Why agile offices might not be best for your staff’s mental health

This is certainly a hot topic over the years and at NEP we often get asked for our opinion on agile offices in terms of productivity. It’s also important to think about how mental health may be impacted.

We have many clients working in agile spaces and quite frankly it’s not something that comes naturally to everyone. While we believe while there are many upsides to agile it’s not a simple answer.

So as with most of our responses on productivity questions – the answer to whether agile offices are better… it depends on the individuals involved.

If you are thinking of going agile here are a few things to consider before you make the decision:

People can’t find each other

This often results in staff spending more time emailing each other or trying to book meetings to discuss where things are at on certain project. (Oh and you often can’t book a meeting room because they are booked solid with people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to find each other).

Or it just means that more issues are trying to be resolved on emails where everyone gets a little “reply all” happy and the email traffic increases exponentially.

One of my clients said that her daily emails increased by approximately 100 each day when her office went agile. Mmmmm that surely raises some questions…

Agile may create more unnecessary meetings

Now while collaborative work is great, we often find that so many meetings are unproductive or at least not as productive as they could be. Unfortunately we see far more “regular catchups” scheduled to aid communication, which is great in theory, but these are fraught with lack of agendas and taking far longer than they really should.

Some people just don’t feel the need to change their desk every day

All of these issues can create challenges for not just the productivity, but the mental health of staff. At NEP we love any form of flexible working that gets people working at their natural pace. It’s just important to realise that while there may be plenty pros to agile, it’s not without issues to consider.

If you are interested in learning more about being productive in agile environments, please contact us.


If you’d like to find out more, join the conversation in our next open workshop.