The working world has changed. Gone are the days when the office would meet the needs of everyone simply because it housed a desk and a computer. Now, people want to work from a place that suits their needs and working styles.
So the stakes could not be higher when it comes to effectively managing workspace change. No one wants to take unnecessary risks that can lead to costly mistakes and employee dissatisfaction.
We’ve been helping businesses navigate the tricky terrain of changing offices and workspaces for over 10 years. That’s why we’ve put together these tips for anyone going through a change process right now.
#1 Get everyone on board
More so than ever, employees want to know that the work that they do matters. Nearly two-thirds of employees say they’re more likely to stay with a company and be excited about the work if they connect with the mission and purpose.
Change is never comfortable, but the potential rewards can afford a brilliant incentive. For the same reasons we feel attached to our homes and invested in taking steps to make our space better fit where we are in life, mission-driven companies with a clear focus on where they’re going and a willingness to be who they are will find it easier to achieve buy-in when change is afoot.
It’s important for leaders to walk the talk. When employees hear leaders saying one thing and doing another, or implementing ‘one rule for us’ style policies – change programs are going to struggle to land. For example, if a new hybrid working rule comes in that requires days in the office, leaders should be doing the same to generate a feeling of being in it together.
Things to think about:
- How does your company mission match the physical setting?
- Do you physically produce a product on site that may change the essential reason for the office?
#2 Make your space worth showing up for
In our increasingly digitized world where most things can be accessed with a click or a swipe, people are drawn to what’s most convenient. For your office space to appeal in this post-pandemic climate, you need to offer what employees can’t get at home.
Where a fully stocked fridge and pool table once seemed to do the trick, these perks have widely become cliche. Now people need to understand why they’ve been asked to add hours to their day as well as the cost of travel.
Your change program is the perfect opportunity to add elements to the office that people can’t get at home. Most people who take on remote work miss coming together easily with peers – so why not increase the value of showing up to do so by creating inspiring collaboration spaces?
Work from home may be easy, but it can also be tough to stare at the same four walls each day. Your office space can offer something different entirely, by providing a variety of different spaces to suit different situations. That means prioritizing quiet spaces just as much as lively ones.
#3 Don’t rush the process
Some pressure at work is good, but too much can be debilitating.
In particular, the pressure to work fast can lead to making mistakes that several people find themselves involved with trying to fix. This negatively impacts productivity and forces key people into ‘damage control’ mode, eventually recognizing that it would have been smarter to have taken more time to get things right from the start.
When it comes to workplace change, mistakes can be costly in many ways and impact many people. To save having to engage in disaster recovery, it pays to be deliberate in how you work.
Set realistic expectations for strategizing, designing, and planning a new workspace. If you don’t know where to start, you can always ask for help.
#4 Know where you stand
You wouldn’t buy a house from a developer who based their measurements on guesswork. So don’t play guessing games when it comes to what your office needs.
Taking time to understand where your company wants to go and how space can support that future is an investment. It increases the value of the work you’re doing by making it intentional. These informed choices are more likely to align with your culture, creating that coveted sense of belonging, and making the office feel like a home away from home (and a welcome change from being at home!)
You wouldn’t believe how many companies we’ve seen sign leases without knowing exactly how much space they need, or what might change in the near future. Before you meet with a real estate broker, it’s critically important to get clear on what you truly need.
#5 Effectively communicate why change is happening
Going through major changes with your workspace is no walk in the park. It costs time and money. You’re investing in something that should ultimately add value to your business – both as an employer, and provider of products or services.
But without effective change communications, employees may not adapt and you could lose out on both counts. Leaders also need to realize the risks of low adoption to the new working environment. Frustrated employees become disengaged employees, who go on to become less effective employees, and later ex-employees. And once that impacts client delivery, you’ve got a big and expensive headache on your hands.
When companies can clearly articulate why change is happening, employees are more likely to understand why it’s in their interest. Excited employees may even want to contribute towards making the project a success. Companies who achieve this are doing something special, because it’s certainly no secret that the easiest thing for an employee to do is stay home.
Bonus: Don’t go it alone
With a strong team of workplace strategy experts, we can help your workplace fit the demands of a more empowered workforce. Together, we can design, build, and implement a workplace strategy to fit the ever changing needs of your business. We’ve helped hundreds of local companies elevate their businesses through design, innovation, and strategy.
Whether you’re going through this process right now, or you know you’ll need to soon, we’re offering a free 20 minute consultation that you can take advantage of right now. A specialist will talk through your needs, goals, and future plans and offer valuable ‘no-strings’ advice on the path forward.
Spaces are limited, so book yourself in here.