Our Talent, Your Future; ‘Future Talent’; Equipping HR leaders of the future – Agile Working

May 22, 2018

Frazer Jones were delighted to welcome Janet Campbell, independent HR Consultant and former HR Director of Ofcom last week to speak to our ‘Future Talent’ group on the subject of Agile Working. It was a brilliant session, which was interactive and informal, where Janet shared her HR career journey, an overview of Ofcom’s strategic internal review and their journey towards Agile Working.

Some key lessons learnt:

Drivers for agile working:

Increased office costs
Ways of working needed to compliment new values (Excellence, Agility, Empowerment, Collaboration)
Making best use of their space and technology
Recruiting, retaining and enabling colleagues to be at their best
Maintaining Ofcom’s reputation as a great place to work.

Initial Research:

Worked with expert consultants
Site visits to a number of organisations in private & public sector to learn how they implemented agile working and see how Ofcom could benefit from their collective experiences
Surveyed colleagues/internal focus groups

Implementing an agile working environment:

Moving to an agile environment is not simply hot desking. It involves changing the working environment and the culture, and how that can be harnessed to empower and encourage collaboration amongst colleagues and embracing the core values. It is also about building relationships based on trust, not hierarchy or presence.


Changing thinking in terms of how colleagues work
Promoted informal conversations rather than formal meetings
Developed agile working framework to reset expectations


Developed a pilot area for nominated teams
Open, agile areas rather than nominated desk space
Provision of quiet spaces, for concentrated working & telephone calls


Issued new IT kit (Surface Pros) to all colleagues
Moved to Office 365 & Skype for business
Power & charging points at all desks and alternative work stations, and reliable network connectivity provided throughout the whole building

Moving to an agile environment is not seamless; it is ongoing. Challenges encountered have helped progress towards even more collaborative working.

Some challenges:

By removing fixed desks, you remove the certainty of where people will sit; potentially disadvantageous to parents & carers and the neurodivergent
Environment with constant movement of people increases noise & distractions and, potentially, stress & anxiety
Standard IT set-up for all but lack of appreciation that some people might require bespoke software to enable them to work effectively

Some Solutions:

Reminded those who arrive earlier that when in meetings they should release desks for others to use
Boosted and encouraged colleagues to make use of the reasonable adjustments process
Ensuring senior management championed the agile approach (including normalising sitting in more than one place during the course of a day)
Increase tailored support from HR & IT teams

We are really grateful to Janet for giving her time to speak to the group. The session was thoroughly enjoyed by all.

We are delighted to be hosting our second technical session of the Future Talent programme which is more technically focussed and is on the topic of Commercial issues arising from complex discrimination claims on Thursday 31st May with Adam Williams, Partner at DMH Stallard.

If you have someone you have identified as ‘top talent’ that you manage and would like to nominate them to attend the series, please feel free to reach out for an informal chat.