Friday, April 15, 2011

How you could change your office culture in one day, and why you will never do it

Do you want to know how you can change your office culture in a single day?

Blow it up

That's right, blow it up. Have everyone come in jeans and t-shirts and break out the power tools and tear the walls down.

Why you never would

Your gut reaction tells you that you can't. You think things like "but there are rules" or "you can't just do that" but the fact of the matter is, that is your problem.

If you are serious about changing the culture of your workplace, if you are serious about accelerating the pace of change, you don't fear this exercise, you see its enormous potential.

If you are serious you don't see an empty space that flattens the room and exposes your weaknesses (nose picker!); you see a blank slate, an empty canvass, an opportunity to reframe the physical space you work in into something that supports the culture you long for.

Build it together

Can you imagine the impact on the work culture if you rebuilt the space together? Have you ever taken part in a team building exercise that was as dramatic, as important, or as humanizing?

The Hold Outs

There will always be people who want bigger walls, thicker doors, and better black out shades, but they will become increasingly irrelevant as the artificial gap between the supply and demand of information and services closes within your organization.

I'm not saying that we won't need spaces for private meetings or undisruptive phone calls, closed spaces will always be needed. Closed people on the other hand, are a different matter altogether.

Need a more modest place to start?

Distribute a blank template of the floor plan to your team and ask them to reorganize the office how they want to see it. Encourage them to be creative and whacky, but also functional and thoughtful. Then organize a luncheon and have everyone pitch their ideas pecha kucha style over lunch and see if you can pull together a blueprint that people can agree on and roll from there.

this was originally published by Nick Charney at

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