Tips to successfully move your employees to an open plan office

By Linda Trim, Director of Giant Leap Workspace Specialists

As companies expand many make the move from smaller, individual office spaces to larger open plan buildings often to the detriment of their employees who are not included in the process and are expected to adapt immediately. If employers followed a few basic steps with regards to keeping their employees involved and part of the process, the move and transition to the open plan offices would be far more successful and lead to a much happier productive work force.

Practical Tips for moving your employees:

  1. Be honest with your employees at all times; keep them informed and aware of all that is happening. Ask them for their input and advice on the move and how they would like to see things happening in the new offices. Intranet sites and local in-house newsletter are a great way to facilitate this and can be used as a tool to let employees know about the new area that the business is moving to – local restaurants and shops, public transport etc.
  2. Set up mock work stations for your employees to know what their new office surrounds will look like, this will allow them to feel and visualise the new space they will be inhabiting along with dispelling any fears or anxieties that they may have about working in the open plan spaces apart from smaller private office spaces.
  3. Ensure the new open plan space includes smaller collaborative areas where employees can get together to discuss ideas and projects, along with small private areas where confidential conversations can take place.
  4. As a rule there should be one open collaborative space for every 25 employees within your business to really facilitate interaction between the employees. It is very important to make these collaborative spaces exciting and enticing so that they are used on a regular basis.
  5. Once you have implemented your design ensure that you regularly go back to check on its efficiency and effectiveness for your work space. This will allow you to correct any problems or issues before they develop into bigger problems. Always remember great work spaces are magnets to attract great workers.
  6. Important pointers to remember:

Although you are in an open space – private smaller spaces are still very important to your employees

Ensure that the options you make available to your employees regarding their work space are individual options and not a mass idea that needs to fit all employee needs.

Have smaller touch down spaces where employees can quickly meet to discuss ideas, quickly check emails and make phone calls, allowing them to feel that they are in contact with the outside world at all times

Cafeterias within work spaces are great tools for meetings and collaboration – great ideas are generated over meals and coffees, and with the cafeteria being on the business premises it means that your employees are away from the office less.

For more info please visit www.giantleap.co.za

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