5 Tips for Effectively Managing Change in the Workplace
bauhaus is approaching our one-year anniversary in our new showroom. As our anniversary date approaches, we are reminded of how we got to where we are today. Change, no matter how big or small, is never easy. Yet, it is an essential element of productivity and growth for any organization.
We frequently work with clients who are in the process of moving from an old office space to a new or refurbished space. With this move, often comes updates and changes to the office environment, which is often unsettling for employees.
Human beings are creatures of habit. We are most comfortable with familiarity. But keeping with our habits, and staying in our “comfort zone,” is not conducive to growth, both on a personal level and a corporate or organizational level.
So how do you approach an upcoming move into a new space with your employees? Thankfully, there has been much research done surrounding “change management.” Knoll provides a number of resources and tips for companies that are considering or currently engaged in a workplace move or transformation.
As you prepare for change, follow these change management tips to help your employees adjust more quickly.
Create the “Big Message.” If you are planning a significant change in the workplace culture and/or environment, communicating that change to employees is absolutely critical. Develop a consistent, broad communication message that addresses not only the initial announcement, but also includes a series of follow up communications over the course of the change. Honest and consistent communication can go a long way in helping your employees feel at ease and even excited about impending change. (Read: Communicating Workplace Change from Knoll.)
Take the “pulse” of your organization. A workspace evaluation and a change readiness survey are two valuable resources to help you manage change. A workspace evaluation provides the opportunity for employees to express their concerns, frustrations, and overall satisfaction with the existing workspace. A change readiness survey is designed to tell you how your employees are dealing with upcoming change, and their preferences for change communication. The survey will also help you evaluate how well the employees understand the reasons for change, what their hopes are for the new space. Expect a wide range of responses to the survey, as people may have different perspectives on change depending on their demographics. (Read: Three Keys to Successful Change Readiness Surveys from Knoll.)
Deliver the message. When Knoll relocated their NYC showroom, the company delivered consistent information with employees about the change through “town hall” meetings and email updates. But their communication message went far beyond that. Employees were provided opportunities for hands-on experiences, such as onsite walkthroughs, changes to practice the commute, and a workstation mockup, allowing employees to see and experience their new primary workspace ahead of time. When it was time to pack up and move, Knoll hosted a Move Party to build enthusiasm and say “Thank You” to employees.
Support the move. Before the move, offer training to employees on how to pack up their workstations. Throughout the course of the change process, provide training opportunities for employees to learn new technologies they will use in the new workspace. After the move, provide orientation sessions to help employees acclimate to the new space.
Most importantly, stay focused on your people. Change management in the workplace is about the people of the workplace. It is an opportunity to engage your employees and help them adapt more quickly to the new workspace and environment. Effective change management will leave employees feeling more satisfied with the overall change experience, as well as the new workspace itself. (Read: Managing Workplace Change: A People-Based Perspective from Knoll.)
As you approach a change in workplace location, environment and/or culture, do you have a plan on how you will manage that change? Be prepared for some employees to resist the change. Have a clear idea of how you will initially communicate the plan for change, as well as how you will communicate throughout the course of the change. Updating your workplace or moving to a new workspace can result in higher employee satisfaction and productivity, but the change must be managed intentionally and carefully.