Well, it's been a while but we are back with the 3rd and final installment of our "Office move HQ" series.
In the 1st episode, we looked at finding your office move team, how to look for a new location, and where to start when planning your budget. In the 2nd episode, we shared some advice for getting the space and design right, and today, we are going to talk about what you can do to help your users settle into their new space.
Like many things that involve change, moving office requires adjustment from your users; especially if the environment is completely different to what they are used to. Managing the transition from one office to another can be challenging, however, as Neil Usher recently said in an article from onoffice about managing new office spaces...
Challenges are everywhere but as Neil would suggest, it's better to see them as opportunities. Don't get bogged down if you notice that users aren't embracing the new environment as quickly as you would have hoped. It takes time for people to adapt and break old habits.
Here are some things that you can do to help your users in their transition:
Talk to them!
It should be made clear why this change is happening and how it will affect your employees from the get go. Have a clear project vision in mind and don't be afraid to share it with them. People are the most valuable strategic asset within your business, so when big changes occur, it is important to be as transparent as possible with them.
Champions of Change
Resistance is expected when moving or refurbishing your office but there will be people in your business that have a natural enthusiasm for change. These people are your influencers. These people are your 'Champions of Change!' They can help other users prepare for the move or change, help manage internal expectations, and promote positivity around the transition. The beauty of these characters is that you will find they dont need much encouragement to help. They will also be invaluable at helping people adapt to their new workspace post-move.
State the purpose of spaces with manifestations
Manifestations are often used as a way of representing your brand and reinforcing your core values throughout the office but they can also be used to explain the intended purpose of the spaces you have introduced. Don't shy away from getting straight to the point. Here is a great example of a breakout space in the Claremont Centre Glasgow showroom.
Lead by example
It might sound obvious and a little old hat but you would be surprised how often leading by example is forgotten. It is essential that users see senior members of your business maximising the new space. You will find that the millennials within your business will settle in quite quickly but other generations may need to see the space in action before they give it a go. Don't be too rigid in how you promote the use of breakout spaces just make sure YOU are using them and others will follow.
Officially welcome your users to their 'new pad'
Don't shay away from the change. Make a big deal of it and treat it like an occasion! Invite your workforce to an opening event for the new space. Take the chance to show off the new environment that you have created and let them become familiar before they start working in it. Showcase the new spaces that you have introduced and ask your champions of change to give tours of the office. Their natural enthusiasm will help encourage the adoption of the space.
The pressures on today's businesses to provide flexible and exciting office spaces are more present than ever. By giving your users a variety of spaces to work in, you are already one step ahead of many others.
When managing the transition of your users into their new space, the most important and basic thing to remember is...TRUST your staff to use the space freely and give them TIME to do so. That is how you will get the most of out of them.