Three Signs Your Unassigned Workplace Strategy is Failing
What to do when your culture, management practices, and resources are turning your office into an adversary of your people.
Though offices with unassigned seating certainly have their perks, sometimes they can feel like they’re doing more harm than good. Research proves that people are creatures of habit: 71 percent of employees in unassigned, activity-based workplaces still say that they perform most their activities at a single desk. 1
Company culture, management practices, and resource scarcity can lead to behaviors that keep people from making the most of an unassigned office—and from doing their best work. Here are three behaviors that indicate your people are struggling, along with ideas for helping people and your organization succeed.
What is Hoarding?
When people save or reserve resources just in case they need them later (like that drawer full of staplers you know Jeff has been amassing on the down low).
How Do You Ensure People Have the Right Spaces and Tools?
- Encourage behaviors and a culture that reflect a “work anywhere” mentality.
- Provide enough technology and tools (ahem, staplers) throughout the office.
- Give people the freedom to choose from a variety of spaces, including places where people can work alone or together.
What is Settling?
When people band together and create an unofficial territory, be it with their work wife, project team, or the others in the office who love dissecting the latest streaming sensation.
How Do You Encourage Cross-Pollination?
- Support and embrace teams that want and need to work together.
- Establish policies that inspire people to mix it up and sit by different people on different teams.
- If people are spreading out, make sure your office is designed so that they can easily find their teammates when something comes up.
What is Anchoring?
This one’s for those creatures of comfort. It’s when the contentment that comes with familiarity guides people to seek out the same spot every day—because they like it, and they’re used to it.
How Do You Prompt Movement?
- Ensure people don’t feel like they’re being judged for “slacking” if they’re working in a comfortable setting, like a couch.
- Managers should encourage people to move throughout the day, explain what spaces are available, and how to use them.
- Make it easy for people to find one another, and when they do, make sure they have plenty of open desks to choose from.
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