Activity-based working (ABW) is a type of workplace design that not only helps organizations save on real estate costs but also increase worker productivity. This design foregoes traditional office arrangements such as cubicles or desks in closed-off offices. Instead, it utilizes a variety of diverse workspaces employees can move between based on the type of work they are completing and their preferred environment.
This untraditional work environment can increase office productivity through several means. These include giving employees an ability to choose their work environment, increasing physical activity in the office, and increasing coworker interactions.
An Ability to Choose
When workers are given the ability to choose a workplace for the assignments they are completing, they feel an increased sense of empowerment. This choice limits the feeling of a power dynamic between workers and supervisors, which can lead to a more cordial office environment.
This lack of limitations allows employees to focus on the work at hand. This can lead to increased productivity through the means of faster and more focused work.
For example, when an open space with a few couches is available, multiple people can collaborate in a comfortable setting. If an employee needs a quiet place to work, they can head to a closed office without worrying about distractions. With ABW, workers are less likely to feel stressed because their ideal work environment does not exist.
This ability to choose also improves worker mental health. There is less anxiety around asking your coworkers to quiet down, and when workers have pent off frustrations, they can walk them off.
Freedom to Move
ABW organically increases physical activity in the workplace. Employees can interrupt long periods of sedentary activity by moving between workplaces.
Some work stations also provide employees with features that allow for movement. These include standing desks and exercise balls.
All of this physical activity is correlated with effects such as increased blood flow, increased oxygen delivery, and an increase in brain function. As workers can think clearer and faster, productivity increases.
ABW also fosters worker interaction. Instead of being stuck at a desk all day surrounded by the same coworkers, individuals come into contact with many other people. With ABW, it’s easier to connect with people in person rather than via email.
These face-to-face interactions allow for collaboration and new ideas. ABW is especially helpful in fostering cross-discipline interactions. When workers are not stuck in the same way of thinking, they can think of unique solutions to problems.
This type of workplace can also create a sense of comfort and belonging as coworkers see and interact with each other more. This feeling improves workers’ mental health and consequently allows them to focus on their work.
Increase Office Productivity with ABW
If you think you or your employees aren’t as productive as they can be, it’s worth looking into switching your office into an ABW environment. When workers are allowed to choose their own workspaces, physically move throughout the workday, and interact with others an increase in office productivity is likely to happen.