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The official definition: the right or condition of self-government.

In terms of workplace, autonomy means employees can work how they want, where they want, and when they want. They "self-govern" how they get their work done, whether that's in the office or out, in quiet areas or open public spaces, through different video or audio technology, messaging platforms, and more.

A recent survey of 16,000 employees in 17 countries found that companies that grant their employees the freedom to make decisions about how and where they work perform better than those that don't, according to Herman Miller.

Here are two ways companies can promote autonomy in their workplace: 

1. Activity-based working: Autonomy, privacy and a renewed sense of pride can be established by offering employees a variety of workspaces in activity-based working models. This includes providing amenities that help employees do the four following activities:

Collaborate: Innovation hubs, maker spaces, brainstorm areas, huddle zones, stairs

Focus: Pods, phone booths, quiet cars, libraries, private nooks

Recharge: Meditation rooms, tech-free zones, outdoor commons, cafes/cafeterias, nap rooms, fitness centers

Move: Lockers/storage areas, flexible desks, collision areas, touchdown spots

2. Flexible working policy: Creating a flexible work policy, employees know their leaders take their people's individual needs seriously. Whether that's providing everyone one day a week to WFH, unlimited vacation time, or incorporating remote work into the business plan, employees know that their need for autonomy will be recognized.

Related Terms

Activity-based work (ABW)Mobile employeeFlexible work policy

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