A Fortune 500 tech company shifts to an open office workspace.

Open offices are all the rage now (literally and figuratively). We directed the change management program for this company’s flagship implementation of their global Workplace strategy. Scope included over 700 employees across 4 business units at the global HQ campus in Silicon Valley.

Needless to say, employees were anxious about an open office, plus they were dealing with new leadership, an unclear corporate identity, and an ongoing business divestiture that would split the company in half.  

Tying this project to the larger corporate strategy was key, including the new corporate culture initiative and strategic Workplace aspirations to attract and retain the best talent. We worked closely with the client to understand the Workplace strategy and with HR and Corporate Communications to make sure our messaging and brand aligned with their goals while taking executives' and employees' feedback into account.

We emphasized the balance in design--a "magic mix" of collaborative, quiet, and social spaces (i.e., not totally "open")--with a modern vibe that would better represent the sophisticated nature of this company's work. The ultimate goal? Inspire innovation

Since this project happened in the middle of a divestiture, we took a low-key communication approach targeting future employees only. Together with business leaders, we formed an Employee Engagement Team that met monthly to learn about the new workspace, provide design feedback, get questions answered, and share our formal and informal communications with their peers.

Based on employee feedback, we hosted etiquette workshops that let employees co-create their own norms for sharing the space; gave them a facilitated avenue to raise awkward etiquette topics; and increased their awareness of the many new workplace features in the 250K square foot space. 

When they moved in, employees knew what to expect and were able to be productive. As a bonus, we overheard them describing it as "inspiring," "beautiful," and "energizing." 

MOST IMPORTANTLY, TOP EXECUTIVES AND EMPLOYEES BOUGHT INTO THE WORKPLACE STRATEGY AND GAINED TRUST IN THE WORKPLACE TEAM EASING FUTURE GLOBAL ROLLOUTS. 

(Project conducted in partnership with Clarkston Consulting.)

Jennifer Gomes