British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC)
- Open Office
- Welcoming and Waiting
- Performance Environments: Change Management
- Performance Environments: Pre- and Post-Occupancy Evaluation
BCLC was moving just across town, but from a cultural perspective, employees might as well have been landing on a new planet.
Once crammed in an outdated ’80s-era building with too many private offices and not nearly enough meeting space, employees would now be in a spacious open environment with new everything—including expectations about the most effective way to work.
Sounds pleasant enough, but those expectations meant change—and change often means resistance. Dozens of managers would be losing private offices and multiple collaboration zones would pop up, giving employees a green light to interact in a way that simply wasn’t possible before—frequently and spontaneously.
“Our move wasn’t just geographic; it was cultural,” says Michael Graydon, president and CEO of BCLC, a government-owned Crown corporation. “We’re fairly progressive, but we realized we had a gap in our abilities when it came to managing a move of this scope.”
CHANGE MANAGEMENT AND MORE
To close the gap, BCLC brought in Herman Miller’s Performance Environments group, which offers a number of services to help clients get more value from their real estate. Among them: Change Management, which guides clients through the transition to a new work environment; Change Leadership, which gains buy-in at the top so it can be cascaded through the ranks; and Pre- and Post-Occupancy Evaluation, which measures how well change accomplished its goals.
Herman Miller launched the engagement with an aptly named JumpStart work session. Involving a cross section of BCLC leaders, it helped the organization articulate a vision for the new workplace, identify stakeholders, and lay the groundwork for communicating with them. In addition, a Pre-Occupancy Evaluation conducted by the Performance Environments team identified challenges and opportunities for improvement and helped make a case for change.
Next came Change Leadership training sessions to teach managers the soft skills needed to usher their people though the transition. Herman Miller also offered a plan for communicating particulars of the move early and often.
“For a change of this magnitude, it’s impossible to communicate too much,” says Tracy Brower, PhD, MM, director of Herman Miller Performance Environments. “Leave a void and it’s bound to be filled with rumors and uncertainty.”
In BCLC’s case, those communications included an intranet site with the latest move news, an email question box, and a series of lunchtime training sessions so people would know what to expect. Herman Miller even developed a 3D “fly-through” of the new workplace to familiarize employees with it before move day.
As for the big day itself, employees were met by guides at the door, a welcome kit on their desk, and Herman Miller representatives to help with furniture adjustments. “By 10:30, we were fully operational,” Graydon says. “It felt like we’d been here a month.”
Aside from nurturing a collaborative culture, BCLC’s new workplace also communicates its brand message of “Fair Play.” The organization brings this notion to all of its operations—the lottery, casinos, eGaming—always blending social responsibility with entertainment.
In one respect, “fair” implies environmental stewardship—BCLC is seeking LEED certification for its new building. It also comes across in the transparent nature of the open environment and the broader use of workstations. Whereas only about half of employees used open workstations in the old quarters, the vast majority do now.
Workstations are all stocked with Herman Miller; the systems furniture is Canvas Office Landscape, the storage is a blend of Meridian and Tu, and the seating is Embody. Why Embody? Aesthetics played a role, explains Carla Maruyama of Herman Miller Canada: “By specifying Embody in their corporate colors of red, green, and orange, BCLC found another way to bring brand into their space.”
Ergonomics mattered, too. Embody encourages seated movement with an innovative recline mechanism and a spine supporting back that adjusts automatically to every shift and fidget. Whether the sitter leans forward or reclines, back support remains constant—no adjustments needed. “BCLC views quality ergonomic seating as a way to invest in their people,” says Cindy Walker of Workplace Resource, a Herman Miller dealer in Vancouver.
As for “play,” it’s visible both outdoors and in. BCLC is part of an urban business campus complete with fitness center, patios, and sports courts—employees even compete in intramurals against neighboring tenants.
Inside, play comes across in several collaboration zones strategically located throughout work areas to encourage impromptu interaction. Instead of hunkering in their workstation all day, employees are encouraged to get out and connect with colleagues—the collaboration zones make it feel natural.
Collaboration space varies in size and formality, as evidenced by the diversity of Herman Miller furniture found in it. Enclosed meeting rooms contain Mirra and Caper chairs, Eames and Everywhere tables, and Teneo storage pieces. Open informal areas each have a different feel—one, for instance, uses contemporary Swoop lounge furniture, while another is dressed up with classic Eames lounge chairs.
WINNERS ENJOY THE CLASSICS
Herman Miller Classics are prevalent in a private lounge area BCLC calls the “winner’s experience.” Here, players who have won big prizes relax and pinch themselves while going through the verification process.
To make the experience a bit more memorable, design icons like Goetz sofas and Noguchi tables help set a prosperous tone. The Nelson swag leg desk also is on hand, giving winners a distinctive place to sign their names.
Now that they’re settled, what do BCLC employees think of their new space? The organization knows precisely thanks to a Post-Occupancy Evaluation survey conducted by Herman Miller. The survey provides data for continuous improvement, shows employees their opinions count, and demonstrates quantifiable ROI.
“Overall, the post-move survey indicated nearly 100% satisfaction,” Graydon says. “Professional Change Management kept our people informed and involved—and ultimately more accepting of what we wanted to do.”
Photo credit: Denise Tade, OMICRON (main and photo gallery 2, 3, 5)