Make a Smooth Transition to an Open Office Design

Making a transition from a traditional office design that is made up of private offices and cubicles to a modern open office design, can be challenging. 

Whether it is minor or a major change, employees’ wellbeing should be considered.

Here are a few things to consider to help your team manage stress and maintain productivity through these changes:

1. Look at the Big Picture

How will these changes affect the employees beyond just performance? Changes can affect morale and lead to health and wellness challenges, which can then lead to the need for time off. Or worse than that, hiring and retaining valuable employees may become difficult if it doesn’t meet with the current culture expectations of the employees.

2. Anticipate Challenges

Consider how different people will react, and plan for everything! Do your employees have landlines at their desks? Does their job require them to conduct private meetings or storage of highly sensitive paper documents? Are you accommodating the needs of these employees so they can do their job? If you are moving the location of your office, have you considered how employees will be commuting? Will there be additional charges for parking?    

3. Implement choice

Let employees have a say in how the new cubicles will be organized. Let employees know that you plan to have a open office design and why you want to make them. Offer them choices whenever possible and let them be part of the planning process. For instance, you know you need to buy ergonomic office chairs for your employees because the research shows that they are beneficial for their health and comfort. Envirotech offers a variety of fabric choices for clients. If there are a couple of fabrics that would be suitable, put it to an employee vote to see what colour is the most popular. 

In a recent industry survey[1] 12,480 people from across 17 countries said when they can move around during the work day, they tended to say they feel more engaged on the job.

Offering choice of types of workspaces, such as sit/stand desks, lounge areas, private rooms and bench-style cubicles means employees can change their position, readjust their posture and find a space that best suits the tasks that need to be done. Research shows this can provide a quick energy boost, as well as other benefits, and gives workers control over their need for privacy, quiet, and collaboration.

Brainstorm with your management team and employees to see what style of break-out and work areas they would like. Envirotech workplace consultants can then offer a variety of choices of furniture for open space design that can meet your floor space, budget and style needs.

4. Communicate

Communicate your plans well ahead of any changes. Plan, share information, listen, act and follow up.

One reason that employees resist change is the lack of communication; such as being informed of upcoming changes, how it will affect their job and what is expected of them during the implementation. Are there new policies that need to be put in place with these changes? Following up after the project to see how employees are managing, is just as important; when it comes to job satisfaction, and ensuring they are following any new policies. Because of the shared space, a new policy in an open office design may be that employees must use headsets when listening to music or speaking on the phone. Also, a clean desk policy is even more important when sharing workspaces to maintain security and privacy of certain documents. Providing proper support and training when asking employees to change behaviour or when using new technology will help maintain a happy, healthy and productive workplace.

 

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