What is Activity Based Working?

What is Activity Based Working?

ABW (Activity Based Working) provides your people with the power of choice! Choosing from a range of environments or work zones in your office space that best suits the task at hand.  It provides a variety of predetermined activity areas that allow your teams to do specific activities including learning, collaborating, focused work , high concentration work to impromptu informal meetings or more formal meetings and socialising. It is an alternative approach to people undertaking all their work at one setting, such as a fixed desk.

This new way of working is positioned as a team-orientated approach to how we work, which is flexible enough for diverse teams within your business to adapt their allocated home zones to their needs and actions.

ABW recognises that we perform a variety of activities and work places require a variety of work zones or settings to effectively do these activities with the aim of higher productivity and engagement from your team. 

For ABW to be successful, the benefits should be made clear to your people and a new mind-set from a ‘me’ to a ‘we’ that needs to be introduced by leaders.

ABW is a transformational business strategy that seeks to encourage people to physically locate themselves where it is most suitable for them to complete their work. The approach is based on appraising performance through positive business outcomes rather than systems and processes.

The expectations of people now entering the workforce for the first time has also changed.  We now have teenagers born post millennium in the work place. Throughout their time at school and university, the type of space they use has always been determined by the task or activity being undertaken.  If you have children, you just need to watch how they do their school work at home, how they move from different zones in the house depending on the task. Technology has given us and the new generation the flexibility and agility to work anywhere in any space.

There is not a one-size-fits-all concept of an Activity Based Workplace. It is not the same as hot-desking or an open floor plan. The concept can certainly help your organisation evolve.


Work anywhere; time and place independent work.

Empowerment; supported by trust results in responsibility.

Open & flexible workspaces; including the right acoustics for each activity.

Flexible working relations; supporting honest and genuine conversations.

Unlimited Digital access & connectivity; digital transformation and paper independence and reduction.

For the ABW to be successful, it must be relevant to the workforce: who they are and what they do at work. ABW is not for every business and is more appropriate for a business that is mobile or looking to adopt and embrace mobility. It might be that you introduce the ABW concept to some of your more appropriate teams or departments?  Think about setting up a pilot space that is set up with the right technology and accommodates various work zones on a smaller scale. This may be the stepping stone to engage your people with the future ways of working.

The workplace that welcomes the ABW way of working celebrates the culture of trust, empowerment and a new type of leadership. Every organisation has different aspirations. Aligning your vision, culture and mission to a new environment and way of working can be a great platform for change. The benefits of an activity based workplace are for its people and in the end for its customers.

To start your Activity Based Working Journey contact us today or have a look at the Motion Range of Office Furniture for inspiration

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  • Tanya Hanrahan