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Why Agile Work?

 

We didn’t wake up one day and say, “let’s be agile work advocates.” As we researched the topic over several years, we slowly became convinced that agile workplace strategies such as mobile work, telework, distributed work and other new ways of working really can have a profound positive impact on employers, employees, and the environment.

Regardless, the reality is—whether you want to call it telework, or mobile work, workshifting, smart working, flexible work…or whatever—the employees have already left the building and they’re not coming back. Study after study, in a wide range of industries and across the globe show that a typical office workers spends less than half their time at their desk.

Technology has allowed us to be mobile, but office buildings and management techniques have not kept pace with the transformation. Essentially, we’re managing and provisioning a 21st Century workforce with 20th century methods using 19th century organization structures.

By changing how, when, and where people work, both on and off-campus, employers can:

  • Save money
  • Reduce employee work-life conflict
  • Increase employee engagement
  • Increase employee loyalty and reduce turnover
  • Attract and retain talent
  • Reduce absenteeism
  • Increase productivity
  • Reduce healthcare costs
  • Slow the brain drain associated with retiring Baby Boomers
  • And much more.

But the impact goes well beyond individual or corporate benefits. When deployed in a strategic way, agile workplace strategies can:

  • Dramatically reduce our fossil fuel dependence and slow global warming
  • Increase national productivity
  • Provide new employment opportunities for at-home caregivers, the disabled, the un- and under-employed, and military spouses
  • Offer rural and economically disadvantaged populations access to better jobs
  • Improve family life
  • Reduce healthcare costs
  • Bolster pandemic and disaster preparedness
  • Reduce traffic jams and the carnage on our highways
  • Alleviate the strain on our crumbling transportation infrastructure
  • Help reclaim many of the jobs that have been lost to offshoring
  • Increase personal savings
  • And much more.

Agile work, or whatever label you want to put on it, offers a quick, inexpensive, and popular solution to some of our most vexing problems.

Environmentalists applaud it because it significantly reduces greenhouse gases and energy usage.

Astute company owners endorse it because of the cost savings and increased productivity.

Workforce planners see it as a way to reduce under-employment and talent shortages.

Human resource professionals see it as a way to recruit and retain the best people.

Employees enjoy it because it saves them time and money and improves their quality of life.

Baby Boomers find it an attractive alternative to full retirement.

Gen Y sees it as a way to work on their own terms.

Disabled workers, rural residents, and military families appreciate it as way to address their special needs.

Urban planners realize it can reduce traffic, reduce the gap between transportation supply and demand, slow the outbound migration of talent, and revitalize cities.

Governments see it as a way to reduce transportation infrastructure costs, improve the environment, and reduce terrorism pockets of opportunity.

Organizations understand that it can help them ensure continuity of operations in the event of a disaster or pandemic.

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