Using Agile Working to recruit and retain

28 October 2021

During it’s development, agile working’s taken different forms over the last few years, including the expansion to hybrid or blended working as a result of the pandemic.

In essence, it’s a combination of bringing people together, providing flexibility through processes, time management and working locations in order to achieve a desired outcome in the most effective way possible. You’re probably thinking this sounds like flexible working where you work your hours in the week, to specific hours set, and then you’re done. However, agile working’s a transformational change for a business and its team, removing the stigma of being the first one in the office and last one out, and encouraging a healthy work life balance.

Construction related professional services firms are very much like us; people businesses where the people are our greatest asset so getting the agile working policy right can be crucial to retaining and attracting talent.

“Our people very much welcomed it. I personally think it made our people feel much more valued, and feel it’s improved productivity,” – a quote from Tom Lyons, Partner of national architecture practice GSS where Fortus drafted an agile working policy and introduced across their numerous offices after consultation with the team of 70 employees.

What does this mean for the typical 9 – 5 office life?

Over the last year, businesses have had to adapt and change at a rapid pace, with many finding themselves forced to implement remote working, or changing working hours to fit around life at home. In a time where the typical 9 – 5 office day has been thrown out the window, we’ve been pushed into finding alternative ways of working – ‘agile working’ being one of them. As a result, we’ve seen more and more companies adopting an agile working practice, providing flexibility for both business and employees in uncertain times.

What are the benefits?

The list’s endless when it comes to creating an agile working environment, it’s gone from a ‘nice to have’, to a necessity for many, as life in the built environment sector’s often unpredictable, and technology means we’re accessible beyond the boundaries of the traditional working day. There’s a strong shift in focus from employees, from just the output they can create, to their health and wellbeing. Having flexibility with your employer is therefore vital; it strengthens the psychological contract and a mutually beneficial relationship.

These are just some of the benefits often attributed to a more agile working scheme;

  • Collaboration
  • Opportunity
  • Lifestyle
  • Choice
  • Freedom
  • Work-life balance/integration
  • Positivity
  • Flexibility
  • Trust

Will this work for my practice?

Putting an agile working policy and practice in the built environment sector will need some planning – it’s inevitable and will mean a change in your current way of thinking, but it’s advantageous in the long run. Not only will it increase workforce motivation and satisfaction, but through many studies undertaken, productivity and creativity increase. If you’re not yet sold on the prospect of agile working, you may wish to consider the following:

  • Do you want to give your team the power to increase their contribution through agile working hours, giving them flexibility?
  • Do you want to build a trusting and loyal culture within your offices?
  • Is it important to you that you don’t lose your talent to your competitor and attract future talent?

If the answer is yes to any of these questions, then agile working is and will most definitely work effectively within your business or practice.

If you’re still not convinced then a final quote from Tom…

‘Our agile working policy has impressed others too. An Investors in People (IiP) assessor commented favourably on the policy when he awarded GSS gold status. We were the second highest-scoring architectural practice on the IiP international database,’ Tom adds.

If you’re interested in implementing an agile working policy in your business, or would like to know more, then speak to our HR team today, and see just how we can help.