Your laptop is powerful and practically weightless. All the tools and documents you could ever need are in the cloud. There’s WiFi everywhere. So why are you chained to your desk all day? Could you transform your work life overnight, just by moving your office furniture around? A group of forward-thinking office designers thinks so, and they’ve persuaded executives around the world to overhaul their old offices and create activity-based workspaces.

What is the Activity-Based Working movement?

Instead of forcing people to work in offices or cubicles, the idea is that you create workspaces to support various work activities. Someone who needs to focus might head to a sound-proof cubby, while someone who needs to hash out a strategy with a colleague may go to a quiet spot for a one-on-one consult. Groups that need to engage in creative brainstorming will gather in spaces with couches and whiteboards, and perhaps with a video screen for remote attendees. In fact, according to workplace efficiency experts at Leesman, there are 21 activities employees perform throughout the work day.

With activity-based workspaces, you’re no longer a solitary prisoner confined to your own office. Instead, you’re free to roam from desk to sofa to, the office café, which is all a part of your shared office environment.

Boost efficiency at work.

Leesman created a unique measure of workplace efficiency called the Leesman Index, and they recently issued a landmark study on Activity-Based Working. Researchers found that knowledge workers who wholeheartedly adopted the activity-based workplace scored nearly 72 on the index, significantly higher than those who camped out at their desks, who scored just shy of 60.

The idea for activity-based working was born in the 1970s, but it didn’t become a reality until the early 1990s when designers in London and Amsterdam created the first real-world offices using this model. In 1995, Dutch workplace strategist Erik Veldhoen, published the first book about activity-based working, called “The Demise of the Office.” Today, his company works with organizations to adopt the model as “a catalyst for organizations to rethink the way they work.”

Activity Based Working - Productive Workplaces

Creating your activity-based workspace.

Creating an activity-based workspace really boils down to two things: studying how your team really works and then partnering with a trusted commercial moving company to reconfigure your office space so that it nurtures and supports existing work processes. Here are some tips to get you started:

Create a “financial business plan” for your office environment and determine the potential return on your investment in an ABW office.
Consider an Occupancy and Utilization Study to find out what your team is doing when they’re not at their desks.
Be sure to understand the misconceptions about ABW, and know what it is not.