A|W & trends

Change Management

Change Management

Is it ‘CHANGE’ or ‘MOVE’?

Claudia Andrade, A|W NEW Architecture Director at Athié Wohnrath, shares in her new article the concepts of Change Management, the difference between “Change” and “Move” and how this process can be a solution for optimizing space occupancy, reducing costs for organizations and increasing employee productivity.

Changing the work environment is not an easy task, but on the other hand, it’s becoming essential for companies.

The idea is to attract and retain talents, streamline processes and decision-making, change culture, increase productivity and connectivity between people, business and the market.

Benchmarks conducted by us with companies that are located here in Brazil and have gone through this process in the last five years, show that, on average, only 43% of the time people actually stay at their workstations. In contrast, older layouts spend more than 60 percent on dedicated work spaces and only 15 percent on collaborative work.

Therefore, new layouts should drastically reduce the space of individual workstations and significantly increase collaborative ones, providing a much more diverse, stimulating, enjoyable and productive set of environments.

The flexible office concept, therefore, presupposes something that goes far beyond a simple change of layout. In English the term is clearer, as there are two distinct words:

MOVE: It means changing something in the physical sense, from one place to another, from one position to another.

CHANGE: It means changing something in its essence, from one culture to another, from one behavior to another.

By changing the way of work; by changing management policy from being control-based to result-based; by changing working relationships in giving employees more flexibility and responsibility, the company is actually changing its essence.

Preparing people, both physically and emotionally, so that they can address this transition phase more safely and more committedly is the main goal of Change Management.

For this, it is essential the sponsorship and participation of the company’s top management in defining the purposes of change until its implementation.

It is also important to create a communication plan that will ensure transparency in the information, whether it is related to the spaces (type of stations and environments, meeting rooms and integration spaces, collaborative areas, etc) or regarding technology (what kind of equipment will be used, whether internet and wi-fi will be available to work from anywhere, what audio-visual resources will be available for conferences, etc).

Above all, the plan should answer questions and doubts in a clear and structured manner, especially those that directly affect people's lives, such as relocation of the building versus ease of access; transport availability policy; possibility to work from home and how often this can happen; facilities and alternatives for food, etc.

In addition, a range of actions and campaigns should be envisaged such as paper reduction and cleanliness within the organization, corporate etiquette training that teaches how people should behave in these spaces, training in using available technology resources, among others.

Finally, it is not just about moving - MOVE - people and material goods to the new office, but transforming - CHANGE - behaviors and attitudes to ensure that the new work environment is effectively an instrument for increasing the company's competitiveness, ensuring productive well-being for all employees.

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