Research suggests not…
The challenge of employee inertia: 71 per cent of employees not adapting to activity based working (ABW) environments
According to this month’s CBRE report, businesses looking for office space are increasingly eyeing efficiency and agility, in light of uncertain times: 40 per cent said space agility is a key part of their wider business strategy, up five per cent on the 2016 survey result. The CBRE 2017 Americas Occupier Survey Report states that 86 per cent of respondents are reinventing or adapting their workplace standards this year and, as per the abundance of media traction on the topic, activity based working seems to be on the rise, with 53 per cent in the Asia-Pacific region saying they plan to implement the work model.
However, research by Leesman, the world’s leading assessor of workplace effectiveness, reveals that many activity based working (ABW) spaces are populated by large numbers of employees retaining traditional workstyles, severely limiting the work style’s potential.
Statistics amassed from a pool of 11,366 ABW workplace employees and compared against a control group show how activity-based environments deliver significant performance improvements… but only for employees who modify behaviours to their new surroundings.
The study shows that the more complex an employee’s daily work profile and the more activities they carry out, the more beneficial it is for them to work in a mobile way that utilises multiple settings. Employees who work in an activity based way, in environments developed to support that workstyle, report higher levels of satisfaction and are more likely to report that the workspace enables them to work productively.
However, adoption of activity based behaviours in ABW spaces is woefully low, with 71% of employees stating they perform most or all of their activities at a single workstation. The data suggests that this apparent failure to adapt to surroundings could be crippling the productivity gains organisations thought possible.
Tim Oldman, Leesman CEO, said:“What this report reveals is that, despite commendable business intentions, employees are failing to adopt the behaviours necessary to realise the potential benefits of activity-based work models.
“This may be because the nature of their role doesn’t require them to work in a mobile way; or it could be because the physical, virtual and cultural infrastructure does not actively encourage the appropriate mobility behaviour if activity based working can be proven to further support the diverse needs of the workforce, employers must then provide the necessary ‘support systems’ if their employees are to reap any benefit from such a transition.”