Change. We all go through it. Some of us embrace it and some of us hide under our desks, hoping desperately that it will go away. There’s no escaping from change these days and in fact, many companies are redesigning workspaces or moving offices with the distinct purpose of causing change. They have begun to realise that our environments can impact on our wellbeing, happiness and productivity and this is often their primary motivation for transforming our workspaces.
The way we are working is changing too. The traditional office is dying off and open plan workspaces are becoming commonplace. Open plan offices bring with them a range of benefits including increased collaboration, which then fosters innovation and improves communication. But while the benefits are numerous there are also downsides, and if change management processes are not properly utilised during the transformation, these can have serious consequences.
For instance the new open plan office layout could increase noise levels and have a negative impact on focus work. More introverted employees might miss the privacy an office afforded them and therefore be less productive. Middle or senior managers may also be angry at losing the offices they feel were a reward for their hard work and this can seriously affect their motivation and personal performance.
Know More, a division of workplace specialists Giant Leap, offers a range of services to help companies ensure that their workplace environments are increasing staff satisfaction and productivity. Recognising the risks involved in changing the way we work, Know More recently launched Know More Change, a consultancy specialising in change management within the workspace environment.
We’ve developed a range of tools and services to help companies recognise the changes that are needed in their environments in order to optimise productivity. We help them implement those changes, and now we can also help mitigate the risks associated with those changes. We’ve also partnered with leaders in the field, such as The Centre for People and Buildings (CfPB), to ensure that our research is up-to-date and that we have the best tools to offer.
The practice of change management is often vague which means that companies fail to implement it. Being in the workplace field, we quickly saw that the change management process was the one area where companies were falling down. So much time and effort was put into creating beautifully designed new offices, but managers were not thinking about how their staff would react to the changes resulting from the new designs.
By following a well thought out and structured approach to change management, the redesign process can be even more beneficial for both individual staff members and the business as a whole.
The benefits of effective change management:
- Knowledge transference – staff understand why the change is occurring
- Employee engagement and ownership of the change
- Skills development
- Resistance is identified and dealt with early in the process
- Senior leaders are further empowered and more proactive and engaged
- Change is supported
- Increased staff satisfaction that leads to increased productivity
- Downtime is minimised and risk is mitigated
- Probability of meeting project objectives is increased
The negatives of poorly managed change:
- Decline in productivity
- Decrease in staff satisfaction
- Passive resistance grows
- Active resistance emerges and sabotages the change
- Employees become disengaged
- Risk increases
- Changes are not fully implemented
- Changes are cancelled due to lack of support