The International Facility Management Association’s Facility Fusion conference is an annual gathering of industry innovators in the facility management world, exchanging ideas on the fast-paced, ever-changing nature of the workplace. As a specialist in change management, and one of the founding members of the Workplace Evolutionaries leadership team for IFMA, I chose to present a topic I feel is a pertinent reminder of why we do what we do as workplace strategists, in a time of rampant technological advancement and aggressive shifts in the real estate market. If we want people to adopt innovation or adapt their work behavior to a new environment, we need to understand their interests and concerns as individuals. Managers moving out of dedicated private offices into an open plan environment are affected very differently than people already accustomed to working “In the open.” We need to engage people and their interests and concerns in ways customized to what’s uniquely at stake for them. Genuine engagement must go well beyond persuasion and influence used to get people to accept innovative ideas involving new choices about how, when and where to work. The change process begins during the pre-design “Programming” stage engaging end users in a dialogue about imagining alternative workplace solutions that better support the way they work. Whether you’re a designer embracing workplace as an experience, a manager embracing a new management style and modeling new work behaviors, a facility manager responsible for maintenance and operations, or any other player in the workplace creation process, we will all succeed more together by trying on the hats of others.
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