Here at 106, we live with a belief that ‘great communication inspires action’.
If it doesn’t, it ain’t worth the paper or code it’s written on.
In many respects, the Comms function has one really important job.
To help organisations change.
To make them more competitive or collaborative.
To drive new behaviours.
To win more customers.
To retain talent and drive innovation.
Essentially, to do what will make the organisation more successful for its customers and for its people.
The rest is often only noise.
With this in mind, we organised another 106 Breakfast Series event, again in the private dining room at The Delaunay. With 20 lovely people from Comms and HR.
David Wraith shared with us his work on helping Sainsbury’s to move to a more agile and responsive workplace.
Essentially Sainsbury’s wanted to move their head office from a typical office environment (people come into the same desk every day) to a more agile workplace (where people don’t have a ‘fixed’ desk).
He talked us through the strategy and engagement. Sainsbury’s went for an activity-based working (ABW) environment – i.e. you go to an area which is suited to your activity or mood.
Sounds great. But like any major change, there was resistance. As well as fear and anxiety.
So what were the key features of the change?
Listening – A major part of the change was about listening. Constantly listening, before, during and after to colleagues; and then making the changes that really mattered to people.
Practical support – There were floor walkers from the very start to help people to adjust, as well as plenty of resources to support them.
Small changes – Often quite simple and small changes made a big difference to people, including putting more cutlery in the kitchens and increasing the number of power sockets. Equally, just helping people to be able to adjust a chair to their own ergonomic fit. (Have you ever tried to adjust someone else’s chair??!!)
So did it work? Activity-based working has been introduced across the building, including the executive area. Financial savings have been made from using space more efficiently. And the people? When each new floor was opened, there was a scramble for people to use them, and a lot of floor envy from the other floors.