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Flex Spaces: 6 Tips for Getting Employees on Board


Photo of happy employees with thumbs-up
Image: Sirichai -
If your company is looking to make the move from dedicated to dynamic seating, chances are more than a few employees are going to be up in arms. You have a big change management challenge in front of you. Having lived through this in two different companies in the last 10 years, I know it’s never easy to manage this type of change. Any extra forethought and planning you put into it will be well worth the effort, as will generating excitement early on by showing users what’s in it for them.
Below are six of my lessons learned from this type of workspace change at my last company.
  1. Communicate the financial impact of having dedicated office spaces vs. hot desking, and remind impacted users the importance of having every employee owning every corporate dollar.
  2. Some users might have good suggestions on how to reconfigure space; make them a part of the conversation to generate excitement around the idea. Ask for volunteers to be on the planning committee so you can be sure you’re thinking through all possible impacts and possibilities.
  3. In Phase 1, ask for volunteers who are willing to give up their dedicated space to move to flex space and, to demonstrate the collaborative spirit, reward them with the option to work from home one day a week. We found this approach to be particularly effective because it helped employees feel like they had some say in the matter and that the company was willing to compromise. We found that many employees jumped at the chance to work a day from home, and we saw an unexpected shift in working hours (flex space users started coming into the office earlier to claim a premium spot).
  4. Provide different types of flex space so that “loners” can still find quiet while “collaborators” have enough surface area and technology to maximize on productivity. Plants and attractive dividers can go a long way, esthetically. Search the Internet and you’ll find tons of “hip” huddle space ideas.
  5. Provide the right tools and technology employees need in a flex space to minimize the impact of not having walls. Examples include wireless, noise-reducing headsets; softphones vs hard phones; collaboration tools like Cisco Webex or Microsot Teams; and promotion of BYOD programs. Moving to flex space also presents an opportunity to make the shift to modern, emerging technologies.
  6. Lastly, be generous in planning for closed door conference rooms so that when people really need to have sensitive discussions, meet with vendors, or do whiteboarding, they have plenty of options. Not having enough conference rooms for these sorts of meeting is always the number one complaint.
Have ideas of your own? Share in the comments section below.