In 2020, the subject of the individual and collective ‘workplace’ became a hot topic suddenly of relevance to everyone’s lives. Previously, no-one besides designers or facilities managers talked much about the design and function of a workspace. But enter Covid-19, and the whole world went through the largest change management programme ever seen, in record time. Working from home became an imposed necessity; new approaches and technologies were rushed in and entire mindsets and organisational cultures had to alter.
‘Zoom’ became the buzzword and the days of the archetypical British commuter looked numbered. Managers previously resistant to teams working from home simply had to accept it. Employees had to fashion their own work spaces in studies, spare rooms and kitchens… Overnight, organisational change became a number one priority in business, and assumptions about the future workplace suddenly looked uncertain.
But if there’s one lesson learned from all of this, it’s that organisational change can be managed successfully. Businesses, like people, are adaptable and can evolve when pushed – whether that’s by relocation, scaling up or down, merging, adopting new technologies, or facing other external pressures.
At RAW Brothers we believe that the most creative, effective approach to organisational change is to link it holistically to your organisation’s personality, its people, and its physical place. A creative design of physical office space and a coherent workplace strategy is key to improving employee engagement, and in turn smooth organisational change.
The key is to centre your workplace strategy on your business’ fundamental purpose and culture. Ensuring your organisation has complete clarity of purpose, and that your people put this at the heart of everything they do, will mean everyone understands who you are and why you exist. Defining your organisational brand will help employees feel involved and engaged, willing to embrace your ethos, to work harder, and to face organisational change more cohesively and confidently. Without a coherent sense of identity and purpose (or ‘culture’) across the organisation, you risk your business being seriously buffeted by change instead.
Of course, organisational culture can evolve, grow, learn, develop and mature over time and in the face of change (just like people), but its fundamental personality should remain the same. Focus might shift, unprecedented global scenarios might be thrown at you; but with a clearly defined brand and purpose, you can bend without breaking.
Take a good, hard look at your organisational culture, brand and purpose. Is it clearly defined? Does it inspire loyalty, passion, trust or comfort like a popular sports team or household brand name? Does it connect in reality to how your employees behave, and the look and feel of your workplace?
The future workplace will be one where the personality of an organisation is carefully connected to the organisation’s people and the places they work. And with the likelihood of more people working from home into the future, your organisational culture needs to ring true not just in your main office hub but in diverse locations wherever your staff are based.
With a strong organisational brand in place, and a consequently engaged workforce, you’ll feel confident that you can face any organisational change.
Centre your organisational change on your brand purpose – one that is clearly defined and understood by everyone across the business. You can still evolve, and be creative, but keep change grounded on solid organisational brand foundations.
Communicate - have a clear focus and goal, ensuring that you engage all areas of the business, taking them with you rather than leaving them behind. And make sure you’re communicating beyond your HQ to your employees working from home.
See change as an opportunity – here is a moment when you have everyone’s attention and can engage with them on workplace strategy and brand purpose.
RAW Brothers have worked in many different business sectors around the world, and we have seen many situations where an organisation has faltered when faced with organisational change - whether a relocation or design of a new future workplace, or a more externally-forced situation.
Nearly every time, the key to weathering the storm lies inside the story of the organisation; its reason and purpose. Through our tried-and-tested methodology of linking this fundamental personality with your organisation’s people and place, we are able to help you unlock a workplace strategy that becomes both obvious and very powerful.
We’ll help you see property events like relocation or refurbishment as key opportunities. Times when you have the attention of everyone in the organisation and are able to take the whole organisation on an effective change programme leading to a long-term workplace strategy. Done well, with a fully engaged leadership, a change programme can have an incredibly positive impact on organisational culture in your future workplace.
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