For many years that term “flexible work” has been synonymous with the idea of telecommuting or remote work. With the proliferation of cloud-based technology the idea of flexible work has become more widely accepted by modern workplaces.
But a newer term, agile work, is a concept that has been overpowering the idea of flex work recently. While the terms seem interchangeable there is a difference.
Agile work is a way of working in which an organization empowers its people to work from wherever they would like and however they would like by limiting constraints and maximizing flexibility in order to truly optimize productivity. According to FM World, agile work is a new paradigm,“a transitional tool”, that is the cornerstone of an organization’s strategy providing benefits on cost, productivity and sustainability. Benefits, it argues, that are for not only for the organization, but the employee and customer as well.
But, isn’t that the same as flex work? Well, the terms are very similar, but there is a difference. According to The Agile Organization, flexible working falls under the idea that an employee can work anytime and anywhere, a two dimensional concept. Agile work is more multidimensional—not just limited to doing the same work in the same way at a difference time and place. Instead of focusing on when and where people work, agile work focuses on the efficiency of the work.
Agile work is based on the idea that work is an activity we do rather than a place we go. And with new tools supported by ever-improving cloud technology, workers can truly eliminate the concept of the work has been done traditionally in order to work efficiently to meet customers’ needs, reduce costs and overheads, all while improving sustainability.
Though this new concept aims at the benefit of the organization, many barriers remain for some companies in the adoption process of this idea. Agile work truly revolves around culture and mindset, and simply buying the latest technology and investing in new workspaces is not enough to make agile work a success.
This change will involve organizational culture and individual mindset shifts to embrace the idea that work is not a place, it is an activity. Pace, unpredictability and scale are the biggest challenges for organizations today. Companies must truly become agile in order to make this concept a success.