Drive change management success with your workplace

You’ve identified your company vision and are looking to activate a change management programme, but are you utilising the tools available to bring it to life? Craig Murray, our Consultancy and Design Director, explains how you can reach your objectives by making workplace transformation part of your change management plan.

What’s the workplace got to do with it?

All you have to do is Google ‘change management’ to find a plethora of thoughts on the subject. In many cases, the emphasis is on how to change people, their thinking and behaviour so it works for the business. The idea of actually including the people and their workplace as part of the process of that change doesn’t often come into it. But it should. It’s the only way to understand what they need, so you can deliver it.

Thankfully, more businesses are seeing this link between organisational change and the physical workplace, and realising the two often go hand in hand. But more than that, it can drive the success of their change management programme.

How can the right approach make a difference?

With change comes opportunity. New horizons to do things differently, take action and see results. No one likes things being imposed on them, but anyone looking to implement a change management programme has identified they want to change, they just don’t know how to control the process and take their employees on the journey with them. If you want to do things differently, you need to create the best environment possible for change, help your employees see the opportunities it brings and let them be empowered.

Rather than overwhelming people with change, businesses can bring them closer and make them part of the journey. It means being open about the questions and challenges for the business, and working together to find answers and solutions.

People will feel valued, and this level of engagement also opens up opportunities to co-create a workplace that celebrates talents and allows people to flourish. Businesses have nothing to lose and everything to gain by doing it. We know, because the majority of organisations we work with are going through a level of transformation.

“With change comes opportunity. New horizons to do things differently, take action and see results.”

Should a workplace change a little or a lot?

The level of physical change in the workplace depends on how well the existing environment works for employees. This can be determined using an evaluation tool, like the Leesman Index. If it turns out that it’s doing all the right things to engage people, support their work, and help them be the best they can be, then the project might be less of a transformation and more of a makeover.

At the same time, there’s no point designing for design’s sake. Every change, no matter how small, should have a purpose for people, their work and their wellbeing.

But from experience, businesses with a change management programme in place (or on the way) have it for a reason. For many, it’s in response to issues with things like engagement, productivity, and efficiencies – but it can also be a catalyst for opportunities, such as expansion and growth.

Like anything in business (and in life), you get out what you put in. Swapping old desks for new ones, hanging some plants from the ceiling, or changing the colour of the wall paint isn’t going to have a lasting impact on how people feel or work.

On the other hand, a workplace that’s been co-created and strategically designed will be a place people want to be, and can achieve great things. A place that’s good for people, and good for business.

How can businesses get it right?

Every office is different – with different people, types of work, and ways of working.
One solution can’t work for every scenario. But design built around people and understanding them can.

It’s not just about getting staff to tick boxes on a survey. It takes deep analysis, human conversations and observations to really learn what people want and need from their work environment. It’s the only way to guarantee a workplace is both fit for its specific purpose, and the people working in it.

Results can be gradual as people settle in, but it’s often not long before businesses see the benefits. People communicate more openly, and collaborate naturally. The quality of work improves, and productivity grows. People look forward to coming to work, enjoy being there, and have everything they need to do great things. All vital to achieving wider change management success.

  • Craig Murray

    Craig Murray

    Consultancy & Design Director

  • 3 minutes

    31 July 2019

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