Supporting Workplace Modernization with Change Management Planning

November 9, 2017

Tips to help employees make workplace transitions

When your company is planning transformational changes to the workplace, it falls to HR to help employees understand and navigate those changes. Even if the changes made will be to the advantage of employees, you should expect employees to have emotional reactions to workplace change. You will be disrupting spaces over which employees may feel a sense of ownership and asking them to change their habits and feelings about the workspace.

Simply put—change is difficult. Fortunately, HR professionals can turn to the field of change management for ideas about how to plan, communicate and support workplace modernization.

What is change management?

According to MITRE, “Change Management is the process for obtaining the enterprise (or business) intelligence to perform transformation planning by assessing an organization’s people and cultures to determine how changes in business strategies, organizational design, organizational structures, processes, and technology systems will impact the enterprise.”

Basically, change management planning for workplace modernization means first assessing your company’s workspace needs and developing a plan to implement new types of workspaces that will modernize your workplace for the digital future. Then, you’ll need to gauge your workforce’s attitudes toward change and develop a plan for communicating with employees and supporting them as changes are rolled out.

6 tips for change management in workplace modernization

Once your organization has committed to modernizing the workplace, you’ll want to build your change management plan. Here are a few tips for creating your plan:

  1. Start early. Many businesses have already made serious in-roads in transitioning to a digital workplace. Start planning for workplace modernization now or risk falling behind competitors as a workplace of choice.
  2. Build a case for workplace modernization. To move your organization toward the digital workplace, you will first need to assess the weaknesses of current workplace and build a business case for modernization. Occupancy sensors can capture data about when and where employees work and collaborate. Figure out what current spaces are useful and what spaces need to be reconfigured.
  3. Involve employees in the planning process. Don’t plan your workplace modernization initiative exclusively on the basis of quantitative data about occupancy and usage. Talk to your employees and gather some qualitative data too. Find out what they like about the workplace and what is on their wish lists in terms of different types of spaces.
  4. Mind the gap. At its core, change management is really about assessing the current state of your organization, planning the future state of your organization, and then managing the messy change that occurs in-between these two states. In the case of workplace organization, the ‘gap’ occurs between the way employees think about and perform their work in the current space and the way they should work in the digital workplace.
  5. Develop a communication plan. Create an employee communication plan that helps bridge the gap. Your plan should start at the beginning of the project by explaining the need for workplace modernization, soliciting employee input, and informing employees of any data collection efforts, such as occupancy sensors. Later, your communications should highlight the results of your analysis and showcase some of the new workplace designs. Finally, it is important to set expectations of how any new technology or policies (for example governing remote work) will be implemented in the digital workplace.
  6. Expect resistance. Resistance is an absolute certainty with any organizational change. You may encounter resistance in surprising places, but you should not be caught off guard by the resistance itself. Accept it and work patiently with resistors. Your communication plan may need to be adjusted to help bring these employees on board.

Space utilization analysis helps with change planning

When you understand what employees really value in workspace design, you will be better prepared to manage change. A great place to begin planning is to obtain a worksite utilization survey with occupancy sensors. Asure Software’s Workplace Utilization solutions can help you analyze real-world occupancy data to create a better workplace modernization plan.