Culture and workplace change programmes need to be implemented strategically for them to succeed, says Edward Dixon.
05 November 2018 | Edward Dixon
What are the main reasons for embarking on a culture and workplace change programme?
An office move brings the opportunity to create a dynamic and more inclusive working environment that can future-proof a business. To be triumphant in the ongoing war for recruiting the best talent now and in the future, it's essential to have access to the latest technology and to champion diversity and inclusivity in the workplace.
Our office move in January was a great opportunity to develop a new workplace strategy that had technology and culture at the heart. This has helped us to promote greater communication and collaboration and, in turn, evolve our culture and ways of working to reflect the changing needs of our employees and our customers.
What needs to happen for this to be successfully embedded into a business?
Statistics show that large-scale change initiatives run a high risk of failing when employees do not understand why the change is happening. So we made sure our approach to change touched every part of the business, creating a modern workplace that would empower employees to tackle today's rapidly changing property industry.
Change can be led from the top, but it needs engagement from across the whole business to become truly embedded into day-to-day culture. That's why, for our office move project, we appointed 'change champions' from all areas and levels of our business to help drive change with enthusiasm and positivity. We also established an 'insider group' of around 60 people who tested and gave feedback on technology before we finalised products and made the move.
What specific ways of working did you encourage to help embed these changes?
We implemented activity-based working by providing multiple spaces for our teams and partners to work in. All of our office furniture is modular so we can change our environment to suit our day-to-day needs and our computing software is cloud-based, which, along with our provision of modern mobile technology, enables people to manage work and teams anywhere at any time. We also adopted activity-based dressing by encouraging our people to "dress for your day".
As a result, 88 per cent of our employees believe the new office design enables them to work productively, against the global average of 67 per cent and a 20 per cent increase from the measure at our previous office. Productivity may be notoriously difficult to measure, but we think if people feel more productive then you're heading in the right direction. Employee feedback puts us in the top 5 per cent of 1,900 organisations surveyed worldwide by the Leesman Index for workplace well-being and productivity.
What technology did you invest in to support new ways of working?
Our office features one of the largest Microsoft installations in the UK, with the integration of Surface Hub screens, which allow quick connectivity and help encourage employees to limit their use of paper.
There are over 700 places to work in our office including a treadmill desk, quiet working booths, atrium spaces and a variety of high tables with stools and benches. This variety in options of where to work across the office required a strong technology solution - Microsoft SurfacePro devices together with Skype enables people to work anywhere, any time.
Results of our investment in this technology include an 18 per cent reduction in internal emails, with new spaces encouraging people to meet more face-to-face, and a 65 per cent reduction in printing, helping to lessen our impact on the environment.
What advice would you give to leadership teams who are looking to encourage behavioural change in their organisations?
While moving to a new office or establishing new ways of working will delight employees, increased employee satisfaction also means that expectations for what a great experience and work culture looks like have been raised. It's essential to focus on designing, delivering and occupying a space that will work for long-term success of the business and the people.
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Edward Dixon is sustainability insights director at Landsec