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Agile working needs better tech support

Agile working is most commonly found in the IT industry at present

Staff think companies need to adapt their technology to better support agile working, according to a whitepaper from Jobsite.

Recruiting for the Agile Workforce surveyed 2,500 candidates and 400 recruiters and defined agile working as working within the guidelines of a task but without boundaries of how the work is achieved. The research found that 58% of candidates think companies need to invest in more technology to integrate agile working successfully.

This was supported by the breakdown of industries currently embracing agile working. This way of working was found to be most commonly used in IT, with half (49%) of workers working in an agile way. Office-based sectors made up the rest of the top five adopters, including marketing (26%), consultancy (24%), recruitment (23%) and sales (22%).

Recruiters generally felt that agile working was on the rise, with nearly half (43%) saying they believed it could eventually replace the traditional office environment – more than twice the amount (18%) of those who think it will not.

Speaking at the launch of the whitepaper, Simon Halkyard, talent acquisition partner at Shop Direct, said agile working was already an expected benefit in some locations. “We are a tech business now rather than a catalogue business,” he said. “When we opened our London office, we knew we would be competing with companies such as Google who offer agile working as standard. We knew we would have to be agile.”

Paul Allsopp, MD and lead consultant of The Agile Organisation, said businesses should decide what problem they're trying to solve with agile working before rushing to adopt. “It is about using common sense,” he said. “Focus on what purpose agile working serves, and what resources you’ll need to use [to implement it]. It shouldn’t be chaos.”

Ting-Ray Chang, UX research manager at Jobsite, added that once agile working is implemented, the key factor in making it effective is communication. “We use Slack and Skype so that everyone in our different offices can communicate with the team,” she said. “It’s really important that everyone is able to communicate.”