It’s never easy to change things up in a workplace, whether you’re a big company trying to reach the next level or a struggling business trying to find a way out of the basement. The odds are that you’ll not only face infrastructure challenges as you set things up but resistance from your team. This isn’t necessarily because the team isn’t well-equipped for the changes, but simply because change is likely to encounter resistance no matter how well-intentioned it is.
There are many reasons for resistance to change, but the core is fear of the unknown. People become used to predictable routines, even when they don’t enjoy them. They will often choose predictable discomfort rather than the chance of a better future.
So it becomes important to ease your team in with a subtle approach to minimize the anxiety that comes with a change to the office routine. Here are a few ways to make sure your next office change goes smoothly.
The success of a change to the office routine depends entirely on how competent and trusted the management at the office is, and this goes for all levels of leadership. If the management has been seen to make policies arbitrarily, pursue change without thinking out the consequences, or turn over staff frequently, there won’t be faith in them to pursue a far-reaching change.
Before making any announcements, it’s key to determine how leadership is perceived. This is why it’s important to raise the idea of the change before it actually arrives, so management can assess the reaction and find weak spots before they emerge as major problems in the new paradigm. Suppose an employee is displaying resistance to a change in policy before it begins; it may be possible to smooth things over and build trust before instituting major changes to the office routine.
One of the biggest reasons that office changes run into trouble is because team members may not know what to expect. This is common when the management only announces changes by releasing complex e-mails with a lot of information to absorb and then doesn’t provide any follow-up communications. A lack of communication can leave people confused and frustrated, with a negative attitude about the new paradigm even before it debuts.
How is your office’s communication system? It may benefit from an overhaul using UCaaS. UCaaS, or Unified Communications as a Service, unites your office’s in-network communications system under one digital service, combining phone, e-mail, and messaging with more security than traditional systems. These systems make it easy to communicate changes and deal with follow-up questions. You can find out more about UCaaS here https://www.ringcentral.com/ucaas.html.
If there’s uncertainty around the question of whether an organization’s internal communications processes need improvement or not, there are a number of effective strategies to evaluate them. The first and unarguably the best way, is to regularly or at least periodically ask for feedback from current staff.
If there’s a consensus from a company’s workforce that they feel informed of company changes and approve of the methods used to communicate that information, then it’s a matter of maintaining those procedures. On the other hand, if there are complaints, they should be addressed and that may require conforming to accessibility needs of employees to receive updates from a company’s leadership.
Often, all a major change needs to find its footing is a little more time. Too many companies think that because a change is positive, it’s best to implement it immediately. This can lead to confusion and frustration and get the new era off on a bad foot. This is especially important if you’re instituting multiple changes simultaneously, as it’s easy to overwhelm your team and fail to get their best effort.
You also need to make sure you’re not bringing change to the organization except when necessary and will provide a long-term benefit. Too many companies make changes too frequently, leading to a sense of uncertainty among their staff. With major organizational changes, it’s important to provide proper notice to employees.
Company executives should ideally start by announcing their intentions for the future as a corporation and properly communicate how those changes will affect individual groups or departments. As the average has undergone organizational changes five times in a span of three years, it’s not a matter of if it will happen and dealing with it then, but when it will and think ahead to making those changes as seamless as possible.
This is perhaps the most important part of bringing change to an organization. You can set things up as well as possible, but not everyone will embrace it. So what happens when a skilled worker struggles with the new paradigm? It’s important to have a plan to provide support before it’s needed and make sure your team knows how to seek it out.
Ideally, your office will provide training and support across the office before the change takes place, with more than enough time for everyone to acclimate. If new skills are needed, make sure people know the details and have the opportunity to practice. If someone needs extra help adjusting to major changes, make sure the information is out there on how to get it.
When employees continue to struggle with new responsibilities or expectations that come along with the change, there are cases when outside assistance should be brought in. If there’s a skills or proficiency defiicit and the quality of work is suffering, hiring contractors or part-time staff could resolve those shortcomings promptly.
This can enable current or longterm staff members to become more proficient in the new skills or acquire expertise required for the changing needs of the organization. An added benefit is considering recruiting temporary workers as fulltime staff as an alternative hiring practice.
Change for the Better
No business stays in one place forever. That’s why it’s crucial to have a plan to implement significant changes and make sure everyone stays up to speed. You’ll wind up with a stronger, happier team in the long run.