Barriers are normal in any big organisational change. But some are more specific to changes in the workspace. Get an understanding of these early on and start preparing for how you can overcome, work round and even use them to your advantage.

Typical barriers to change are:

  • Fear of change

    One of the most common resistances to change is the fear of it. People will fear change even when it may be positive. Overcoming these fears will require communication and support.

  • Loss of identity

    With a desk comes a sense of ownership. Removing assigned desks can cause feelings of lost identity or loss of status (for those with cellular offices).

  • Presenteeism

    Staff often think they have to be at a desk so they can be ‘seen’ to be working. Or managers think if they can’t see their staff, they’re not working. Determine if your leaders manage by presenteeism and if so, culture change will have to start from the top. Activity Based Working is very much part of a results based culture and you’ll need to get the business to change if it currently runs on presenteeism.

45% of all privately stored documents can be found in several places. 85% of these documents will never be used again.

  • Paper culture

    Anything that roots your team physically to a desk is a barrier to activity based working. So there will need to be a reduction in paper and a change in working practices.

  • Old and faulty IT

    Activity Based Working relies on an up to date IT infrastructure. Employees have to be able to connect quickly wherever they are, otherwise you will undo all the positive effects of activity based working.

  • Perception to access of information

    You may have already moved to digital copies of your paper files. However, accessing them can often be difficult due to poor management. So staff may continue using paper for no other reason than ease of location and access.

  • Costs

    A change to Activity Based Working will require investment. But it can feel like a risk, especially in the current economy. Activity Based Working is an example of spending to save. The benefits are long term but they’re worth it. If cost is a barrier, prepare a strong business case.