Women around office table finalizing strategic facility plan

Implementing a Hybrid Workplace Strategy that Works

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Caroline Shelly, Founder & Principal

Change Management is Essential to Changing Facility Strategies

If you’re thinking about the best ways to entice employees back to the office, you are not alone. HF Planners, LLC surveyed over 2,500 corporate employees to help identify what would bring them back into the office. The resounding need was to meet in person on projects, connect with the team for collaboration and build off others’ energy. This means that business leaders who have pivoted to a hybrid workplace strategy are figuring out how to create an environment where that collegial corporation can take place and how best to utilize empty office space they committed to in years-long leases while still providing an amazing product or service to their customer base. To say it’s a lot of change is an understatement, and as we know from experience that engaging a Change Manager to lead the process is the key to success.

What does a Facilities Change Manager Do?

The short answer is turning what could be total chaos into process.

Consider these real-life scenarios:

  • The corporate CFO keeps an ongoing tally of how much the unused office space costs.
  • The Facility Manager is concerned about maintaining and utilizing the space.
  • The employee wonders how to maintain autonomy while balancing team effort with business goals.

Meeting those needs and expectations means identifying new ways of working and managing the office space. But what does that mean, and how does a corporation roll it out successfully and manage it well? 

They rely on a Change Manager to look at all the variables and help organize them into a successful plan, supporting every department that’s involved in successful change: 

  • Technology for connectivity
  • HR for employee updates
  • Marketing to help roll out the communications
  • Facilities Teams so the space is prepared to welcome them back
  • The C-Suite to demonstrate that they are embracing the new culture

The most important of these is communicating it from the top down to the employees and embracing the new policies. 

No matter what the policy is, everyone in leadership positions must communicate effectively and help to create consistency and camaraderie. Getting employees involved with the new way of working is vital for it to be rolled out successfully. Ideas such as alternating on-site workdays, shared desk space, and access to private areas to make phone calls are all important. Some corporations have gone to the lengths to provide employee-wide lunches on specified days, bring your dog to work areas, and spaces to decompress with ping pong tables and the like. Each unique strategy requires an implementation plan.

Even companies that have chosen to put the importance of the product above all, whether employees agree or not, and insist on a full return to the office require a Change Management strategy and a skilled expert to handle it. Work styles prior to the pandemic and employee mindsets are still very fragile and must be taken seriously. A mandate to return needs to also take into consideration the company culture, or it will fail. The objectivity a Change Manager brings to this process is invaluable.

The Rate of Change is Accelerating

Change Management can help communicate the approach, developing teams, and energy to help move a company forward. According to WorkDesign, “Change Management used to happen every few years (office move, consolidation, etc.), but now it is non-stop. Companies have so many changes to communicate rapidly to their staff.” It is critical that the executive leadership recognizes this and helps to effectively engage Change Management in their vernacular to create a successful transition back to the office. 

Successful change happens when we’re at our best, yet we’re often called to change when we feel least prepared to make it happen. Add to that the nature of change is changing.

HF Planners, LLC can lead your organization to effective workplace strategies tailored to your needs. Our team of Change Managers have the knowledge and experience to understand your challenges and create a custom plan that will get the job done most efficiently and effectively as possible. It’s why clients turn (and return) to us today, to help them develop and implement workplace strategies to create new successful offices of the future. Schedule some time to speak with our expert team about implementing a new workplace strategy in your office!