Activity based workplace
From: Public Services and Procurement Canada
Find information and a video to better understand the activity-based workplace (ABW) approach.
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Understanding the activity-based workplace
Activity-based working is a design concept that recognizes that through the course of any day, employees engage in many different activities and that they need and can choose different types of work settings to accommodate these activities. This type of work environment is known as the activity-based workplace (ABW).
In these workplaces individual employees are not assigned to a particular workstation. To make work effective, efficient and more enjoyable for both the organization and the employee, ABW focuses on the employees and provides the freedom to decide for themselves: how to work, where to work, which tools to use and with whom to collaborate to get the work done. The workspace is designed in such a way that it allows them to perform different activities over the course of the workday, such as:
Information technology and information management
A key element of an ABW is a strong virtual environment (information technology and information management) which supports mobile, collaborative and remote working. It is designed based on an assessment of employees’ activities and the organization’s programs and culture. Each group’s requirements and work styles can vary, and the ABW concept is flexible enough to be adapted to the needs of each organization.
Since you are not assigned a personal workstation, you have the freedom to choose the workspace that best suits your needs and preferences at any given time! The various types of workspaces are designed to accommodate different activities, such as having a confidential phone conversation, working with a small group of colleagues, or videoconferencing with multiple participants in various locations.
This new way of working is not only about the workplace design. It is a cultural change that requires the integration of 3 major elements:
- the people:
- culture, business processes, behavior, attitude, organizational changes, training, human resource policies.
- the technology:
- updated information management systems, self-service tools, Wi-Fi, mobile devices, videoconferencing, document sharing.
- the space:
- building, interior design, furniture.
These elements may remind you of the three pillars from the Workplace 2.0 traditional design. Both the ABW and Workplace 2.0 approaches promote collaboration, flexibility, mobility and green ways of working. ABW pushes the concept to a new level, with a particular focus on empowering employees to choose the work settings or points that best suit their needs and the work they do. This approach also encourages management and executives to manage based on output and not employee presence, which fosters a climate of trust between employers and employees.
Video: Activity-based workplace
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