The Impact of COVID-19 on Activity Based Working
As organisations in APAC plan their return to work amidst concerns about the current climate of a pandemic, this question and broader questions around the purpose of the office; how work can be done; and to what degree we can safely share space in the immediate and mid-long term future are coming to the forefront.
This article covers the top 7 frequently asked questions we are receiving from our customers, partners, designers, and collaborators. We hope that sharing our views and answers will help our readers start conversations in their organisations around the Future of Work and what choices need to be made to support employees, businesses and enable the larger community to thrive.
Enjoy quick access below to each individual question and answer. Otherwise review the full article and Q + A’s together by clicking on the image on the right. Our support for you can also be accessed here.
Top 7 Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. Activity Based Working has evolved over the last few years supporting organisations to achieve their goals and objectives in many countries. Some people say that Activity Based Working is dead. Is that so, or is Activity Based Working being redefined in light of COVID-19?
When executed correctly, Activity Based Working empowers staff to work in a time and place independent way, providing organisations with a highly adaptable, agile workforce that can adjust quickly to changing situations. It enables organisations to be profoundly resilient to turbulent environments such as the impact of Covid-19.
Q2. If Activity Based Working is so relevant, as its definition includes remote working too, how come some of us struggle(d) to work from home?
Extended periods of remote working require greater levels of organisational support than ad hoc instances. Covid-19 is unique in how circumstances demand many people to acclimatise quickly to the ‘new normal’. Organisations that tend to adapt well have maturity in the following areas:
- Team agreements
- Flexibility of choice
- Measuring the value of work
- Leadership culture of empowerment & trust
- Employee home environments that support (at least a bit) work activities
Q3. How can organisations adapt and emerge stronger than before with the help of Design & Technology?
Organisations must understand for which experiences staff will come to the office and what activities they will do whilst in the office and design the built environment accordingly. New platforms will emerge which deliver better virtual experiences for team connection and problem solving, particularly in the area of asymmetric real time work and asynchronous problem solving and decision making. At the heart of the success of design and technology is culture. Without the investment and focus on culture, the results of design and technology will be limited.
Q4. How is social distancing (or physical distancing as we prefer to call it) going to work in a workplace which is designed to support Activity Based Working?
Yes. Activity based working delivers an adaptable workforce and an adaptable built environment. This means office spaces can scale up and down easily to meet the requirements of local government authorities. The solution is not to eliminate sharing but to ramp up processes, practices, and policies that provide a safe and hygienic work environment in the office.
Q5. What will be role of the office space and how do these changes impact the decisions to be taken by Real Estate professionals?
The future workstyle of organisations is to offer ‘Blended’working options where employees are empowered to choose the best location that supports the tasks they need to do. A central office location will be a Blended working option that has a specific purpose set by the organisations’s strategic and cultural imperatives.
Q6. What should companies consider to support their employees to work from home or locations other than the office?
When organisations choose to identify their unique Blended workstyle, they will are better equipped to provide the right physical space, technology and cultural conditions so teams foster trust, clarity and inclusiveness.
Q7. With all these changes, are we moving towards a world with no offices?
No. A reimagining of the purpose of the office will be required and most organisations will like move to a more blended workplace model (work from home, office, ‘third’ space).
Veldhoen + Company support
Our ambition has always been to co-create new activity-based ways of working that encourage teams to connect, individuals to flourish and organisations to thrive. Never has an activity-based approach been more valuable. Read how we can support organisations through this, and give us a call if you would like to know more.