Shaking up your office space?

Shaking up your office space?

Space Race

So you have plans afoot to refresh the office work environment – but do you have the buy-in from your team?

Knock down walls, open up the floor plan, add in some hot desks, maybe throw in some stand-up work stations, push for collaborative spaces or do away with managerial offices – whatever you have in mind, there are ways to manage staff expectations and the inevitable resistance that will come from some quarters.

It’s human nature for most of us to dwell in our comfort zones – particularly at work where we like to know what to expect on the daily and where work-day habits determine the rhythm of how space is used, how people interact and where these interactions take place.

Change up the environment and the perceived “ownership” of space – and the whole workplace dynamic changes, too.

Leading global facility service company ISS Group, which was founded in Copenhagen in 1901 and now operates in major markets around the world, has released a workplace management report on how to lower resistance to workplace change.

It begins with the premise that workspaces should never be stable, saying the strategic organisational use of workspaces constantly requires degrees of spatial change due to shifts in technology, customers’ preferences, new ways of working and changes in the number of employees, for example.

The report’s five top strategies for office business owners transitioning to new working environments are:

1: Senior management needs to be clear on success criteria and outcome demands – how will success be measured, why is better performance expected from a change in workplace layout?

2: Based on outcome demands, it is necessary to clearly define future needs and look at what resources are actually available – what areas of the workplace hold real value to employees and what does management perceive is missing? You need to be able to look at human behaviours and demonstrate how and why changes to the space are necessary

3: Define where and how new work behaviours will fit into the workplace – how are these directly linked to the physical space

4: Engage middle management to convey why the changes will happen as well as what opportunities and outcomes the change will bring – everyone needs to be onboard

5: Involve the employees as the process unfolds – they need to appreciate how and why workplace behaviours are expected to change as a result of changes to the physical environment.

Having an engaged, settled and productive work team is the goal of every office-based business so ensuring that employees take pride and “ownership” of their work environment is a step in the right direction.

Change to physical office space can be confronting but with smart management, great things can happen.

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