OpenSensors blog

Why cross collaboration is key to Activity Based Working

Posted by Daniel Hummelsund
Daniel Hummelsund


Reading time: 3 minutes

Closer collaboration between Facilities, Corporate Real Estate, Workplace, HR and IT teams when implementing new workplace policies is key to successfully integrating activity based working environments (ABW) as well as improving employee well being and office experience.


Adapting to a cultural and behavioural shift

Activity based working requires a cultural and behavioural shift in the whole organisation, which is why many plan three to five year roadmaps for their rollout. One of the prerequisites for its success, is having all business functions fully onboard on the journey. However, resistance to change is often the biggest hurdle to overcome.

There are many reasons behind the resistance, but a common denominator is lack of information shared on the longer term business benefits and the value to employee wellbeing. There’s a general perception that this style of working is a fad which consequently contributes to the reluctance from some business departments.

These departments are often not working in a flexible work setting and most often misunderstands the goals and steps of the process. As a result, they often take a policing role or attempt to block and push back initiatives rather than facilitating them.

Though this is fast becoming the minority view as the ability to be connected anywhere, anytime across any platform is paving the way for better ways of working. There’s a shift in expectations from a new generational workforce and many businesses are listening.

Designing office spaces for task oriented work will build long term success, retain employees and attract the best talent.

Cross collaboration starts with top-down support

To get Facilities, Corporate Real Estate, Workplace, HR and IT departments bought in on activity based working, starts with top-down support, all the way from the C-suite. It’s important senior management set the tone for change and lead by example in order for the rest of the organisation to follow suit.

Following that, the various departmental business leaders need to take ownership of the implementation, all following a common clear goal. In other words, change cannot be driven by the Facility Management team alone.

Some considerations for successful collaboration are:

  • Include all stakeholders early in the conversation
  • Educate every employee in how they can better use the work environment, including all workstations, open shared workspaces, booths or work from home
  • Encourage teams to embrace agile working
  • Reward leaders who encourage their team to find their best and most productive way of working

Key takeaways

To choose activity based working is one of the biggest and most impactful decisions facilities, corporate real estate and workplace professionals will make to their organisation. They increase their likelihood for success by:

  • Taking a long-term view of business benefits
  • Communicating to employees how it will benefit them and their well-being
  • Including all departmental business divisions early in conversations on change
  • Leading by example with support from senior management setting the tone
  • And by always reverting back to what the goal actually is: to create a better workplace experience for everyone.


How to get started to plan your roadmap

Activity Based Working provides a working environment that better suits modern employees, while also utilising space more effectively for employers. Here's a 5 step guide on how to build a Roadmap towards Activity Based Working.

Content topics: Facilities and Workplace trends, Measuring space occupancy

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