The fact is that an open office isn’t an open-and-closed proposition. Usually, a workplace requires a carefully considered balance of customized layout options. Design considerations must start with a careful review of your organization’s culture, employee demographics, branding, and business objectives.
Customize and adapt. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all workplace strategy, and many options can engage employees in the decision-making process. By applying evidence-based, best practices — including employee feedback, change management plans, and numerous other amenities such as on-site cafes and fitness centers — organizations can deliver open and hybrid offices that enhance workflow and productivity. Other amenities are increasingly part of new workplace solutions, and the most sought-after features include food, wellness programs, sustainability measures such as natural lighting and “green roofs,” courtyards, bike racks, and automated parking.
Anticipate and manage pushback. As mentioned above, some employees may still feel uneasy about switching from private offices to collaborative space. While lack of privacy is part of their apprehension, they may also fear that giving up their office means compromising their status.
Time-tested methods to approach pushback can help involve employees in the workplace transformation process. Traditional change management plans include sending e-mail updates, forming a core project team, interviewing key employees and stakeholders, and creating design mockups. More creative and tech-centric methods include podcasts, video updates, and an Intranet where employees can view plans and provide feedback. Change management plans work most effectively when they are tailored to your staff.
Here are some training examples to consider incorporating into your plan:
- Offer guided workshops to help staff reflect and visualize on how they work today and how they could work in alternative settings.
- Take employees on a tour of alternative office environments and encourage them to talk with the staff there about their workplace.
- Present proposed changes to employees. Then, candidly review the designs and address feedback and concerns.