What is Activity-Based Working?

Activity-Based Working provides a variety of non-permanent/unassigned working environments for employees to choose/use when performing specific tasks or activities.

For some businesses, this may seem a bit farfetched and I’m sure many FM’s and OM’s have dealt with the resistance, from those who prefer ownership of a space. And let’s face it for all those baby boomers out there, getting a desk in a corner office meant ‘you’ve made it’! So, where does that leave us now?

Well, an ABW environment isn’t just about removing the ownership of desk, chair or office – it’s about empowering your employees, trusting and giving them the freedom to choose when and how they work, providing an environment that is more likely to encourage engagement, attract talent, inspire and create a proactive workforce.

Why bother with ABW? 

ABW environments can be linked to a host of benefits if executed correctly, a clear short-term benefit being a cost saving on space, where employees forgo individual workstations for shared spaces – ultimately reducing an office floorplan per person. Meaning your business could downsize to smaller premises, or equally expand within an existing space without the need to relocate to bigger premises.

Longer-term benefits are the ability to foster employee wellness – mentally, physically and socially. It’s not unheard of saying; but a happy employee is a productive employee, ultimately making a difference to your organisations’ bottom line!

By creating an environment for staff to choose how, when and where they work, you are making opportunities for employees to move around the office more, rather than being stuck at a single workstation day in and day out, promoting trust and mental stimulation.

Activity Based Working isn’t just limited to places to work either, it also encompasses retreat spaces, such as breakout rooms for employees to eat lunch. Some businesses even have on-site gyms or yoga classes as an optional space to clear your mind as well as creating a social environment for employees to meet and share ideas across teams they may not otherwise engage with, sometimes referred to as ‘bump talk’, where sometimes the best ideas come from a small chit-chat at the water cooler or similar.

How do I create an Activity-Based Working Environment?

Well, there is no fixed guideline for this set-up. Each business will have their own take on an Activity-Based working environment, much of which will be down to company culture, how the business is structured and how your teams interact with each other. On the physical side of things, if you are already working on laptops, mobile phones and some remote working ability with the right technology in place, you are somewhat already part of the way there.


It’s important to remember that ABW is NOT another open plan office trend, it’s about creating a variety of environments to suit different… wait for it… Activities! in which employees can engage and communicate with colleagues in a collaborative environment or set up in a quiet area when they need to focus, or a private space for confidential phone calls, not to forget the ‘retreat’ or ‘refresh’ breakout space for employees to recharge their batteries especially if their job roles are more concentrated through-out the working day.

Check out this video by Veldhoen+Company which we feel is a great insight into Activity-Based Working.

If you would be interested to see how your existing workplace could be transformed to create an Activity-Based Working environment, please get in touch for a no-obligation spaceplan design and quotation. Equally, for more information on furniture products available to you, please get in touch to arrange a furniture showroom visit to Clerkenwell for some workplace inspiration to tickle your design cravings.

To find out more about how Novex can assist you with your workplace needs, get in touch via our online form or call us on 0845 458 8008 and we will be more than happy to help.

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