Month: May 2013
Should you replace the cubicles with an open office design?
Does the office layout have any impact on the productivity in the workplace? Decidedly so. At a time where social collaboration and information sharing are the buzzwords in corporations, especially here in Toronto, the open space interior office design is being hailed as some kind of a 21st century corporate savior. But it’s not that easy. Cubicles for a design space have not entirely lost their point, and some open workspace companies have in fact deemed it better to revert to the former.
An open workspace, often praised as innovative and flexible, allows for easy interaction and facilitates creativity. The premise is, without the stifling cubicles, the hierarchical walls give way to free rein, enabling staff to work in teams and collaborate with each other. Ultimately, employees produce work not only at a faster rate but also at a better quality.
Needless to say, the open office space has worked wonders for SAP’s cloud computing teams. With everyone sitting at an open environment, employees can share ideas freely and without inhibition.
While the concept may have worked for one of SAP’s teams, where the employee count is relatively small and the job requires continually squeezing one’s creative juices, there’s evidence that it might not work at every organization. TIME published an article in 2012 about the demons that hound an open office. This includes unbearable office noise, lack of privacy, and increased employee stress. There’s a study to back this up, and it’s been published in the Journal of Applied Psychology.
This is why you might not want to totally rule out cubicles. Workspace innovators sometimes call them demoralizing, but it does provide a number of advantages that the open workspace does not. For one, it offers that valuable personal space. There will also be more space to stack documents and diagrams for easy reference. And you won’t deny, it’s much easier to focus when no one’s staring at you from across the table.
Ultimately, your choice of interior office design should depend on the nature of your company or product, the number of employees, and, well, what your employees think about it.
3 Strategies to Retain Customers During a Corporate Relocation
Don’t let the fear of losing your customers stop you from moving into a new office. If the current office is not in an ideal location or it can no longer sustain your manpower, there is no other option but to relocate. At D.J. McGauley & Associates, we are dedicated to ensuring that your corporate move is seamless in every aspect. Here are three proven strategies to retain your customers during your corporate relocation.
1. Have a relocation marketing strategy
Your relocation marketing strategy must not only be intense; it must also be well-planned. At least one month prior to the move, you should reprint all your brochures and letterhead with your new address. In addition, change signature files on all outgoing email correspondence to include the new address.
Post announcements about the move in highly visible areas within your current location. Your past customers should also be sent postcards, with highly valuable clients receiving handwritten notes. Print correspondence should be followed up with emails to remind them of the move. All correspondence should visibly highlight the new address.
But it’s not enough for you to tell your employees that you’re moving to a new location—the why matters just as much. Emphasize what moving to a new location means for them: a better quality of service, accessibility, and convenience are among the reasons that you can point out.
2. Hold a Grand Opening event
Lure your existing customers to the new location by holding a special event just for them. Give them discounts, a special sale, or irresistible freebies—anything to get them to attend to your new location. Getting them to your new location is the first step to retaining them.
Once they’ve stepped foot in your new office, talk about the highlights of the new location and why it’s a much better place than the former. Giving customers the VIP treatment while sharing your insights with them will make them feel like they are part of the decision and the reason for the move. This will surely offset any inconvenience caused by your corporate relocation. Involve your existing customers in the “journey”, and reward them for sticking with your brand through and through.
3. Have an online relationship with your customers
Social networking is an extension of your relationship with your customers. Find a way to bridge that gap caused by the corporate relocation: network with them online. Get them to your new location by holding exclusive online discounts and coupons for your loyal customers. If you do not have one already, this might be the perfect opportunity to start a loyalty club, where your customers can track their points through an online platform.
For more tips and strategies to help you stay connected with your customers during a corporate relocation, contact us today. We will help you along every step of your corporate move.
Transitioning Your Employees When Moving Corporate Offices
During the office relocation process, a lot of uncertainty can set in and the employees may easily feel demoralized about the security of their jobs. It’s up to management to take steps to engage and motivate their employees. After all, moving into a new office is something to get excited about. Here are some practical tips to keep employee satisfaction at an optimum level during corporate relocation.
1. Involve employees in the office design process.
Value their opinion regarding how the office space design will take shape. Among their biggest concerns will be their workstations and the dining area. Ask staff what’s on their mind, and let them know that their opinions will be communicated to the corporate relocation specialist.
2. Realign expectations.
The employees might feel lost about how the move will affect the work calendar and both the short-term and long-term goals to be achieved. Communicate with them constantly, and tell them how the move will alter (or not alter) the achievement of preset work goals.
3. Update employees about the progress of the relocation.
Every now and then – at the start of every other work day, for example – show photos of what the new office looks like so far. To excite them even more and to achieve a more dramatic effect, you can place your current work office photos side by side with photos of the new office. You’d be sure to elicit just enough ooh’s and aah’s to motivate them to work.
4. Encourage staff to work on a project.
Solicit volunteers to work on a special project that will be placed in the new office, like a corkboard containing photos of some of their best memories at the old work location, and set up a special corner or spot in the lunch room of your new location to be dedicated to this project. This will give employees a sense of entitlement and belongingness.
These are just four practical and creative tips to involve and motivate your employees throughout the corporate relocation process. By letting them feel that they are part of the entire process, you can eliminate uncertainty while motivating them to stay at the top of their game.
Telecommuting During an Office Relocation, Yes or No?
Late in February, Yahoo! HR Head Jackie Reses sent out a memo to all staff, saying that employees are no longer allowed to work from home. The memo states that being one Yahoo! “starts with physically being together”. The new stance raised more than a few eyebrows, and many companies could not help but reflect on their own policies on telecommuting.
Corporations who are undergoing an office relocation often have to choose between telecommuting or setting up a temporary location. Temporary office locations mean added expenses that may take away from the relocation budget. They may also cause more stress and disruption for employees. Telecommunication, however, is often a worrisome solution for employers, as they worry that productivity and communication channels will be compromised if employees telecommute during corporate relocation process.
When the Best Ideas Happen
The reason for Yahoo!’s telecommuting ban is cited in the same Jackie Reses’ memo: “Some of the best decisions and insights come from the hallway and cafeteria discussions meeting new people, and impromptu team meetings.”
There may be a grain of truth to this—but is it really necessary to impose a blanket restriction on telecommuting? After all, not everyone’s job description requires creative thinking. Many companies hire employees to perform largely routine, administrative, or operational tasks. For these tasks, the above reasoning does not apply. In fact, it might even be more reasonable to let them work from home when circumstances require it—during an office relocation—as long as there are target goals that they must accomplish for the day.
When Employees Are More Productive
Granted that one’s home contains distractions, from the lure of the television to the comfy bed, that can easily hamper the productivity of anyone working at home. However, a report from Brad Harrington of Boston College Center for Work & Family suggests that the potential for distractions does not necessarily outweigh the benefits for both employees and employers. According to the research, telecommuting results in less stress and more productivity. Working from home allows employees to achieve optimum balance between personal life and work, which may result in higher output.
What it all comes right down to is that telecommuting has its perks, but it also has its clear disadvantages. For companies undergoing a corporate relocation, they might not have a choice but to let their employees work from home. This doesn’t have to worry management as long as there are clear target goals and deliverables. The progress of your organization should move along just fine.
Find the above and more Dilbert telecommuting cartoons here.