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By Joe Flynn
Commercial Office Facilities Article Use Policy
Before any change, study the way the company currently does business. Analyze efficiencies and deficiencies, and ask employees what is and is not working. Review technology platforms and what new technology-enabled work styles the company is willing to consider. Most importantly, evaluate the business growth strategy and how current employee demographics support those goals.
Secure 100 percent backing from top management. Leadership plays a significant role in any change. Ideally, they too would become a part of any shift in the workplace environment and lead by example. If the rest of the company sees and understands management's commitment, it will be more compelled to embrace new ideas.
Proactively engage and educate the company. Change is difficult for everyone, and a strategic change management process is critical. Including key stakeholders and employees in the change process will yield greater insight on which changes are best for advancing the company. And when more people feel invested in the direction of change, facilitating it will be much more successful.
Carefully address job functions and consider ergonomic needs. Intensive, analytical tasks require a different environment than highly interactive team activities. Identify needs of work functions first and culture second.
As change is planned, explore and mitigate potential pitfalls. With a reduction or elimination of private offices, integrate a variety of privacy opportunities for those who no longer have walls and doors. If workstation panels are lowered or eliminated, consider environmental responses such as sound masking to dampen nearby chatter and sightline barriers to visually break up the space.
Proactively address the perception of loss. Because many staff will perceive the proposed business change as a downgrade, it is important to introduce elements that are clear upgrades. Consider increasing the quantity and quality of perks or amenities given to employees. It is wise to provide fun, social spaces employees can genuinely feel good about.
— Joe Flynn
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