Say Goodbye To Your Desk: How To Navigate The World Of Activity Based Working

Posted On 18 Apr 2017

Say Goodbye To Your Desk: How To Navigate The World Of Activity Based Working

18 Apr 2017
Say Goodbye To Your Desk: How To Navigate The World Of Activity Based Working

Say Goodbye To Your Desk: How To Navigate The World Of Activity Based Working

There’s a growing buzz in the world of work around a relatively new philosophy, called activity based working. Over the last decade, some of the world’s most successful companies such as Microsoft and Lego have transformed their global headquarters into open, collaborative and more productive workspaces.

In a huge leap away from traditional working models, assigned desks and corner offices have been replaced with a variety of inspiring work areas for you to choose from, all depending on the nature of your day to day tasks.

It’s not only the large corporates like Macquarie Bank and Commonwealth Bank Australia embracing this new office trend; medium sized business are also combining attractive office design with the latest mobile technologies to create a new flexible world of work.

And the benefits are seemingly huge – vibrant, active and lively environments that are a pleasure to work in and supportive of interaction and collaboration.

At EST10, we’re offering an increasing number of roles based within these new work environments. But what exactly is activity based working and how does it impact your jobs as admin professionals and EAs?

We’ve put together the answers to our top frequently asked questions to help you navigate this new world of activity based working.

Q: What exactly is activity based working?

A: In very simple terms, activity based working is when you move between work areas depending on your tasks for the day. Believe it or not, you’re no longer assigned your own desk.

Instead, you can choose to work and collaborate with your colleagues in a variety of spaces – from work desks, breakout areas for group work and silent rooms, to private phone booths and dedicated meeting rooms.

The philosophy of activity based working is based largely on trust. Being trusted to get on with your job, however you want to do it, should come as second nature for all admin professionals, especially at EA level.


Q: How can I best work with my manager or executive if we’re no longer sitting next to each other?

A: This really depends on how your manager or executive wants to work. In traditional workplaces, PAs and EAs are often the physical gatekeeper to an executive’s office. In an activity based office however some more conservative executives have designated areas to include support staff, whereas others are happy to move around like everyone else.

It’s up to you and your executive to determine the best way to work together, depending on your tasks and the ways in which you add value.


Q: What about the tools I need to do my job?

A: Everyone working in an activity based office is given their own laptop and headset so you can work in several different environments. You carry your laptop around wherever you go, even for meetings, and are encouraged to work collaboratively online using Outlook, SharePoint, Skype and other online tools.

This way of working does become easier as you get used to it. One thing to note is that the use of paper is actually discouraged. The majority of activity based offices are ‘paper independent’ which means printing is kept to the bare minimum.


Q: Does this mean there’s no longer a need for paper filing?

A: Each team has a storage area to include space for essential, and sometimes legally required, filing space. But as you get used to working and collaborating online, printing becomes less of a necessity. Managing your ‘to do’ list, assigning tasks and filing is all done digitally.

‘Paper independent’ doesn’t mean ‘paperless’. There are still wireless printers available in activity based offices. It just means being conscious of the amount of paper you use while working, and striving to minimise this amount.


Q: What if I need to use a phone?

A: Either you’ll be provided with a mobile, given a headset so you can use your laptop as a phone or be given a code to login to communal desk phones. There are booths available for you and your manager or executive where you can make private and confidential phone calls.


Q: What do I do with my personal belongings if I don’t have a desk?

A: Most people working in an activity based office are assigned a locker where you can keep your personal belongings such as handbags and gym gear.


Q: Finally, what are the benefits for me as an admin professional or EA?

A: Activity based working environments empower you to manage your own time, be more productive and ultimately produce your best work. Trust is already a very big part of your role and this new way of working will allow you to thrive. All within some of the most inspiring office spaces in town.


If you’d like to see an activity based workplace in action, click here for a tour of the amazing new Lego HQ in London: