Agile working: an innovation in the way we work | Anne Cantelo | TEDxWoking



I'm gonna start by taking you back about 300 years about 300 years ago there were no such things as offices there were no factories if you worked you probably work near home you probably worked on the land or if you manufactured you did it in your house at the cottage industries work was judged by what you produced it wasn't judged by how many hours you were actually at work but in 1729 the East India Company opened the first ever office in Leadenhall Street in London the first Factory wasn't open until 1769 we then have the Industrial Revolution no more offices more factories and it became a way of working that we all commuted to work and that's the way we still work today but have you asked yourself recently is that a productive way of working does it suit businesses does it suit society I'm going to argue that it doesn't this is what happens every morning around the world we all fight with the trains the roads are congested we're dipping out pollution all over the place and then we get to the office and what happens at the office Bob wants you to tell you how to his job again because he can't be bothered to find out for himself and you're sat there so it's very easy Mary wants to tell you all about what she and Peter got up to at the party at the weekend and Beryl wants to foist yet more baked goods on you but the office is actually a terrible place to work it's full of distractions it is really tough I find it difficult to understand anyone can work from an office so most of us have our best ideas either in the bath or walking in the woods you're glad I didn't pitch with the bath I think up there every choice and it's because we're away from all those distractions and we're stress free now just as just as an industrial revolution happened there's a revolution happening now that's just starting but it's beginning to get traction we're calling in the agile revolution the agile revolution means instead of thinking about where you work how you work who you work for you break down all those barriers and you just focus on what you deliver it started as a way of project managing in the on IT industry but it's now spread a lot further than that and everyone's starting to think about it but very few people understand it which is why we wrote the book the idea revolution if you think about it most of us are working in an agile way now you know you're sending emails in the evening some of you maybe even working now as I'm speaking since a smartphone came about we've all been working in an agile way you know it's become the norm but we're not all doing it at work so let me persuade you as to why it's wrong the society first of all if you think about what's happening in society at the moment let's start by transport as I said the government is spending billions and billions of pounds every year on improving the trains the road networks generally on infrastructure billions of pounds and yet the roads are still crowded the trains are still congested we still have to fight the strikes and then you look at the cost of it the average cost of a commute is 168 pounds a month that equates to around about 21% of a mortgage payment the average time someone commutes a day is an hour and 38 minutes in some parts of the country it's gone up to four hours a day out of your working day and of course it is exhausting you then look at pollution pollution in this country there's an annual limit of pollution set by the World Health Organization in this year we reach that annual limit in London but 6th of January that's before most of us even got back from Christmas holiday it's Twelfth Night that's when the pollution limit was reached you then look at housing costs there is a huge disparity in housing costs across the UK this is caused by the fact people need to be near their jobs the either need to be near their jobs or they have to commute and most of manage a reluctant balance of both but housing costs much more expensive if you're near your job or if there's a lot of jobs nearby it means that in fondling you can buy a one-bedroom flat for fourteen and a half thousand pounds I suspect you can't get a garage in working for fourteen and a half thousand pounds and in the center of London it's gone up sue million this means we've got a whole generation of people who the idea of a front door their own front door is an unrealistic dream it's not going to happen it's never gonna happen you then look at society and communities and we've all seen problems with mental health etc all the studies show that people benefit by knowing the people around them their community and being part of a community and yet almost no one knows their next-door neighbor at all it's because we live and work in different places a lot of towns are now dormitory towns you sleep there and you go to work somewhere else you don't know anyone at all and then on to the final point as I said I've over these quite quickly obviously but they're all huge issues by themselves the next point is women child care elder care women are now in the workforce that means there is a little bit of a hole at home who looks after the children who looks after older people with agile working it's not so much of an issue be sure not so far from home childcare is a cost that most of us can't afford it is ridiculous cost trying to put your older folk into homes is a ridiculous cost but actually if you're nearby if there is an accident you're on hand and we then look at people with disabilities we spoke a bit about it it's but there's are a lot of people at home who are highly skilled but they can't work and they're economically inactive simply because they cannot travel which is a crazy situation so they're on benefits etc so there's a lot of very good reasons why society it doesn't work the way we're working currently but then is this a burden on business as a business owner I obviously don't want any extra burdens on business we did a study earlier in this year with a company called bps world bps world is a global recruiter there at the very sharp end of the skills crisis they recruit for things like an IT in engineering where there's a real problem the right people we asked agile companies those are already introduced agile working we ask them what the impact was most of them said that the productivity increase of introducing agile working was between 10 and 20 percent they also found there is much easier to recruit people and it made life much easier for them around they also found people didn't leave as often because they were more wedded to the company more engaged with the company there were also bigger studies done in China there was one with a company called sit trip there are 20,000 employees they spent sent half of them home to remote work it was done to try and reduce overhead costs the other half stayed working as we normally know it in the office and they tracked them over 2 years at the end of the two years they looked at what the impact was and again they found a 13 percent productivity increase and a 50% drop in resignations so there's a huge productivity reason for working like this the issue about people leaving work as an employer I already have people working for me who left agencies and other places because they wouldn't even allow them to work one day from home now that is a huge issue in a skills crisis we've got at the moment where it's really difficult to get good people so the person I've employed she brought in million pound contracts to her agency but they wouldn't let her work from home one day a week and as there are more more companies like mine who are gonna recruit people in this way and let them work where they need to work obviously I'm gonna be I'm in front queue as far as the skills crisis is concerned so I'm very happy about that so you don't have to look at why businesses aren't doing this that's the main reason the main reason people said to me business owners of why they don't allow people to work from home is the importance of informal communication the water-cooler moment I think informal communication is incredibly important that's why we get together one or two days a week there's one or two days a week we compress all our water-cooler moments into one or two days we find out when Mark and Jenny got up to at the party we do share baked goods and we gots it and it is social and we do have lunch and we do all those things and it's fun but I come away from it again astonished that anyone can really work for an office it is so full of distractions the second thing is presenteeism the need to be present you have to be present in the office but presenteeism is a very strange concept in today's world how many people actually judge Amazon has a less credible retailer because they they're not they don't have a shop and when you buy insurance do you go online or do you expect to go and see an insurance broker in a nice shiny office presenteeism is going the other big issue is that most companies myself included even though we're tiny we're a global company which means that at any one time even if I work I need to work 24 hours a day seven days a week to make sure that moment always presents when some of them might need me so we're not present anyway we really are not present it's really important that we understand that people are productive at different times of the day if you see me first thing you'll see that I talk really slowly and my brains not working I'm more productive later in the day if we're having to accept people's time clocks around the world why not accept that they're actually productive at different times of the day as well it's a really important issue it makes a massive difference as you can see these are the reasons why productivity increased so good overall most companies are now at least beginning to think about this there are issues no doubt about them this doesn't suit everyone or all companies or all sectors I'm not sure I'd want to be operated on remotely and obviously in hospitality and things it also doesn't suit all people what I'm suggesting is that you give people an option and as I said you still need to come together but people should have an option at least you know why judge people by how long are their sat at the desk some people do get cabin fever at home and that's why there's so many good work ups and places now where you can go to and be near home you don't have to commute two hours you can just go down the road and get to know your local business community that's really important training can be more difficult but we took on a 22 year work-experience person and yes we sat with her in the office a couple of days a week she came away from the experience and said it was actually no different to university that you sit together you train you get to know the job and you go away and work out with you can do it yourself and it does great really independent employees are very much focused on the end goal I think as I said most companies begin to think about this I think a lot of them don't understand it a lot of them are said things to me like yes we're fully agile company we allow people to go home early on a Friday that's not an agile employer and that's one of the reasons we wrote the agile revolution with bps world the global recruiter there is a huge issue I think at the public sector policy level I was at City Hall in October last month and there's a big board there which saying all the policy initiatives around pollution they didn't mention agile working but can you imagine the impact if everyone just worked one or two days from home a week the massive impact on pollution one of the people who contribution to the book was a guy called Leon Benjamin Leon Benjamin is a change management consultant he's worked with people like virgin and BT and Microsoft some really big players he was sat down with Transport for London and he said you've got all these problems you're throwing these billions of pounds at hurt wouldn't it be better just to encourage some agile working he was met with a complete blank stare as if he was mad so this is not even being thought apparent people are not even thinking that this could solve so many of society's problems even if it doesn't work for some everyone it could work for a lot of people of course if the public sector will probably get on board with this at the point that their gains critical momentum and a lot of people are doing it if they're late to the party doesn't really matter they won't go out of business but I'm saying if businesses late to the party you will go out of business the revolution will be bloody thank you [Applause]

10 Comments

  1. Taz I said:

    Great speaker, but she seems out of breath

    May 23, 2019
    Reply
  2. Daniel Ceillan said:

    Agile is the name that the new work paradigm received in Software Development industry.

    While this video someways relates to Agile core principles, is not at all about Agile.

    The origin of this new paradigm, called Agile in Software area, is the gap that exists between industrial revolution, scientific management, versus Information Society.

    The paradigm itself was discovered by Maria Montessori worked with a group of students.

    She found that the students could learn much better if they self-organize in small groups, and the teacher acts like a "facilitator" letting the learning process flow naturally.

    Also the use of colors and shapes to organize the context was a great factor for learning facilitating. And of course: learning by experience.

    One of the main success factors for this new paradigm, is to abandon the idea to control and standardise the Chaos, instead let it Flow in an appropriate context.

    Montessori discovered that in 1906.

    May 23, 2019
    Reply
  3. Laura Houssain said:

    Misleading title I would say.

    May 23, 2019
    Reply
  4. Ben Leeds said:

    Agile != Working From Home

    May 23, 2019
    Reply
  5. Junaid Rahim said:

    Agile methodology is a set of principles, guidelines ,processes used by teams working on variety of projects. What the speaker details is that agile working (work from, home, forest, bath tub) can be utilized with agile methodology to get projects done in the shorts possible time. This would however mean that outcomes are measured more often. I do agree that people function better in there own creative spaces versus offices filled with distraction. I really enjoyed this presentation.

    May 23, 2019
    Reply
  6. Thierry Morel said:

    I find that this presentation lacks a concrete definition or description of what Agile working is. It sounds like Agile working is about offering flexibility to your employees in giving them the ability to work for home. I think there is a lot more to Agile working than this. Also it's a shame the presenter is very nervous, she would have gained from engaging more with the audience (she does it at one point), and pacing herself better. Particularly at the start it sounds like she's trying to remember what she has to say. Still it raises questions and it's good to see people like Anne Cantelo taking the stage to speak about this at least to get the conversation going.

    May 23, 2019
    Reply
  7. Joseph T said:

    Very good speaker. Kept engaged the whole time.

    May 23, 2019
    Reply
  8. Steve Dines said:

    Agile working is far more than working from home, it's a transformation, a paradigm shift in the way we work … from organisation to organism, from production line to ant colony, from a pyramid to a wheel.

    May 23, 2019
    Reply
  9. Jeshua Raphael said:

    Is this about Agile working? or about working from home?

    May 23, 2019
    Reply
  10. Process Effects said:

    This is great! I love your points on this topic!

    May 23, 2019
    Reply

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