Any change in the workplace can be unsettling. If people have a settled way of working and using the workspace, significant changes to that environment can take some time to adjust to. If it feels as if the changes have been imposed upon them that adjustment can be harder. In some cases, it can lead to resentment and loss of performance.
Ensuring that your employees are engaged throughout the office design change process from the very beginning can ensure that they embrace that change. Consulting with everyone on every decision is impossible, so how do you go about engaging employees in a practical and realistic way?
Why is Workspace Change Happening?
Firstly, you need to identify why changes to the workspace and office design need to be made. The Covid-19 pandemic has forced wide-scale changes to the way we live, work and socialise. If your changes are designed to make your workplace safer and more resilient, then it may be relatively easy for employees to get on board. If changes are happening due to other reasons, perhaps to foster new ways of working or to bring a workspace up to date, then these reasons may need to be better explained and understood.
Employee Involvement in Change Management
A coherent plan for your office space planning should be developed that aims to involve as many employees as possible in the change process. Identify a senior manager, who will be leading the change process, and ask them to put together a change team, drawn from across the different levels of the company. It will be their role to build and foster support for change.
Consult on Your Office Design plans
Although you may have a clear idea about the direction of travel regarding your changes to the office interior and space, you should allow for input from the people who will be using that space.
What specific changes will help them do their jobs better? Are there any particular areas of the current workspace that they find particularly problematic?
You may gain new insights and ideas that inform your plans. In turn, this should help to create a workspace that is more attuned to the needs of your employees.
Dealing with Office Design Disagreements
Although it’s tempting to believe that any significant changes to a workspace will be welcomed by everyone, any period of change has the potential to create disagreements. Dealing with disagreements or employee unhappiness about any area of change can be a sensitive and potentially disruptive process. Addressing potential unhappiness at an early stage is crucial if it’s not to develop into a significant problem.
The change team will play a role in identifying how everyone is feeling about the change, and a thorough consultation process should encourage honest input. Hearing if people are unhappy about the proposed office design change is perhaps even more important than learning that most people consent.
Any significant changes to a workspace need to be made in consultation with the people who use it within a supportive environment that allows for honesty and good communication. That way it’s more likely to be embraced as a positive development.
Flow Office Design
As people move back to their places of work and get used to working in an office environment again, issues are bound to come to the surface. If you throw into the mix a whole host of other workspace changes then it makes sense to get your teams on board as soon as possible.
At Flow Office design Birmingham, we work with businesses and organisations to design great work environments and help manage that change. Speak to our expert team today for any guidance you may need.