.

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