May 11, 2021

What is Activity-based working?

Activity-based, Flexible, multi-functional or open? It becomes more and more clear that one size does not fit all, and the variety in office designs can be a challenge to navigate for beginners. In this blog post, we will introduce the concept of an activity-based workspace, how it can enhance both the employee experience and the productivity of your workforce, and if it is worth considering moving forward.

The concept of an activity-based office

The basic idea of Activity based working stems from the notion that day-to-day work consists of different types of activities. All of these activities have different resource demands. Both technical and physical equipment needed depends on what work task you are currently performing. For example, client meetings require different resources compared to workshops or programming. Traditionally, we have thought of an office as constituting desks, meeting rooms and a lunch area. The idea of an activity-based workplace emphasizes that employees need a wider variety of workspaces that promotes efficiency, curiosity, and innovation.

For example, if you are writing a white paper, you need a good ergonomic desk and screens for your laptop. This type of work can also be done effectively from home. If you are having a brainstorming meeting, you probably need a room or an area where employees can walk around, walls to hang up posts-it and paper, maybe a table that can be height adjusted. If you are having a workshop meeting with employees joining from remote location, more emphasis is put on the technical solutions, like touchable screens, a video conference set, etc. By creating spaces that are based on activity instead of only providing two types of spaces, employers can actually stimulate certain types of behaviors and also ensure that employees are motivated to return to the office post-lockdown.  

The benefits of segmenting your office after activity

The philosophy behind activity-based working revolves around three main environments. The behavioral, the virtual and the physical. Office spaces are seen to directly affect how we behave at the office and what type of activities we engage in; it also affects how well a company can integrate the physical and virtual world by providing the right tools for online meetings and collaboration, which is a growing factor to take into consideration when more and more people will work both from home and from the office. Our physical environment, like layout and design, also affects our inspiration and well-being. The idea behind an activity-based workplace boils down to the basic fact that our office space needs to promote well-being and engagement.

Activity based working is said to enable each individual employee to plan their work more effectively. For example, combining working from home with working from the office, using different areas of the office for different tasks so they can be more easily managed. Giving your employees the best tools to succeed, and an environment that stimulates all types of work can greatly enhance employee’s perception of the workplace.

Should we move towards activity-based offices?

After the pandemic, there are a lot of different strategies we can adapt in response to current trends and changing behaviors. An employer can decide to go back to business as usual, where employees work at the office during business hours without exception. We can also adapt a hybrid model, where employees can work both from home and from the office. We can also change to a complete remote way of working, where offices disappear, and we only have our home office. These three options are more complex in real life, and we rarely choose one completely over the other. But what we decide will greatly affect how we plan our office
layout.

Activity-based office layout has been described as the future hybrid model to handle a combination of remote working and office work. With single work being easy to manage at home, more emphasis will be put on creating an office environment that is designed for other important tasks. Adapting the activity-based mindset can in these situations greatly enhance your office for all employees. Want to have expert consultant guidance on how to adapt an Activity-based model? Contact our experts!