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Sep 28, 2016

Letter to the Edge #2


letter-letter-2“I’ve never worked anywhere quite like ViBE. It has certainly made me appreciate the impact the physical workspace can have over attitude, health, creativity and productivity ”  –  thanks to Chris O’ Connor from city of Casey for this very interesting take on agile working  in his recent response to my first letter to the edge.


It’s been a couple of months since my trip down under and I’m still pondering on – why is the adoption of agile working practices “spreading like wildfire”?  I had a chance to discuss this in more detail with the source of that quote Chris Alcock who visited London recently. It seems the given all the pressures facing organisations today both public and private, moving to a more agile way of working makes perfect business sense.  His view is that “all it takes is precedence” and reminded me  of the famous Obama quote in the same context…”yes we can”. Once someone proves it’s possible, others soon follow.  So it’s more a case of why wouldn’t you rather than why not?


So I wonder why UK or European organisations are relatively slow in embracing this way of thinking? Maybe many leaders feel it is not their cup of tea as this sort of stuff is just for the high pop – tech sector or start-ups? I had the opportunity of discussing this in more detail with another Australian who was in London recently – Steve Coster. As a partner in Hassell the international  design studio he can see what is happening both at home and here in London as his practice has a base in the city. Having recently helped Sky develop their latest new workplace it was interesting to get his views. Rather than me repeat his thoughts Steve promised to drop me a line in response to this note. Let’s wait and see what he has to say.

From these recent conversations there is no doubt that the scale and extent of adoption of agile of flexible working practices in Australia and New Zealand is clear evidence that there is now an alternative to the traditional approach to using office work spaces. Which in my book also includes squeezing humans into unproductive settings otherwise known as ‘hot desking’

What is in place in Australia and New Zealand may not be totally replicable elsewhere but the principles employed could be used to informed what we can do elsewhere in the world. It is also clear that agile working is just as much about people as it is about the place where they do their work. These two factors cannot be treated in isolation.  We just have to create a new potential for properly understanding both perspectives in order to deliver better, more meaningful working solutions…

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