Setting up a new office is an exciting time. With more and more offices now moving to an open plan environment, the benefit of creating a collaborative space and reducing ongoing accommodation costs often results in a culture shift.
However, it’s also important to understand that for employees it can be an overwhelming experience. Similar to the transition from primary school to high school, it’s a change to the status quo; a change from the norm, and frankly, it’s scary.
Not all employees will embrace the change to a new office as readily as you might expect. Over our years of delivering fitouts and changing workplaces from traditional to open plan offices, we have identified tactics to ease your staff into the transition and get the most out of their workspace.
Communicate the Message
The benefits of moving to an open plan office may seem obvious but providing an understanding to your team will create enthusiasm and ease the anxiety of the change. Holding a meeting early in the process is a must! Remember, open workspaces encourage a collaborative team environment, facilitate information sharing and increase the frequency of interactions, resulting in stronger team relationships across the business. Ultimately, this gives you the tools to accomplish your business goals, through a flexible and relaxed working environment.
Empower the Leadership Team
All great change starts from the top. When things become unfamiliar we will always look to our leaders for direction. Giving your leadership team the tools to make decisions (even if this is just knowledge of the timeline) creates a united front for the change, and assists in guiding employees through the process. As managers, the leaders in your business will be eager to encourage interactions within their team and build relationships between departments.
Identify staff who may struggle with the change.
It's important to understand who may need more support during the transition and accommodate for their needs. Recognising the emotional aspects of the change is a good place to start. Some employees may struggle with the idea of 'lack of privacy' initially, or have concerns about distractions. The key here is to focus on team building and the opportunity for thought leadership and innovation. Professional development doesn't end with your direct manager, and while it can be difficult to move from a private space to an open plan environment, collaborative work leads to innovative problem solving and original ideas.
Adapt and be patient
As with all change, it's important to recognise that things may not always go to plan. When this happens, being flexible is the only option. Without an agile change management plan in place, you risk leaving your staff in the past.
Despite the financial and strategic advantages of an open plan environment, this office style may not suit all companies. The team at Canopy can determine if this is the best fit for your organisation.
Approximately a third of our lives are spent in the workplace, and it should be a comfortable space for every professional to be the best version of themselves. If the dream is to love the work you do, then our dream is to make sure you love the space you work in.
Find out how Canopy deliver a complete workspace transition. Contact our design team today.