The real advocates your office needs post-move

August 16, 2017 / Insights / min read

Principal

You’ve moved into your new office with a well-considered mix of collaboration spaces and focused spaces. The catch? Some corners of the office are rammed while others sit empty. Worse, employees are unhappy.

Good news. The fix is easy and it won’t cost a thing.

But first, a history lesson.

Over time, Yiddish society noticed that no matter the good mood, no matter the high spirits it was near impossible to get wedding guests to start dancing at the celebration.

No one wanted to go first and risk embarrassing themselves by being the only one. Perhaps you can relate!

Sensibly, the concept of “tummellers” was invented.

Tummellers were hired with the sole job of encouraging wedding guests to dance.

The word comes from “tummeln”, the German word “to stir”. Tummellers catalyze people into action by putting the desired behaviour on display.

Not just a lunch room, at TJX's headquarters this space sees informal meetings at all times of the day

Not just a lunch room, at TJX's headquarters this space sees informal meetings at all times of the day

But what’s that got to do with under-utilised spaces in your brand new office?

The phrase “if we build it, they will come” completely misses out a number of really important steps when it comes to influencing and changing human behaviour.

Once we’ve built it, your employees need to understand it, embrace it, and get involved.

But just like being the first person on the dance floor at a wedding, no one wants to risk making a fool of themselves.

Your new workplace, with all its new areas for doing different types of work, needs people doing things differently and talking about doing things differently.

A different space for Penguin Random Houses' staff to step away from their desks

A different space for Penguin Random Houses' staff to step away from their desks

Your workplace needs tummellers

How you recruit and reward your tummellers is up to you. Where and what they’ll be doing will be dictated by your office and the nature of your work.

Perhaps your c-suite begin by having their team meetings out in the open instead of behind closed doors. Short team check-ins become standing meetings around high top tables. Laptops migrate to soft seating areas away from more traditional benching desk systems.

With the huge amount of money spent building buildings, operating workplaces and filling them with employees, the investment of time (and possibly cash) is no more than a rounding error compared to the investment.
And we would is argue, is the difference between a new office that takes off rather than stagnates.

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