In order for the development of working environments to achieve its objectives, the project will require professional change management, active communication and clear rules of play. It is of paramount importance to involve employees in the change.
Change begins the moment a decision is made that something must be done. The management team will envisage the guidelines that are then presented to supervisors and the rest of the employees. New premises will support the objectives set, but they cannot implement changes without people. Open communication and genuine participation play an important role from the outset of the process of change. The more employee participation and influence there is, the easier it will be to implement the changes.
We often attach strong emotions to our work and the working environment and we must be given a chance to process such feelings. Change may engender insecurity and fear, and independent help may be required to work through such feelings. It is therefore often easier to implement changes with an outside partner. Surveys, informal discussions and participatory workshops are examples of ways of involving employees in the changes.
Changes will also bring with them new practices. In particular, moving from individual offices to an open, shared space creates a need for new rules and office etiquette. How do you ensure that people can concentrate on their work? How do you tell others that you don’t want to be disturbed at the moment? And when is the right time for discussions? Challenges in the new working environment are often about insignificant things, and a simple workshop on office etiquette is an easy solution for many situations.
It is important to understand that the purpose of change is to create the best possible workplace. No employer wants to offer their employees poor working conditions. Employees that are content generate the greatest benefits for their employer.
“Moving from your own office to one shared with others may force you to face new aspects of yourself, as well as other people. Here lies a great development opportunity. When you can relax with yourself, there is no need for protective walls. Your world is not made of carpets and chairs. You can take it with you”.
Change Management Consultant