Recognising and valuing staff concerns smooths the path for office move
“Thank you for your deep expertise with shaping and making this change happen with us – a great partnership during our early program phase”Design, Strategy and Group Property Team
Our client, one of the largest distributors of healthcare, medical and pharmaceutical products in Australasia, sought the help of Blue Seed’s team of experts to ensure its head office’s move to a more central location was a positive experience for staff. The relocation also involved redesigning the workspace from individual offices to an open-plan space as part of the company’s initiative to upgrade its working environment and make its headquarters more accessible to staff, with improved access to public transport and other amenities.
The firm’s leaders were keen to recognise the risks of a new workplace environment and the resulting culture change, so our consultants conducted a diagnosis of the relocation and gathered staff views to help enable the change. A range of interviews and surveys were carried out, as well as investigating best practices around the globe, which brought home the message that the relocation would fundamentally change the way teams worked together by moving from a traditionally hierarchical office structure to an open layout.
Although staff claimed they were willing to cooperate and support the move, there was resentment about a perceived loss of status from managers who would lose their parking space and office; staff also expressed concerns that an open-plan workplace would bring distractions and issues with privacy as well as productivity. The company’s executives were aware that these apprehensions needed to be actively listened to, as complacency was considered the greatest risk to a smooth and productive relocation. Our team’s recommendations covered the company culture and how to reinforce its vision through aligning to new work practices and behaviours, how to manage the personal impacts associated with the relocation, including talent retention, and how to maintain the business’s performance during a short period of upheaval, along with the logistics of the move itself. When our assignment concluded, the company was in the planning stages of the relocation and initial feedback on Blue Seed’s report and change strategy was that it was comprehensive, accurate and provided practical guidance to the transition project. Read more about how to reduce business disruption during change here.