Many companies use an office move as an opportunity to create an entirely new workplace design. This means moving from an office partitioned by high cubicles to a more open space in many cases. If done well, open-concept office plans can improve collaboration and brainstorming.
Not all open office plans improve communication and collaboration, however. And making a switch from cubicles to an open design often isn’t initially popular with employees. So here are some tips for moving to an open plan that works well and has employee support.
Convey your vision to the employees and how the new space will help achieve that vision. For example, leaders often give up their private offices as part of the new design. Even if they have reservations, leaders should speak enthusiastically about the move to encourage employees to see the move as positive.
Also, talk with employees about the specifics of the new office design. Gain their feedback and account for employee needs. Harvard Business Review research shows that open designs promote collaboration best when employees can gain identity from the space, feel connected to it, and understand the reasons behind the design. Without these discussions, employees tend to view the change purely as a cost-cutting measure and don’t receive it well.
Design the space so that employees have the flexibility to move around in the new workspace in ways that make sense for their work styles and the tasks at hand. For example, research suggests that employees who can move to different areas are more likely to be engaged.
Also, consider redefining productivity goals. For example, open offices may not necessarily promote greater productivity in the traditional sense but rather encourage more creative solutions.
When designing your new office, consider workflow. Consider questions such as:
- How many people are in a department?
- Who needs to sit next to each other?
- Which teams are the loudest, and which teams need quiet?
- What activities do employees perform throughout the day, and how can you design an office to maximize these activities?
To achieve your collaboration goals while maintaining employee engagement, incorporate balance into your new office design. For example, consider providing small work areas that employees can go to for short periods of disturbed quiet time while also providing collaborative spaces.
Open, collaborative spaces also can be of different sizes and types. For example, office dens might allow a few people to sit comfortably to have short discussions or work together in a mix of silence and collaboration.
If you’ve determined the activities your teams engage in throughout the day, you can design your new office space with zones for each activity. Zones might include:
- Quiet rooms for one or two
- Small comfortable, collaborative area with sofas
- Workspace in the employee lounge or cafeteria
- Informal breakout rooms
Some offices also include a game room or other space to wind down in their new designs.
Office Movers for You
An office move is a significant undertaking, so it’s essential you pair with the right mover to help with the process. Contact us today to see how we can facilitate your upcoming office relocation.