Principles for an Agile Workspace

Promoting collaboration, creativity, and productivity…

…Led by modern agile workspace solutions. Well thought out open offices with design principles aligned to inspire a strong and happy work culture are the new “perfectly kept show house” of the tech world, from the silicon valley to Singapore.

Ample Opportunities for Chance Engagements and Meetings

Yesterday’s water cooler meetings are today’s bean bag area – modern day companies are turning towards the strategic placement of furniture to create social spaces encouraging interaction and engagement (not to mention the chance to do away with that particular, plastic barrel eyesore in a beautifully designed space). People can congregate for quick chats around a bar top table in the pantry, or have spontaneous discussions in the bean bag area, with the casual environment constructed to inspire creative brainstorming. Private areas for quick discussions, or breakout areas, are scattered around the workplace to allow for more privacy or focused collaborative team work. Individuals and interaction over processes and tools, as one of the main values of the Agile Manifesto, highlights the importance of interaction between different members of the team to spur creativity.

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A long corridor to encourage spontaneous conversations that no one can run away from.

Great Integration of Strategic Workplace Design to Support a Diverse Culture

Reality, often constrained by time, money or effort, means that the typical workplace with its standard and fixed work area design, be it a “cubicle farm” or an “open space without any partitions”, caters only to one type of personality. Flexible work environments should allow for easy rearrangement to facilitate different teams working together, and also work for a variety of personalities, from the extrovert who loves working surrounded by people, to the ones tending towards introversion and prefer a quiet corner to recharge. Creating a diverse workplace through progressive hiring polices is one thing, catering to a personality-diverse workplace through forward-thinking design principles is the next step. After all, Agile working is all about increasing productivity through a flexible environment and having working solutions over comprehensive documentations.

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Casual spaces to unwind, relax and break away from the monotony of a desk-bound day of work.

On the Importance of Providing Independent Work Spaces

Understanding that multi-purpose and configurable workstations which change with the users’ needs over time is a great investment, is the key for long-term efficiency. Other than a variety of “double-duty” furniture such as storage units which function as table tops, or “triple use” benches which function as a table and a storage space, meeting rooms should be free for use anytime it is not reserved. Being able to work in different environments or reconfigure the office layout for each particular project or task of the moment helps to sustain creativity. Just as in Agile working where responding to change over following a plan is prioritized, “hackable” furniture which is able to be iteratively evolved to accommodate different situations is the key to an inviting workspace supporting a creative and energetic workforce.

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Moveable desks, chairs, even table tennis table can double up as a spot for spontaneous lunch gatherings.

Needs of different working occasions are often overlooked in Agile workspace design, where focus is placed on enhancing collaboration and team efficiency through encouraging team discussions and inspiring creative conversations. Quiet spots allow people the privacy to focus on independent work and support contemplation in strategic planning.

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Team discussions are made easy with plenty of spaces around work areas.

Designing an office with Agile principles in mind is the key to stimulating different levels of thinking by providing varied spaces in the office environment that is conducive to keeping employees engaged. Other than retention, it also works to maintain employers’ reputation as great workplaces to attract talents.

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Open spaces are created for meetups, sharings and the occasional game of nerf war.

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