Adaptive Working Environment
WellBeing and Performance Agenda - Item 5
The Adaptive Working Environment
The Adaptive Working Environment needs to provoke concentration in the workforce. We call this Lifestyle at Work because the same approach to the working environment should be adopted as the approach to lifestyle at home.
At home, where we are in control of the house, furnishing, layout and everything else, we are able to install the things we need to meet our personal lifestyle aspirations.
The same principle should apply at work, with the main difference being the focus on achievement of peak performance through the ability to concentrate on work.
Key elements of the Adaptive Working Environment
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WP Agenda Item 5 – the Adaptive Working Environment
Why is this the fifth item on the Agenda?
The Adaptive Working Environment relates more closely to the physical conditions of the workplace, combined with added influences on physical health, and management processes. These ingredients are developed within the context of the Adaptive Culture, and therefore, follow from the implementation of cultural influences.
The content of the Adaptive Working Environment has to be focused on supporting the attainment of commitment, trust, motivation, kinship, concentration and social engagement.
Definition of an Adaptive Working Environment
An Adaptive Working Environment includes: physical health, ergonomics, technology and management practices.
Physical health is about ensuring the workforce is able to remain physically healthy by taking exercise during the working day and is encouraged to do so. It, also, includes the provision of appropriate nutritious food, food that helps enhance physical health and provides energy to aid concentration. It is, also, about sending people home with infectious illness, so the illness doesn’t spread.
Ergonomics is the marrying of design with ease of use by people. This helps eliminate interruptions to concentration by providing equipment, furniture and buildings that are ‘fit for purpose’, and designed to help individuals achieve peak performance.
The same is true for technology, that is provided to aid concentration and achieve peak performance. In practical terms if IT breaks down, it needs to be fixed immediately, as this form of technology only exists to help achieve peak performance, and if it causes frustration by not operating effectively, then it contributes to under-performance.
Similarly, with management practices. These all need to enhance commitment, trust, motivation, kinship, concentration and social engagement, and any practice that doesn’t do this is contributing to under-performance and needs to be modified. The management practices that have a particular impact on performance are: recruitment, job purpose, job challenge, performance appraisal, team working, training and development, career development, openness, involvement (including meetings), encouragement, communications and worklife balance.
Benefits of an Adaptive Working Environment
Most organisations focus on this aspect of the WellBeing and Performance Agenda as it is more obviously aligned to performance, and physical challenges are often perceived as easier to fix than mental challenges.
From the description of this element it will be clear that the features highlighted make a significant contribution to performance. They, also, make a significant contribution to psychological wellbeing.
The example of IT breaking down, will cause degrees of frustration which, in turn, causes individuals to lose their concentration. There may be a ‘ripple effect’ onto other tasks not involving IT, so great can the frustration be when IT breaks down.
Getting everything right in this element of the WellBeing and Performance Agenda enhances individual psychological wellbeing and, therefore, has a direct impact on attaining peak performance.
Implementing an Adaptive Working Environment
The processes of implementing the Adaptive Working Environment are closely aligned to blending the role of managers as project managers with their role as people managers.
The implementation of this element is best achieved through management development. A template can be found in Derek Mowbray’s guide to the WellBeing and Performance Agenda.
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Articles about the Adaptive Working Environment
We continually update our article library with content from as wide a source as possible. If you would like more in-depth information on this subject, please click here to visit the Working Environment for WellBeing and Performance section of the library where you will be able to both read and download as many papers on this subject as you wish
A more in depth article on the subject of the Adaptive Working Environment is available here:
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4th July 2019
16th May 2019
NHS Northern Ireland and Unite
Belfast 15th May 2019
Derek Mowbray presenting on
Personal Resilience and
the Managers Role in Resilience