As organisations look to embrace hybrid working, the key to its successful adoption heavily depends on both leadership and employees. However, when making such a change in working practices and rolling out new office spaces, it’s not enough to just communicate the change. What’s really required is a programme of change management.
The past two years have been turbulent for employees and as we start to see light at the end of the tunnel, the prospect of further changes can seem daunting. Having employees onboard is crucial for a successful hybrid office, afterall, employees’ attitudes can make or break any initiative. By embracing change management, employees are taken on the journey from establishing new working practices to embracing new working environments, rather than being left behind and becoming disengaged. But, when it comes to workplace strategy and design, what do we mean by ‘change management’ and why is it so crucial for success?
Change Management Is A Process
Put simply, change management is a process. It helps you articulate a clear vision of the goal you’re trying to reach and a direction to follow to help you get there. It also provides a systematic approach to dealing with the transition from where you are to where you want to be. By embracing a change management approach to your workplace strategy and office design, you are able to control the rate and pace of any change, and help people to join you on the journey and adapt effectively.
For the team here at Paperspace, our approach follows three simple steps: 1. Visioning & Strategy; 2. User-Engagement & Communication; and 3. Design Implementation. Throughout each of these steps we put people front and centre, engaging and communicating with them at every step of the way. This is particularly important in the case of workplace strategy and design as afterall, your employees are the key users of any processes you implement or any offices you open.
Humans Naturally Resist Change
When organisations look to implement a hybrid office approach the key benefits they look to achieve are largely people focused; from talent retention and acquisition, to improvements in team collaboration and productivity. By ensuring employees are at the heart of the change management process, the work space delivered as a result will provide an environment they want to be in and a space they want to use. Designing from the top and rolling out changes without early and proper engagement is a recipe for disaster.
As human beings we are naturally inclined to be resistant to change. It’s often the case that desired operational changes fail simply because of the employees’ attitudes towards that change. One easy way to help prevent this from happening is to make sure your employees feel listened to, that their hopes and fears are taken on board, and that they are kept informed along the way. No one likes having things done to them or sprung upon them so keeping your people front and centre of each decision you make will go a long way in ensuring the success of your hybrid office.
So, when designing your new workplace or office don’t forget your users. While focusing on the design might seem the most exciting part of the process, it’s only by developing a true workplace strategy and delivering this through a carefully thought out change management process that you will realise the full benefits that a hybrid office approach can bring.
Visit our projects page to learn how we’ve helped our clients embrace the change and realise their perfect hybrid office.