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People and change

Each workplace project requires new behaviours, leadership styles, culture and work practices to be successful.

Workplace change is about people, not places

Workplace projects bring change for large numbers of people. As well as the physical environment, they affect the way people work, technology, operations, and workplace culture.

The change journey should focus on how to engage people with the journey to the final outcome, and on helping them make meaningful changes to how they work.

The change programme must recognise that people:

  • understand flexible working environments differently – people will need to adopt new (and sometimes very different) work practices, and will need the right attitudes and behaviours to make this happen
  • need to understand what the change is, why it is taking place and what impact the change will have on them and their work
  • adjust to change differently – for example, people who already work in open-plan or flexible workspaces may need less time to adapt, and people who traditionally spend most of their time at their desk may need more
  • may need to adjust less if their area is being refitted than if they’re moving to a new building or space.

Once the project is delivered, ongoing review will ensure the workplace design continues to meet the changing needs of the organisation.

Managing the workplace

Leadership's role

For any change initiative to be successful it must be led from the top. Leadership has to back the change, be involved from the outset, and lead by example.

Leaders are responsible for:

  • building a community and a sense of ownership of the new workplace
  • encouraging staff to explore what this opportunity might offer them
  • helping develop and adopt effective work practices
  • endorsing the project objectives and talking about how they intend to adapt to the new environment
  • introducing the key project change messages into their communications
  • modelling the new behaviours that support people working in this new environment.

Within leaderships groups, it's important to ensure there is common understanding of the change and its potential impacts. There should be a focus on productivity, deliverables and outcomes, rather than proximity.

These groups need to understand why change is happening, what that means, and be able to articulate this to their teams. Project leadership roles do not stop when the project ends. You need to make sure there is consistency between the messages being communicated and the actions leadership are taking.

The PSA's role

If the PSA is active within your site, they can be a conduit for concerns and issues facing employees, as well as helping to test operational aspects of the workplace that require an end user perspective, promoting organisational objectives, and communicating key information.

More information

Te Tai Ōhanga The Treasury leads the government’s investment management system. This role includes supporting Change Management, as this plays an important part in the successful realisation of investment benefits.

Change Management Guidance  Te Tai Ōhanga The Treasury NZ

How we can help

We have example material from agency projects available to share with our mandated agencies, including an example three step change journey.

Contact the Government Property Group team.