Agile working, flexible working, hybrid working, remote working — there are so many ways to do the same job these days and an almost outrageous amount of interchangeable terms in business. It’s no surprise that workers and employers are so confused.
The last few years have been a complete rollercoaster for everyone. While most businesses have restored some normality, life as an office worker can still be chaotic. If you’re up to your ears in different ways of working, don’t worry. Let’s break down the differences between agile, flexible, and hybrid working.
What is agile working?
The first hurdle to get over is Agile working (big A) versus agile working (small a). As agile working has increased in popularity, the difference between Agile and agile has become harder to nail down.
Despite the confusion between the two terms, the difference is simple. Agile is a methodology that we use to shape our workflows and agile is a way of working. Put simply, you work agile, but you work with Agile.
The Agile methodology is an iterative approach to software development and product management. It revolves around core principles, values, processes, and tools designed to improve productivity. By working with Agile methodologies, product development teams can focus on adding value with every task they perform. The practices promote flexibility and self-organization throughout a business, improving its output and quality.
With agile working, it’s less about sticking to a particular set of processes and more about working in a way that prioritizes resilience, speed, and flexibility. It’s all about focusing on the task at hand and finding the best way to accomplish it — even if that means ignoring traditional processes. Teams who employ agile working practices can better adapt to changing circumstances and pivot when needed.
What is flexible working?
Flexible working has taken the spotlight as the pandemic subsided and businesses had to convince workers to return to the office. The concept is simple — workers can work on their own schedule in whichever environment suits their workload that day.
Flexible working is often confused with hybrid working. While both have similar aspects, flexible working is much more… well… flexible. It empowers workers with autonomy and individuality by allowing them to customize their workday to suit the activities they need to complete.
Flexible working means your employees will be working on different schedules, including non-standard hours and days of the week. With that in mind, it’s always worth having a foolproof workplace scheduling system to help you keep track of who is working when and where.
What is hybrid working?
Hybrid working allows workers to work from home some days and work in the office on others. There are many ways to run a hybrid work model, but unlike truly flexible working, each will still see employees working the same shifts as the rest of their team. It’s only the location of the worker that changes.
Hybrid work has been the go-to response for many companies struggling to get their workers back into the office post-COVID. It’s been a great compromise between workers who enjoyed working from home and businesses who would rather have their employees working together in the same building.
What’s the difference between agile working, flexible working, and hybrid working?
Despite these terms being used interchangeably, agile working, flexible working, and hybrid working are all distinct ways of working. There are parts of each that flow into the others, but workplace experience managers and decision-makers need to know the difference between terms.
To help further differentiate the terms, let’s relate them to 3 simple questions: How?, When?, and Where?
Agile working refers to how we work. It’s enabled by specific working models like activity-based working. Agile working is facilitated by flexible workspaces and careful office design that offers workers a space that works for every activity your teams need to perform.
Flexible working can be boiled down to when we work. While it shares attributes with hybrid working, flexible working also allows employees to create their own schedules. If they’re more productive later in the day, they can start later or get everything out of the way by lunch! After all, it’s 2022 — we out grew the traditional 9 to 5 a long time ago!
Hybrid working is about where we work. With hybrid, workers are either in the office or working remotely. While there is scope to alter working hours with hybrid working, your team will all be working on roughly the same schedule, which is where it differs from flexible working.
What do agile working, flexible working, and hybrid working have in common?
There’s a reason why these terms are often used interchangeably. Aside from the similar characteristics of each working style, they all require a higher level of care to stay effective.
Businesses risk confusion and unhappy employees if they try to implement one of these strategies without first making sure they’re a good fit for how your employees want to work. It’s also essential to have a workplace experience manager keeping tabs on critical insights. To get these insights, you need a tool to help you plan and create the workspaces employees want and the data to show you that your strategy is working.
With Smartway2 by HubStar, workplace experience managers can run their office confidently, whether they’re agile, flexible, or hybrid. You can quickly identify employee preferences to help shape your workplace strategies to empower employees and increase productivity.
Start running your office smarter, schedule your demo to see how Smartway2 can work for your office.