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Agile working requires a change of employer mindset, from thinking of work as being in a specific place to providing a range of places that can be used depending on the type of work being undertaken. It's about giving employees control over where and how they choose to work.

That's not to say that traditional office design layouts are a thing of the past. It's more a case of providing increased variety and responding to the ways in which people work, rather than forcing them to work in a certain way. There's simply no need any more for people to put up with excess noise when they need to concentrate or to converge around the water cooler to catch up on a team project.

Today's office design provide areas that allow people to work quietly, collaboratively, standing up or sitting down.

An agile office design typically includes collaboration areas, touchdown benches, free-standing pods, gallery space, work-booths and enclosed meeting rooms to cater for all the various ways in which people work. Knowing that a change of environment can aid creativity and inspiration there's also a trend towards having a cafe style designed area.

The benefits of agile working

There is a lot of research to show that companies who adopt agile working practices reap the rewards in terms of employee productivity.

According to its new report, Productivity: Getting the Best out of People, published last month, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development found that there are clear links between productivity and agile working practices.

The CIPD state that there's a need for a ?smarter?, more productive way of working and that businesses need to invest in developing people and provide the tools and support they need to perform to the best of their abilities: this includes well-designed jobs, agile working practices and technology that releases individual creativity rather than constrains it.

Reducing the number of fixed workstations and creating an agile office design can also have a real impact on a company?s bottom line in addition to reducing absenteeism, improving recruitment and retention and innovation and generally improving employee wellbeing and enjoyment at work.