The People Project PodcastFlexible WorkingPodcast

Episode 5: How to manage agile working - the panel

Following our interview with Perry Timms, #9 HR Most Influential Practitioners 2019 winner, we're focusing on how to manage agile working in the office.

How agile working can work for SMEs

Jonathan Richards is joined by agile industry leaders who have first-hand experience of kicking off this workplace strategy. 


Listen to Alison Payne, Head of People at COOK Ltd, Dan May, CEO of ramsac and Steve Taylor from Peldon Rose as we uncover the SME dos and don'ts for employee and business progression. 

Agile espresso report

What does agile mean for your small business? 

Alison Payne, COOK Ltd.

Is it a term that we use?

Interestingly enough, we don't use the term agile; I don't think we're quite there yet. 

When we really started to work on this about 3 years ago we went - first off - asking people what they felt about flexible working.

that was really fascinating to get all their perceptions. And, predominantly, what that threw up is a lot of myths if you like about job share and child care and that's where it started for us.

I think because of the nature of the business, there's still lots to do in terms of giving people flexibility.  

"The very nature of agile is that you have to be agile in the way that you're agile." Jonathan Richards, Breathe 


How to manage flexible working for on-the-road employees:

Dan May, CEO, ramsac

Image from iOS (17)1 (1)As an organisation, what we've done is try to create a culture based around trust and flexibility, which has probably been the driving factor in recognising that business is not just a nine to five... there are huge benefits in being able to attract new talent, retain existing talent and save costs. And just be a nicer place to work.

I think agility for us came about as a result of a very determined focus on being the best employer we can be. I don't think we ever sat down and said how can we be a more flexible workforce?

What we did do? We sat down and said what does employment culture mean here, what do people want to feel loved, trusted, valued and want to stay with us for a long time?

And I think agility has grown out of that. And of course being a technology business, being at the front end of the opportunity that technology brings has definitely helped. 

How to make your office building agile: agile, smart, flexible workspaces

Steve Taylor, Peldon Rose

With technology moving forward as it is we have more process and power in our phones than we did in PCs ten years ago.

the people project podcast how to manage agility for SMEs ep 5steve taylor peldon rose
"The beauty for us as interior designers is that it's really taken the shackles off and allowed to create human spaces where we can really thrive in"

So, being able to take come of those learnings from our client's projects and bring them into our home was actually really refreshing. 

As a business, we were growing and needed more space. That's why we were sure to take our staff on our journey and through the steps of the agile remove fears and anxieties they may have. 

Questions to ask your people:

Staff tend to get possessive or territorial of their desk, their pedestal or their bit of real estate in the office and it comes from a space of needing to belong.

  • What is it that you're worried about in terms of moving?
  • How would you feel about sharing a desk?
  • Would you like storage areas or places to put your belongings?

We hosted workshops and talked it through. We were able to allow people to see that the future agile world we were offering in the office building space would have a lot more rewards for our people. 

"We created open spaces, free communication, moments for people to spark conversations, acoustic sofas, library spaces, all manor of facilities to promote healthy living"


Want to hear more?

Tune-in or download Episode 5 of The People Project Podcast where our guests continue the discussion on how to manage agile working for small businesses. 

If you like this, make sure you check out our previous episodes where we share advice and top tips for managing mental health at work

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